Massillon ‘Held” to 36-18 Romp;
Garfield Foe Doesn’t Fold For Bengals
By RICH MOORE
Repository Bureau Writer
MASSILLON – The Massillon Tigers won their ninth straight game here Friday night – but it was anything but the usual romp Bengal fans have become used to seeing.
With the Akron Garfield Presidents putting up a stubborn battle, Massillon emerged with a 36-18 victory before 8,596 fans.
Now, the terrific Tigers have one date remaining on their 1959 schedule – next Saturday’s game with Canton McKinley.
It was the first time this season a Bengal opponent has been able to score more than one touchdown.
Surprisingly, Garfield’s only previous loss was to Barberton, 18-14, a team swamped 90-0 last week by Massillon. The Akron team now has a 6-2-1 record.
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WHILE THE Tigers showed better in earlier games, they had to play good ball to put down the Presidents, who obviously were fired up.
Garfield used every second allowed between plays, a major factor in the low score.
Both coaches were pleased.
Massillon Mentor Leo Strang was elated with the victory, of course.
Garfield’s Dan “Babe” Flossie was happy because his crew had played so well.
Strang expressed much respect for the Akron squad and felt its battle was more responsible for the relatively low score than a letdown by the Tigers.
“I don’t think we were at our peak,” he said, “but I don’t want to take anything from Garfield and its coaching staff. They did a tremendous job.”
He was not expecting a breeze, however.
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“WE FELT WE were going to have a hard time with them. From our scouting, we knew they were capable of giving us trouble – and they did,” Strang noted.
Strang predicts the McKinley contest will not be a picnic, either, and he doesn’t intend to let the Tigers loaf.
“We’re going to work real hard this week,” he said. “I think we’re going to run into another fired-up club and a good game.”
Meanwhile, in the Garfield dressing room, hilarity was the byword. If any tears were shed, it was from happiness.
They had every right to satisfaction. No one could doubt they had played their best.
Flossie was well pleased with his team.
“These boys did their best,” he said. “We had told them if they played a good game and weren’t afraid of Massillon’s reputation, they would do all right.
* * *
HIGH PRAISE was heaped on the Bengals by Flossie.
“Strang has the best club Massillon has had since we’ve been coming down here to play,” he said. “We’d love to play Massillon every year because of the treatment we receive from the players, the coaches and fans.”
Halfback Bill Finney and Martin Gugov each tallied twice for the Bengals on runs and end Bob Barkman added one TD on a pass.
For Garfield, fullback Larry Valatka notched two touchdowns and sophomore halfback Tony Bissessi scored one.
The clock ran for eight minutes before Gugov cracked off guard from eight yards out to draw first blood for the Tigers. He also added the first of three PAT’s for Massillon.
Garfield countered following the kickoff. After 10 plays, mostly line bucks it pushed the ball the to the one-yard line from where Valatka scored.
* * *
SCORING WAS easier for Massillon after the first period. A 21-yard pass play from quarterback Joe Sparma to Barkman added a TD in the second period. Finney reeled off a 75-yard end sweep to score in the same quarter.
From his own 45 in the fourth quarter, Sparma passed to halfback Jim Wood, who was tackled and fumbled on the 5. The ball bounced into the end zone and Finney pounced on it.
Gugov capped the Bengal scoring with a 10-yard scoot around end in the fourth stanza.
Taking the second-half kickoff, Garfield went 45 yards in 15 plays, with Bissessi going over from the one to score.
The final score of the game was by Akron from 27 yards out.
All the statistics favored the Tigers, as usual. They edged Garfield in first downs, 14-11; in passing yards gained, 104-70; and in total yards gained 406-193.
MASSILLON – 36
E – McKey, Oliver, Pierce, Barkman, Royer, Bodiford.
T – Bukuts, Wells, Haines, Appleby, Brugh, Herndon.
G – Houston, Midure, Crenshaw, Anzalone, White, Bednar, Willey.
C – Snodgrass.
QB – Sparma.
HB – Finney, Gugov, Wood, Herring, Daugenti.
FB – Hastings, Toles, Smith, Dean, Hershberger.
AKRON GARFIELD – 18
E – Dyser, Gibson, Leatherwood, Sharpe.
T – Arshinkoff, Yovanovich, Butash, McGee, Bady.
G – Ketch, Brubaker, Amedeo.
C – Sokol, Nichols.
QB – Tate.
HB – Bissessi, D. Taylor, Gains, Sims.
FB – Valatka
Massillon 8 14 0 14 36
Akron Garfield 0 6 6 6 18
TD – Gugov 2, Finney 2, Barkman, Valatka 2, Bissessi.
PAT – Gugov 3 (runs).
Tigers Beat Fired-Up
Akron Garfield 36-18
Golden Rams Display Surprising Strength
As Bengals Win Ninth
By CHARLIE POWELL
Homecoming was worth ‘coming home to” at Tiger stadium Friday night as the Massillon Tigers turned back the challenge of a chin-up Akron Garfield team.
The orange and black got possession of the pigskin eight times and scored five times to beat the Golden Rams 36-18 in a game which saw the enemy give the Tigers more competition than 99 percent of the fans expected.
A crowd of 8,596 (paid admissions) watched the Rubber City stouties, with everything to gain and nothing to lose, pound the Massillon defense with power and precision.
* * *
A GRINDING ground attack with two boys named Larry Valatka and Tony Bissessi starring as go-guys, and a stick’em-in-their tummy passing game with cool, collected Ronnie Tate as the launcher, formed a parlay which gave the Tiger defense more trouble than that concocted by any of Massillon’s eight previous victims.
Up until last night the Tigers had allowed the opposition only four touchdowns – never more than one a game and four foes had drawn a blank in the scoring department.
However, the Babe Flossie-coached crew marched 48 yards to cut the gap after falling behind by eight points, then consumed all but three minutes and 48 seconds of the third period to move 65 yards and make the score 22-12. After the Bengals put their ninth straight decision of the year on ice with a pair of TDs in the final quarter, the visitors scored again – on the last play of the game.
Flossie prepped his offense to hold onto the ball and his big, seasoned lads did a good job of doing just that.
But in the end the terrific Tigers simply had too much of everything as they sent the Rams down to their second loss in nine spins, one other game winding up in a tie score.
The Tigers extending their overall wins string through a dozen games, brought their point total to 411 and became Massillon’s ninth 400-point team in all history.
Now they can turn their attention to the traditional game with Canton McKinley. Next Saturday’s fracas at Fawcett stadium will find the Orangemen going for their third straight triumph over their No. 1 rival. They will need a victory for an unbeaten season and to remain in contention for the state crown.
Tigertown’s prides, perhaps a little lackadaisical against this fired-up opponent, didn’t hit with their usual gusto but their efforts were mighty pleasing to their fans.
* * *
ALTHOUGH GARFIELD ran off 56 running and passing plays to Massillon’s 38, the Tigers roared for a hefty advantage of 406 to 193 in total yards gained. On the ground they rushed for 302 yards and the unerring arm of Quarterback Joe Sparma, connecting on three of three forwards, added 104 yards. Garfield picked up 70 of its net gain via the airways as Ronnie Tate, a very talented youngster, hit on six of 11 attempts.
Valatka and Bissessi made the Tigers sit up and take notice but the Garfield duo was
over-shadowed by the likes of Bill Finney, Art Hastings, Martin Gugov and Jim Wood.
Finney and Gugov each counted two tallies with the former galloping 75 yards in the second period and his second TD, coming on the first play of the final canto, rated an assist from Sparma and Wood.
From the Tiger 45, Sparma pitched to Wood on the 17 and Jim sped to the three. After being hit, he tried to drag a couple defenders past the final stripe, fumbled the ball and Finney recovered in the end zone for the fourth Bengal six-pointer of the night.
Finney fished with 113 yards in eight trips and Gugov carried five times for 41 yards. Rambling Art Hastings, who did not enter the game until the second quarter, carried 10 times and winged for 98 yards. Wood had 23 yards in five tries, Doug Toles (who started at fullback) carried three times for 10 yards and Bob Herring picked up 13 yards in his only carry.
* * *
SPARMA ALSO passed to End Bob Barkman on a 21-yard scoring play and his other completion, a 29-yarder with Wood on the receiving end, paved the way for the first touchdown of the contest.
These boys had some sharp blocking with Virgil Bukuts, Don Appleby, Jim Houston and Wendell Snodgrass being prominent. On defense the names of Captain Gary “Sluggo” Bednar, Terry Snyder, Hase McKey, Nick Daugenti and Gugov bobbed up more than once.
The offense, averaging over 10 yards a play, actually bogged down only once all night.
The first time Massillon had possession it lost the ball on a fumble. Only once did the Tigers have to punt. And one play after a Garfield punt in the second stanza, the first half came to a close.
The second time the Tigers got the football in the opening round Sparma passed to Wood for 29 yards and this led to six points.
Herring swooshed for 13 and Finney got 12 to help move the ball to the seven before Gugov, fighting through the right side, reached pay dirt with 3:58 remaining. His PAT run made it 8-0.
* * *
HOWEVER, the maroon and gold came back in a hurry. After Dave Taylor returned the kickoff 40 yards to the Tiger 48 (sub guard Pete Anzalone pulled him down from behind) six plays, including a 17-yard gainer by Valatka, put the ball on the Bengal 12 as the quarter ended.
The second period opened with Garfield facing a fourth-and-six situation at that point. The Rams lined up for an apparent field goal attempt by Valatka (from the 19) but before the ball could be snapped, an over-anxious Tiger defender spurted across the line of scrimmage and made contact.
This encroachment penalty gave the Rams a new outlook on things and Valatka and Bissessi carried the ball to the one before the piston-legged Valatka blasted across. At 10:07 his pass on the conversion try went awry but the difference was only two points.
After an exchange of punts the Sparma-Barkman combo put the Orangemen out front to stay.
Tate rushed by Tiger linemen, punted high but not far and the ball rolled dead at the Garfield 23. After Wood made two at right tackle, Sparma, getting rid of the ball at the last possible second, fired to Barkman who made a leaping catch in the end zone. The score came at 4:41 and Gugov ran across for two more markers.
* * *
WITHIN THREE and a half minutes, Leo Strang’s gang had six more points. Daugenti returned a Garfield punt ot the Massillon 25 and on the first play Finney got a big hole at right tackle and raced down the west sidelines – 75 yards for a touchdown as McKey and Bukuts threw key blocks. Gugov was stopped shy of the final stripe on the conversion try. Garfield was forced to punt four plays after the kickoff and after Wood picked up 13, the half came to an end.
The first eight minutes and 12 seconds of the third round was a boring proposition for Tiger fans. Garfield took the kickoff and marched 65 yards in 15 plays. It was a slow process – but a good one for the Rams – whose longest gain was a 10-yard pass play. With fourth and one at the one, Bissessi rammed through at 3:48. It remained that way as the Tigers stopped Bissessi a foot short on the extra point try.
The Massillon lead was down to 10 points, but it wasn’t 22-12 very long. Hastings returned the kickoff 18 yards and with the same boy going for 16 on one play, the Tigers initiated an advance that hit the jackpot on the first play of the final quarter.
On the last play of the third period Wood gunned for 22 yards but the Tigers were called for clipping and when the final period got under way the ball was resting at the Tiger 45.
* * *
THEN CAME the pass play in which Finney recovered Wood’s fumble in the end zone. Gugov bulled across for the extra points and Massillon was home safe.
Not too long afterward the Akron club had to punt, the ball going into the end zone, and the Bengals quickly whirled to another score.
Hastings ran the ball four straight times for 27, 3, 15 and 5 yards. Gugov twisted for 21, then scored on a nine-yard pitchout play. On another pitchout maneuver, Herring was stopped short on the conversion attempt but Massillon was ahead by 36-12 at 3:04.
To prove that they still had lots of bounce left, the Rams came back for another score before action ceased.
A 74-yard drive featured a 16-yard run by Valatka and the passing of Tate who flipped three times for 27 yards before he followed up with a 27-yard payoff pitch as the clock ran out. His pass from the 27 was caught by Valatka at the 20 and Valatka hiked to the promised-and, carrying a couple players with him. Valatak tried to boot the extra point but the kick sailed wide and to the right.
The Akron Garfield dressing room called for a doctor. Dr. John R. Rohrbaugh responded.
As Dr. Rohrbaugh entered the dressing room, he found a Garfield player somewhat dizzy from a blow sustained during the game.
The doctor asked the standard question: “Do you know where you are?”
The player blinked a couple of times, “I must be in Massillon, that’s the only place they hit that hard.”
The player was not seriously injured.
First downs, rushing 12 6
First downs, passing 2 4
First downs, penalties 0 1
Total first downs 14 11
Yards gained rushing 309 128
Yards lost rushing 7 5
Net yards gained rushing 302 123
Yards gained passing 104 70
Total yards gained 406 193
Passes attempted 3 11
Passes completed 3 6
Passes intercepted by 0 0
Times kicked off 6 3
Kickoff average (yards) 39.6 45
Kickoff returns (yards) 72 76
Times punted 1 6
Punt average (yards) 35 32.5
Punt returns (yards 2 0
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 2 1
Lost fumbled ball 1 0
Penalties 5 0
Yards penalized 45 0
LOOKING’ EM OVER
with CHARLIE POWELL
CAPSULE SUM-UP of the Massillon-Garfield game. “They were up and we were going through the motions.”
The Tiger fans who made this observation after the Tigers remained on the victory trail by beating he Garfielders for the eighth straight time wasn’t a bit disappointed by what many probably prefer to call a so-so performance.
The Bengals hit three out of three passes, two for touchdowns and more than doubled the Garfield output in total yardage, he maintained…then tossed a generous bouquet in the direction of the Golden Rams.
* * *
LEO STRANG HAD a bushel of compliments for the Akron team.
“Their coaches did a good job and their boys were up for this one,” said the Tiger mentor.
“They made our job tough by being able to keep possession of the ball more than we had hoped they would,” he asserted.
Strang didn’t stay around the Tiger locker room too long because he wanted to continue his post-game conversation with Babe Flossie, the likeable coach of the Garfield team. Strang congratulated many of the Garfield players and 30 minutes after he left their dressing room, the Rams still were shouting and singing – really whooping it up.
* * *
MEANWHILE, TIGER fans were talking about some of the high points of the game – and the state polls.
The Associated Press poll, cancelled this week because of some rigging shenanigans, will be out next Tuesday.
What effect will the Garfield game have with the voters? That is the question.
Springfield, our nearest rival for the state title, walloped Hamilton Taft 59-0 in their finale last night.
It was Garfield’s final game against Massillon. It will be replaced on next year’s schedule by Toledo Waite.
* * *
FLOSSIE SAID, “Strang has the finest Massillon ball club we have ever played against and we’d love to play Massillon every year because of the wonderful treatment we receive from your fans and coaches and because your boys play the hardest, cleanest football in Ohio.
“I don’t think anybody ever has anything to squawk about down here in Massillon as far as fans, coaches and the team are concerned. We are just sorry we can’t play your boys every year.”
Babe thought both teams last night were playing under a psychological disadvantage: Massillon because of the publicity regarding the state ratings, he said, and he claimed that his boys were at a disadvantage from what they had read in the paper and what their parents and friends might have said, “that Massillon would do to us what they did to Barberton.”
The Garfield pilot asserted, “Our kids gave their best. We told them all week that if we’d play a good ball game, we could give Massillon a good run and the kids did it. They deserve a lot of credit.”
He said he confined the “bread and butter” of his attack to Larry Valatka’s running and the passing-running of Ronnie Tate, because his regular lefthalf, Larry Wimley, was hurt and did not dress for the game.
On defense he thought George Butash, Tom Dyser and Bill McGee played especially good games.
The soggy turf apparently helped Garfield’s style of play. This was chiefly noticeable on short yardage plays when the ball carrier’s momentum helped him get another yard or two against tacklers who were forced to be more careful in their pursuit.
* * *
THE TARPAULIN was placed on the field Wednesday and taken off for the Tiger swing band’s “dress rehearsal” Thursday night. The tarp was put down again after band practice but both sides had become dampened and the material was made porous, thus water from Tuesday night’s steady rainfall seeped into the ground.
Plough horse Valatka barreled for 58 yards in 16 tries and Bissessi (he was No. 31 and mistaken for the sub Bob Mosley) picked up 39 in 11 carries.
However both Bill Finney and Art Hastings out gained these boys with Finney flashing for 113 yards in eight tries and Hastings hurrying for 98 in 10 trips.
From this corner it looked like the Tigers were hurt by two questionable decisions made by the officials.
A 22-yard run by Jim Wood on the last play of the third quarter was nullified when a clipping penalty was called on a Tiger who looked like he made contact with the Garfield player with his headgear and one shoulder – and from the front side.
However, on the first play of the final period a Sparma pass gave the Bengals another touchdown and a 28-12 lead.
* * *
A FEW MINUTES later the Tigers went into punt formation with fourth and four at the midfield stripe but before the ball could be snapped, the referee called Massillon for taking too much time. After the penalty was walked off, the Tigers decided to run the ball instead of punting and Finney was stopped a yard shy of a first down.
In our book the penalty was uncalled for and it temporarily riled the players with the result that there was a mix-up in the huddle before Finney tried for the first down.