Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

Fremont Ross Blasts Tiger Hopes 8-7
Massillon Gridders Drop First Opening Game Since 1946


The Massillon Tigers got plenty of breaks Friday night – all of them bad. This, coupled with a lot of mistakes by a green but spirited team, got the football season off to a bad start at Tiger stadium.

The Little Giants of Fremont Ross squeaked to an 8-7 upset win over Washington high school before 11,591 fans. It was the first loss for the Bengals in their last 15 games. It was the first loss at home since 1957. It was the sixth loss in a season-opener, the last one being in 1946.

Program Cover

Warren was the last team to beat Massillon, 19-18, in 1960. Cleveland Benedictine held the last victory over the Tigers at the stadium, 13-7. Cleveland Cathedral Latin triumphed
14-7 in the Orange and Black’s last loss in an inaugural contest.
* * *
IT WAS THINGS like five penalties for 60 yards, all at inopportune times; a couple of Ross first downs by inches, a Ross conversion try that was good b y inches, and a five-yard gain on a freak fumble by the Giants which hurt.

“We made too many mistakes and those penalties killed us,” Massillon Coach Leo Strang said, “You just can’t make up 15-yard penalties.” He added, “I kept telling everybody we have a green team. But no one would believe me. They’ll improve as the season moves along.”

For a team that was outweighed by at least 15 pounds overall, the Bengals gave a good account of themselves. But a little team can do only so much against a bigger one. Don’t sell the Tigers short. They’ll provide their fans with a lot of interesting football before this season’s over.

Strang gave full credit to Ross for having a fine team but also pointed out that the Tigers out-gained Fremont 191 yards to 94 on the ground and 60-0 in the air for a total of 251 yards to 94. The Orange and Black also collected 12 first downs to Fremont’s eight which all goes to point out how a lot of penalty yardage can hurt you.

Mal Mackey, Fremont coach, explained that he reversed his philosophy in this contest from that of nine years ago when his charges lost here. “We played ourselves out in the first half of that game,” he said, “So we told our boys to take it was in the first half this time and go all out the second, and they did it perfectly.”
* * *
MACKEY was pleased with his all-senior line. It showed a lot of power and weight. He thought it was the best one he has ever had.

Mackey was also pleased with the showing of senior Fullback Jack Ziemke. The 5-9,
195-pounder carried 21 times for 68 yards and a 3.2 yard average. He got some timely first downs also.

For that matter so did Washington high’s 160-pound senior tailback, John Kanney. And Kanney averaged 3.8 yards per try off 61 yards in 16 carries.

Mike Koenig did a good job at quarterback for the Bengals with four completions in six passes for the above-mentioned yardage.

The turning point came with 4:09 left in the third quarter. Ross had the ball on the Massillon 20-yard line on fourth down with six yards to go. The Giants then employed a delayed count and shift, the Tigers jumped offside and the penalty made it fourth and one. Ziemke just made a first down through the middle on the next play.

Four plays later at 2:22 he charged down the center again from five yards out for the winning TD. Quarterback John Prosser just made the end zone on a keeper to the right for the conversion which meant victory.

The Giants had moved 54 yards after a punt in 15 plays with three first downs for the score. They utilized a good part of the quarter in doing it. The Bengals managed nine plays in that stanza.

Earlier in the period the Tigers ran afoul of a holding penalty on a good punt runback by Graydon Eckard and found themselves back on the 28 instead of near midfield.
* * *
THREE TIMES in the last period the Tigers were in reach of victory only to be denied it. After a drive of 51 yards with three first downs which took them from their 35 to the Ross 14 and a fourth-and-three situation, Wil Paisley was sent in to try a field goal. However, Massillon was socked with a delay penalty, and Paisley had to boot from the 25 instead of the 20. The kick fell inches short.

Fremont had one series, punted; Terry Getz grabbed the ball on his 35. But a clip after the ball was dead made it first and 25 for the Tigers on their 21. Three plays later with third and 14 on the 32, Koenig passed to Blunt down the left side and ran all the way to the Fremont 18 before being knocked out of bounds.

However, a block that might have sprung Blunt loose for a score was missed, and a debatable clip was called setting the Tigers back to the 34. Five plays later Halfback Bob Hill intercepted Koenig’s pass intended for short side End Ron McAllister via a diving catch at the goal line to end the threat.

Fremont then started to run out the clock. But on the first play of the series Prosser fumbled into the air. However, Ziemke was Johnny-on-the-spot, grabbed the errant pigskin and got a five-yard gain out of the miscue. Ross held onto the ball for the rest of the game.

Massillon’s lone tally came following an 80-yard drive which started when Prosser missed a field goal from the Bengal 28 in the closing stages of the first quarter. The score came after 3:15 seconds had elapsed in the second period.
* * *
RON DAVIS burst through the center from 31 yards out on a first-and-10 play. Paisley booted the conversion. The Tigers had racked up four first downs in their drive for the score, staying mostly on the ground.

Ross then ate up seven minutes of the quarter with a 40-yard drive from the Giants’ 33 to the Massillon 27 in 13 plays with three first downs. Ziemke picked up all three of them, the last one being on a five-yard plunge through center that just made it on a fourth-and-five situation on the Orange and Black 34.

Massillon took over on the 22 when the drive bogged down. However, the clock caught up with the Tigers.

Several incidents in the first quarter perhaps were ill omens of what was to come for the rest of the night. On the first play after the kickoff the Tigers jumped offside to give Fremont a first-and-five situation after throwing a Giant runner for a good loss.

There were two fumbles by defensive halfbacks on punts which were costly. One put the Bengals way back in the hole. The other gave Fremont the ball on the Tiger 23. However, Massillon held for two downs. Then Prosser was hit behind the line for what everybody thought was a fumble and a Bengal recovery. However, Referee Frank Westall ruled it an incomplete pass. Prosser’s field goal try came next as the Giants failed to move the ball from the 23.

Sad But True

Ends – Sale, Boyer, Slatter and Patynko.
Tackles – Kreilick, Bingle, Turley and Jim Pfefferle.
Guards – Jack Pfefferle, Palomo and Hetrick.
Center – Brudzinski.
Backs – Kelly, Ziemke, Hill, Prosser, Frantz and Bailey.

Ends – McAllister and Perry.
Tackles – Profant, Clendening, Fabianich and Miller
Guards – Ehmer, McDew, Swisher and Larseul.
Centers – Bradley and Scassa.
Backs – Koenig, Kanney, Toles, Blunt, Getz, Davis, Eckard and Sullivan.

Fremont 0 0 8 0 8
Massillon 0 7 0 0 7

Massillon – Davis (31-yard run).
Fremont – Ziemke (five-yard run).

Massillon – Paisley (kick).
Fremont – Prosser (run).

Referee – Frank Westall (Findlay).
Umpire – Dr. Robert Scholtz (Lorain).
Head Linesman – Ron Dotson (Lima)
Field Judge – Horace Rainsberger (Painsville)

Mass. Opp.
First downs – rushing 10 8
First downs – passing 2 0
First downs – penalties 0 0
Total first downs 12 8
Yards gained rushing 191 103
Yards lost rushing 0 9
Net yards gained rushing 191 94
Yards gained passing 60 0
Total yards gained 251 94
Passes attempted 6 3
Passes completed 4 1
Passes intercepted by 0 1
Times kicked off 2 1
Kickoff average (yards) 50.0 44
Kickoff returns (yards) 12 62
Times punted 2 3
Punt average (yards) 38.5 43.3
Punt returns (yards) 10 3
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 1 1
Lost fumbled ball 1 0
Penalties 6 1
Yards penalized 6 5

Ben Bradley