Tigers Beat Stubborn Big Red 28-8
Bengals Come From Behind To Win After Terrific First Half
By CHARLIE POWELL
Massillon is still undefeated and when the scholastic polls come out next Tuesday the Tigers more than likely will remain atop the pack.
But for some 24 uncomfortable minutes at Steubenville Friday night the might of the orange and black was very much in doubt.
The host Big Red, with a partisan crowd of 9,000 screaming for a king-sized upset, gave the Bengals one big scare before the Tigers flexed their muscles and carved out a hard-earned 28-8 triumph, their fourth in a row and 20th in the history over the Steubers.
Two sensational runs – the first an electrifying punt return of 55 yards by Nick Daugenti and the second a 67-yard gallop by Art Hastings – kept the Tigers from being on the short end of the count at halftime. Steubenville marched 67 yards in a great display of power in the second period and so at the half it was the Daugenti-Hastings combination with 12 points, the Big Red with 8.
Then in a second half the Bengals, who may have been a little over-confident going into the game, ground it out and actually breezed home.
* * *
IT WAS ALL Massillon during the second half as Leo Strang’s stouties, apparently getting straightened out during the intermission lectures, made hay on a third quarter drive of 35 yards following a timely recovery of a Big Red fumble by Gary Wells and the next time they got possession; went on the prowl for an icing-on-the-cake touchdown, the ultimate tally being rung up in the final period.
While the enemy controlled the pigskin and kept the Tiger followers in a lather for just about the whole first half, things worked just the opposite in the last two rounds.
In the final analysis, the Tigers packed too much savvy, speed and depth for the Big Red.
Massillon ran only 13 plays from scrimmage the first half. Except for the dazzler by Hastings, the Tigers made little headway. Offense wasn’t enough to worry about, the defense was torn to shreds by wedge-like power plays which featured a wave of deadly blockers.
The hosts continually hit off the right side and Massillon was virtually helpless. By halftime, the Redmen had gained 122 yards on running plays.
But the defensive changes that were hastily rendered as the bands strutted their stuff proved to be the difference.
The Big Red was at Massillon’s mercy in the second half. Except for a couple sprints up the middle and a few short passes, the Tigers handled the Steubers with comparative ease.
* * *
THE ORANGEMEN didn’t look like the same team that swept past a defensively stronger Alliance outfit but after the altered defensive alignment the Tigers showed the ability deserving the state’s No. 1 ranked combine.
An elated Coach Strang, “happy to get out of it alive,” stressed that a big factor in the win was that the Tigers did not lose the ball once on a fumble.
“Our breakaway runs (Daugenti’s punt return and Hastings’ TD jaunt) were the only bright spots in the first half. After we went into more basic football at the start of the second half we were able to keep going on short yardage plays. And of course, again our breakaway boys turned in runs to set up the touchdowns.”
Discussing the defensive adjustments, he cited the charging, tackling and pursuit, which provided a grade-A parlay to put the skids to Steubenville’s sweeps.
The tougher Tigers held Steubenville to a net gain of 36 yards via rushing over the last two quarters but Strang had a bushel of praise for the Big Red.
“They were the most aggressive team we’ve met and if they had a speedster with breakaway potential, I think they would be near impossible to stop,” he commented.
* * *
STRANG CLEARED the bench with most of the lads getting a good bit of playing time.
An all-junior defense, with the exception of a senior, Bob “Zeke” Zumbrunn, played a good portion of the last quarter and turned in an outstanding performance.
This crew, which plays defense against the Tiger offense throughout the weekly practice session, has been dubbed “The Tail Twisters.”
With the Tigers throwing their opponents for losses amounting to 51 yards, Steubenville finished with a total of 191 yards gained through the infantry route.
Hal Paul’s team had the edge in first downs (12-9) but the Tigertowners ripped off 227 yards, all but 14 on the ground.
Quarterback Joe Sparma had one of his infrequent “off nights” in the throwing department but the running game was more than enough. As usual his generalship and ball-handling was the work of art. And punting? Friends, he was dynamic. Two of his punts put Steubenville’s back to the wall and he wound up with a scintillating average of 39.2 yards per kick.
* * *
HASTINGS was the workhorse of the attack and of course had plenty of help from Jim Wood, Martin Gugov and Daugenti with Bill Finney inserting several yardage-gulping efforts.
The lone pass connection, which spelled a third TD for the Tigers, was an eye-popper. Sparma’s throw was taken on a nifty over-the-shoulder catch by big Hase McKey, who was one of the real standouts on defense.
Before the battle was even five minutes old, Daugenti had the Tigers stands rocking.
Steubenville’s Wally Neel punted from his own 16 and Daugenti, who plays defense when he’s not on the punt return team, fielded the pigskin at the Massillon 45.
No sooner than he caught the ball he was hit. But the tackler was left in the dust as Nick twisted away, cut for the right sidelines and completed a 55-yard dash behind some beautiful blocking.
Wood was stopped a foot short on his run for the PAT attempt but at 7:39 Massillon was out front.
* * *
THE BIG RED bounced right back and moved from their own 24 to the Tiger 48 before having to punt again. On the last play of the session, Sparma punted.
The riverfront array, barreling off the right side as Neel, Tom Cunningham, Leon Lindsey and Bob Crossley shared the ball toting chores, marched to pay dirt. A 19-yard run by Crossley on fourth down set the stage for Cunningham who tallied from a yard out on a third down situation. When sub quarterback Dohrmann Sinclair bootlegged left and hit in for two more points at 5:15, Massillon was in arrears for the first time this season.
Steubenville’s fans went wild but in short order they sat back stunned no end.
Daugenti pounced on the bounding kickoff at the Tiger 24 and on the very next play, Hastings put the Bengals back in the lead.
Finding a hole off the left side he dodged away from one would be tackler and was free at the Tiger 30. All he had to do was to turn on the speed and outrun the secondary. This he did. And how.
After Art completed the 76-yard scamper, Gugov crashed across for the conversion points but the effort went for naught because Massillon was called for backfield in motion.
On the second try, Sparma passed to Hastings who caught the ball at the four but was stopped at the one.
The Big Red hit on a 26-yard pass play but was forced to punt and another punt by Sparma wound up first half play.
* * *
ON THE FOURTH play of the third period, Crossley fumbled, Wells recovered, and Massillon was on its way for a very important six-pointer.
Hastings and Wood carted to the 15 before Sparma twirled to McKey, who caught the oval at the goal line. Gugov’s run for two more points gave Massillon a 12-point advantage with eight minutes left in the quarter.
A Big Victory
ENDS – McKey, Barkman, Zumbrunn, Oliver, Royer, Bodiford.
TACKLES – Bukuts, Appleby, Wells, Haines, Herbst, Paul, Herndon.
GUARDS – Houston, Bednar, Midure, Willey, Whitfield, White.
CENTERS – Snyder, Snodgrass, Demis.
QUARTERBACKS – Sparma, Larson.
HALFBACKS – Finney, Wood, Herring, Gugov, Daugenti.
FULLBACKS – Hastings, Hershberger, Dean, Toles.
ENDS – Hutter, Crain, Sobolewski, P. Cunningham, W. Johnson.
TACKLES – Sizemore, DeFallo, Delderich, Smith.
GUARDS – McMasters, Staib, Pyle, Kramer.
CENTERS – Switzer, Conrad.
QUARTERBACKS – Crossley, Evans, Sinclair.
HALFBACKS – Neel, Lindsey, B. Johnson, Patterson, Terry.
FULLBACK – R. Cunningham.
Scoring by Quarters
Massillon 6 6 8 8 28
Steubenville 0 8 0 0 0
Massillon – Daugenti (55, punt return); Hastings (76, run); McKey (15, pass); Hastings (4, run).
Steubenville – Cunningham (1, run).
Massillon – Gugov (run); Sparma (run).
Steubenville – Sinclair (run).
First downs – rushing 8 9
First downs – Passing 1 2
First downs – penalties 0 1
Total first downs 9 12
Yards gained rushing 213 191
Yards lost rushing 0 51
Net yards gained rushing 213 140
Yards gained passing 14 49
Total yards gained 227 189
Passes attempted 10 13
Passes completed 1 5
Passes intercepted by 1 0
Times kicked off 5 2
Kickoff average (yards) 42.2 46.5
Kickoff returns (yards) 28 50
Times punted 5 3
Punt average (yards) 39.2 32.3
Punt returns (yards) 59 27
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 0 2
Lost fumbled ball 0 2
Penalties 5 4
Yards penalized 55 50