Tigers Drop Fifth Game Bennies Score All Points In First Half And Triumph 26-14
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
Their season’s record is on the minus side, (4-5), but there’s still a big plus in the column marked effort!
The Massillon Tigers, manhandled and frustrated at almost every turn by a heavier, more experienced Cleveland Benedictine squad, never quit on their fans Friday night although some Tigertowners gave up on their team after three quarters. The majority stayed on to cheer the Tigers to the bitter end. Those who left Tiger stadium early missed seeing the Orange and Black score an electrifying touchdown on the final play of the game.
It didn’t change the outcome – the final score was 26-14 in favor of Benedictine – but, it did show that in spite of all the adversities suffered by the Tigers this year, their spirit hasn’t been dimmed. A year like this would be enough to make a team quit but not the Washington high school eleven.
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IT WAS the combination of two juniors, wingback Bill (The Rabbit) Blunt and quarterback Ron Swartz, which brought the remainder of 8,975 fans to their feet at the finish of the game. With third down and three for Massillon on its 19, Swartz let fly with an aerial bomb down the right side. Blunt grabbed it on the Benedictine 40 and raced the remaining distance for the score, a play covering 81 yards, with the pass traveling 46 yards.
There were two second left on the clock when the play started, but there were a bunch of zeroes showing when Blunt crossed the goal line. Then an interesting chain of events took place.
First, Wil Paisley, senior kicking specialist, missed the kick. Peiole began streaming onto the field, but referee Bud Shopbell indicated Benedictine was offside. A half-the-distance penalty was stepped off against the Bennies. The teams got into position again. But Benedictine contacted before the snap. The distance was halved again.
Then Paisley, with fans swarming over the field from the 50-yard-line south, booted the extra point. And the game was over.
It was Blunt who was also responsible for the Tigers’ other six-pointer. Just before the end of the first quarter he took a punt on his 16, cut to the left sideline and raced all the way for the score, thanks to some good blocking and some good running. Senior end Jim Upthegrove tackled Blunt at the last minute. But the second-year halfback lunged over the line as he fell.
Paisley booted the extra point.
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THERE’S NO DOUBT the Tigers had a frustrating night. In the first half, they gained only 26 net yards rushing to Benedictine’s 82, 12 yards passing to the Bengals’ 140 and two first downs to the Cleveland eleven’s eight. The Orange and Black completed only three of 11 passes to four of five for their guests.
Until late in the second quarter, the Tigers were able to run no more than four plays each time they had the ball. They got no further than their own 34. They completed no passes and had no first downs.
The Tigers couldn’t get around, over or through the Bengals. They couldn’t hold the onrushing Benedictine linemen back. The pass receivers couldn’t get loose thanks to the Bennies’ experienced and fast reacting secondary. This especially hurt since Coach Leo Strang had counted on using the air game a lot.
It was impossible for Massillon to throw many passes because the Tigers couldn’t get far enough from their goal line to do so safely. Only in the last series did they get the chance.
WHS took over on its 40 after what proved to be Benedictine’s last score. Eight passes were thrown in nine plays. Six were incomplete.
The Orange and Blacks’ first first downs came during this drive. One came on a holding penalty with about two minutes left in the half, the other on a pass with 1:46 left.
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THE SERIES came to an end when senior Paul Beskid intercepted a pass on his 20. He also intercepted a pass in the second half as did his junior brother Ed and senior Captain Ray Klaff, all in Benedictine territory.
Two of the four Bengal touchdowns were set up by nifty pass plays, both by senior halfback Sal Collura. On was scored via the aerial route.
Benedictine took over on the Massillon 47 after a punt in the latter half of the first period. Three plays later senior quarterback Jeff Cherba uncorked a 35-yard pass to junior end Jim Yacknow for the first score at 4:15. The touchdown came on a first-and-10 situation.
Chorba tried to hit senior end John Upthegrove for the conversion but missed.
Then came Blunt’s first TD and a short-lived 7-6 lead for Massillon.
Benedictine took over on its 20 following the kickoff. In three plays the Bennies had a first down on the 31. There was no gain on the first play. Then Chorba connected with Collura on the Massillon 45. He raced to the 12 before junior halfback Grady Eckard hauled him down.
Senior fullback Joe Ditchman went off right guard to the two and then went over for the score at 9:35. Chorba misfired on a pass to Klaff for the conversion.
Benedictine kicked off, Massillon ran one series and was forced to kick from its 15. Paisley got a bad pass from center and a blocked punt from Klaff. Ditchman recovered the errant pigskin on the one after the ball had been knocked into the end zone and back out again.
Chorba went over on the first play. Ditchman failed in his attempt to run for two points.
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IN THE LAST half of the second quarter, Benedictine took over after holding Massillon at its 44. Chorba threw to Collura on the first play which took the ball to the six. Two running plays made it third-and-three. Then Ditchman went through the middle at 3:50.
Chorba’s run for the PAT’s was good.
The Tigers held Augie Bossu’s crew scoreless in the second half. They did it through some adjustments at half time. Strang said that the Orange and Black stunted a lot more in the second half, and changed some of its stunts and its pass defense from man-to-man to zone.
After the intermission, Massillon completed three of 10 passes for 130 yards while Benedictine completed none of five. Massillon had 30 yards rushing to 68 for Benedictine. Massillon had five first downs and Benedictine four.
Massillon got as far as the Benedictine 37 the only time the Strangmen got out of their own territory. Benedictine got to the Massillon 26 and 28 before losing out on downs and having Blunt intercept at pass to set the stage for his second TD.
AT THE conclusion of the game, Strang said, “We were just manhandled by one of the top 10 teams in the state. They’re well-drilled and make no mistakes.” He pointed out the low number of first downs for his team in the first half. He also remarked about the passing percentage being 29 per cent while the season’s average is 42.
Bossu said, “We got the jump on them with those long passes and that blocked punt in the first half. You’ve got to give them credit though. They really came fighting back in the second half.” He felt that the lack of passing in the second half kept his ground game from being as effective as in the first 24 minutes.
His team now has an eight-game winning streak, losing only to Toledo Central Catholic early in the season before being jelled. Central is the second-ranked team in the state. The complete record of Benedictine is 8-1. This was the second win over Massillon in eight games for Bossu.
It’s not pleasant to mention but Friday’s loss made this the worst season for the Tigers since 1931 when Elmer McGrew won only two games while losing six and tying two. The record is now four wins and five losses.
Akron Garfield comes in next week for the next-to-the-last game.
BENEDICTINE – 26
Ends – Klaff, Upthegrove and Torda.
Tackles – Porowski, Marcoguiseppe, Yacknow and Martin.
Guards – Swiderski, Hazel, Sladsky and Yunich.
Center – Bilek.
Quarterbacks – Chorba and Fink and P. Beskid.
Halfbacks – Collura, Felice, E. Beskid, Anderson and Zelina.
Fullbacks – Sanders, Ganim and Ditchman.
MASSILLON – 14
Ends – McAllister, Jones, Franklin, Hose and Goodnough.
Tackles – Profant, Mercer, Clendening, Fabianich, Miller and Tarle.
Guards – Castile, Geckler, McDew, Mathias and Rivera.
Centers – Bradley, Paisley and Scassa.
Quarterbacks – Koenig and Swartz.
Halfbacks – Davis, Blunt, Eckard, Getz and Pope.
Fullbacks – Lawrence, Toles, Sullivan and Thomas.
Benedictine 6 20 0 0 26
Massillon 7 0 0 7 14
Touchdowns: Massillon – Blunt (84-yard punt return and 81-yard pass from Swartz). Benedictine – Yacknow (35-yard pass from Chorba); Ditchman (two and three-yard runs); Chroba (one-yard run).
Points after touchdown:
Massillon – Paisley 2 (kicks).
Benedictine – Chorba 1 (run).
Referee – Bud Shopbell (Canton).
Umpire – Edmund Corsi (Shaker Heights).
Head Linesman – Karl Chestnutt (Kent).
Field Judge – Andy Chiebeck (Louisville).
First downs – rushing 2 8
First downs – passing 4 3
First downs – penalties 1 1
Total first downs 7 12
Yards gained rushing 69 165
Yards lost rushing 13 14
Net yards gained rushing 56 151
Yards gained passing 142 140
Total yards gained 198 291
Passes attempted 21 10
Passes completed 6 4
Passes intercepted by 1 4
Times kicked off 2 5
Kickoff average (yards) 57.5 37.6
Kickoff returns (yards) 43 15
Times punted 4 5
Punt average (yards) 26.7 36
Punt returns (yards) 109 8
Had punts blocked 1 0
Fumbles 0 0
Lost fumbled ball 0 0
Penalties 3 4
Yards penalized 25 32