City Still Raving About Tigers Today
A Sparkling Defense Stops McKinley 22-6
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
In a song of a few years back the whole town was talking about the Jones boys.
But today Massillon is still raving about something even better – its terrific Tigers and their scintillating defense. The Bengal fans are also waxing enthusiastic about a master piece of strategy by their Coach Leo Strang and questioning with unbelief the words of McKinley Coach Tony Ware following Saturday’s game at Fawcett stadium.
Put all these factors together and you have the story of Massillon’s convincing 22-6 conquest of the Bulldogs before an overflow crowd of 21,965. The victory will probably open the door of the throne room for the Tigers, giving them their 20th state championship.
The Bengals gave every last bit of effort to show their fans, the people of Canton and the state of Ohio that their first victory over McKinley 24-20 at Tiger stadium last month was no fluke.
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THE TIGER defense stunting and blitzing held McKinley to 26 net yards on the ground and 35 in the air for a total of 61 and tossed the Bulldogs for two safeties in the second half. Time and again Bengal defenders stopped McKinley ball-carriers before they got started and intercepted three passes, one for a touchdown. The vaunted Willie Hall was held to 47 yards, breaking loose only twice.
That’s why Massillon fans today still found it hard to understand how McKinley Coach Tony Ware could say that their Tigers “didn’t bother us defensively. Our offensive mistakes beat us.” He added, “We played our worst game of the season.”
But Strang knew what beat McKinley. In the jubilant dressing room after the game he said, “Did we defense them or did we defense them?” He added, “Oh that was sweet! I never wanted anything more in my life. We had some bad breaks in there, too.”
Massillon did well offensively, too, picking up 202 yards on the ground and 44 via the aerial route for a total of 246.
The cunning piece of strategy by Strang was putting seniors Terry Getz and Bill Blunt back into the spots at which they had started the season. Knowing that Ware would set his defense for Blunt’s running from the tailback slot, Strang inserted “The Rabbit” as wingback and the curly-haired Getz at tailback, thus effectively foiling Ware’s efforts.
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WITH BLUNT decoying defenders, Getz the more powerful of the two, ended his high school career in tremendous fashion behind some outstanding line blocking. Terry ran hard and picked his holes well to tally two touchdowns and collect 107 yards.
His unselfish comment was, “Give the credit to the line. They blocked beautifully.”
The Tigers wasted little time cranking into high gear offensively. After forcing McKinley to punt, minutes after the opening kickoff, the WHS eleven took over on its 22-yard line. Quarterback Ron Swartz broke through the middle on a play which netted 29 yards to McKinley’s 49 even though Swartz stumbled, fumbled the ball and Tom Roderick eventually recovered it during the action.
Lawrence ran a play. Then Getz carried three straight times for a total of 36 yards, putting the ball on the eight. Swartz fumbled on the four on the next play. McKinley’s Fred Mathews recovered.
Nobody got anywhere for the remainder of the first period.
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McKINLEY GOT its only threat going as the result of an intercepted pass by Pete Kalogeras on the Massillon 49. He ran back to the 34. But the Bulldogs got no further than the 20. Henry Vafides tried a field goal but sent the ball way off to the right.
The Tigers had two bad breaks during their next time with the ball. A delay penalty set them back from third and six on their 49 to third and 11. On the next play, Will Perry bobbled a pass while in the clear for a score.
As the second quarter was nearing its close, the Tigers got their first score. Perry, playing his only game at defensive tackle, charged in and hit quarterback Arnie Fontes as he was about to pass. The pass went weakly off to the side.
Cornerback Grady Eckard tipped the pass into the air on the 30. With amazing reaction he reached back, grabbed the ball and raced in for the score. There were two minutes, 30 seconds left.
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SWARTZ TRIED right end on a keeper for the conversion but fumbled and was hit short of the goal line.
With a little more than a minute remaining in the quarter, Floyd Pierce intercepted a pass on his 30 and ran back to the 43. The Tigers then moved 55 yards to the two-yard line thanks to a roughing the passer penalty and a fine catch of a 19-yard pass from Swartz by Blunt.
With 10 seconds left, Blunt raced off right tackle from the two on third down. Massillon fans thought he was in the end zone but the officials didn’t and the half ended.
The Orange and Black got to the McKinley 34 after taking the second half kickoff but Steve Kanner was forced to punt. The ball rolled towards the end zone and Frank Scassa downed it on the one to set up the Tigers’ first safety.
Fontes faded from the five to pass on third down and was lassoed in the end zone by Eckard with six minutes, 11 seconds left in the third canto. The score was 8-0.
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THE BENGALS used 4y minutes on their next scoring drive, moving from the McKinley 33 after a 22-yard runback of the kickoff following the safety. Getz, Lawrence and Swartz took turns running the ball on eight plays with three first downs.
Getz ran the last two plays off right tackle, picking up nine yards on fourth down, then going in from the three with 1y minutes showing on the clock. Swartz missed the conversion run off tackle.
Seconds into the fourth quarter linebacker John Muhlbach intercepted a McKinley aerial on the Bulldogs’ 35 and ran the ball to the 15. But a clipping penalty nullified the runback and three plays later Lawrence fumbled on the 21 with Mathews again Johnny on the spot for the recovery for the Pups.
McKinley got two series and Kalogeras went back to punt on fourth down from the 39. A tremendous charge by the Tigers caused a fumble. Kalogeras tried to punt the ball while it was rolling loose, but ended up with a penalty for illegally kicking a free ball. Massillon was awarded the ball at the spot of the infraction and was off for its final six-pointer.
Eight plays, three first downs and six minutes, 47 seconds later Getz went off right tackle again on second down from the two after running six of the plays on the drive. With one minute, 43 seconds showing on the clock, Bobby Hewitt missed running the conversion.
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TOM RIVERA got to kickoff from the Bulldog’s 45-yard line, thanks to a piling penalty between the extra point try and the kickoff. His boot went into the end zone for a touchback.
On the next play Bobby Johnson tried a “Statue of Liberty” play from the 20, was forced to retreat all the way to the goal line and was thrown into the end zone by Mike Jones. This was probably one of the few 20 yard safeties on record. Massillon led 22-0 with one minute, 32 seconds left in the game.
Hoping to score another touchdown, Blunt passing in a game for the first time, suffered an interception by Martin Smith on the McKinley 20 after the kickoff. He ran back to the Massillon 19.
Three plays later on first down from the nine, Fontes passed to End Dwayne Lipkins for McKinley’s only score with 15 seconds left. Fontes misfired on an attempted conversion pass.
Massillon had one more chance following the kickoff. Swartz just missed hitting Blunt deep in McKinley territory for a score.
The Tigers ended the season with a 9-1 record. McKinley finished 6-4. Massillon has now won 36 games in the series, McKinley 27. Five have ended in ties.
This was the second straight time that Massillon had beaten McKinley twice in one year.
The year 1909 was the only other time this happened.
One group of men who are usually overlooked and seldom praised for their efforts we would like to give a pat on the back for a job well done Saturday. These are the traffic officers who kept the cars on the move before and after the game.
We recall missing the kickoff at Fawcett two years ago because of a traffic jam, though we thought we had given ourselves more than sufficient time to get to the game. We left
one-half hour later this year and drove right into the stadium without any delay. Maybe there were tie-ups in some places but we didn’t encounter any.
MASSILLON – 22
Ends – Perry, Pierce, McAllister, Hose, Jones and Goodnough.
Tackles – Miller, Tarle, Morgan, Lash and Binge.
Guards – Larsuel, Castile, Rivera, Roderick, Swisher, Muhlback and T. Whitfield.
Center – Scassa.
Quarterbacks – Swartz, Gatsios and Kanner.
Halfbacks – Getz, Blunt, Rink, Schenkenberger, Eckard and Marks.
Fullbacks – Lawrence and Hewitt.
McKINLEY – 6
Ends – Lipkins, Roman , Card and Jones.
Tackles – Miller and Shumick.
Guards – Turner, Barney, Hall and Vafides.
Center – Roman.
Quarterback – Fontes.
Halfbacks – Johnson, McElroy, A. and M. Smith, Carter and Mathews.
Fullbacks – Hall and Kalogeras.
Massillon 0 6 8 8 22
McKinley 0 0 0 6 6
Massillon – Getz (three and two-yard runs); Eckard (30-yard pass interceptions).
McKinley – Lipkins (nine-yard pass from Fontes).
Massillon – (Fontes tackled by Eckard and Johnson tackled by Jones).
Referee – Brenton Kirk (New Philadelphia).
Umpire – Harold Rolph (Ironton).
Head Linesman – C.W. Rupp (Cuyahoga Falls).
Field Judge – Harvey Hodgson, Jr. (Massillon)
First downs, rushing 10 3
First downs, passing 3 3
First downs, penalties 1 2
Total first downs 14 8
Yards gained rushing 211 79
Yards lost rushing 9 53
Net yards gained rushing 202 26
Yards gained passing 44 35
Total yards gained 246 61
Passes attempted 14 12
Passes completed 5 6
Passes intercepted by 3 2
Times kicked off 4 4
Kickoff average (yards) 40.5 37.5
Kickoff returns (yards) 43 19
Times punted 2 3
Punt average (yards) 41.0 36.3
Punt returns (yards) 8 8
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 4 3
Lost fumbled ball 2 0
Penalties 2 3
Yards penalized. 20 45