Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

Tigers Sweat Out Victory Over Benedictine

Heat Takes Toll of WHS Linebackers


“It’s hot out there tonight!”

End Loren McGuire didn’t know it but his pre-game statement in the locker room Friday night was to be a prophetic one.

Forty-eight minutes later in that same locker room, fullback Terry Manson provided the proof. Swathed in wet towels and ice, he lay on the training table minus 15 pounds, nearly exhausted from the high temperature and humidity on the Tiger stadium gridiron after playing one of the finest games of his career.

The sweltering atmosphere in the stadium played a key part in Washington high school’s 29-12 conquest of a fine Cleveland Benedictine high school team, which also felt the effects of the heat, before 12,892 fans. The Tigers took a 22-0 lead into the final quarter but the Bennies didn’t quit and came up with 2 touchdowns Massillon fans thought Benedictine didn’t have left.

During the final stanza in the stadium sweat-box, the Tigers were minus their first 3 linebackers, Paul Marks, Dave Whitfield and Will Foster, all with leg cramps, apparently brought on by the heat. Safeties Dave Sheegog, who had done a lot of running previously, and Rick Paige were tired by the heat. Manson was missing from middle guard.

“I’M CONCERNED about keeping players in the game,” Tiger Coach Earle Bruce said afterwards. “You just can’t lose players like that in a big game and not get hurt.”

Larry Zelina, junior halfback whom Bruce said is a “great ballplayer” and who Augie Bossu, Benedictine boss said, “gave a real effort,” scored both of the last quarter touchdowns for the Bennies. He ran a punt back 17 yards to the Massillon 47-yard line, then carried on 4 of the next 8 plays and went through the center on third down from the 17 with 6:05 left in the game to make the count 22-6. He failed to pick up the 2 extra points.

Zelina got into the act again, after a Massillon fumble, with 2:14 remaining. He scored on a 57-yard pass play from quarterback Jim Betts, running the last 40 yards. Betts missed the conversion on a run. Zelina had picked up 17 yards on the 2 plays previous to the TD maneuver, for a first down.

Zelina gained 170 yards unofficially rushing and running back kicks. He caught 2 passes for 70 yards. The non-TD catch being for 13.

Sheegog picked up 126 yards for the Tigers.

Manson was another key figure in the victory. He latched onto a fumble which set up the Tigers’ second touchdown and his running readied the stage for the third.

DEFENSIVE tackle John Rose, a senior, probably played his best game, throwing Benedictine runners for key losses.

Halfback Walt Lemon scored 2 TD’s for the second week in a row.

MANSON jumped on a Bennie bobble with the score 6-0 in favor of Massillon early in the second quarter. The Tigers had scored only seconds before. Two plays after the recovery on Benedictine’s 13, Sheegog raced to the one. Lemon went between right tackle and right guard for the 6 points with the scoreboard showing 6:27. Sheegog passed to Bill Williams for the conversion.

Lemon had gone in from the 2 on the same play only 32 second before for the first TD of the game following a scoreless first quarter. The paydirt plunge followed an 85-yard drive which had started late in the first period after a Benedictine punt.

The touchdown was set up on the 12th play of the drive with fourth down on the 18. Sheegog passed to Lemon on the screen to the 2. “Sweet Walter” scored on the next play.

Benedictine failed to get going before the intermission. Bossu said, “We had no offense in the first half.”

MASSILLON drove 59 yards for a score after another fine punt return by Sheegog in the third quarter. Manson carried for 7 straight plays, bullying his way through the middle of the big Benedictine line for all but 5 of the 59 yards. Those 5 coming on an illegal procedure penalty.

On the eighth play Sheegog faked to Manson who went into the line again beautifully. But the handoff was to Tommy James on the 24. “Tailspin Tommy” revved up his engine and swooped past the startled Benedictine team on a scissors play for the score with 5:45 remaining. He caught a pass from Sheegog for the extra 2 points.

The Obiemen weren’t through. They came back again with 6 seconds left in the game. Rick Healy was roughed on a punt and Massillon got a life on the Benedictine 35.

Junior quarterback Craig Maurer kept on the first play, saw daylight and was off for the final tally of the night. He eluded 2 Benedictine safetymen with some neat faking to go the last several yards. Place-kicking specialist Bill Pearch put the finishing touches on the night.

Bossu acknowledged that Manson’s fumble recovery and James’ TD run were key plays, as did Bruce.
Bruce was discouraged about his team’s offside penalties on defense and felt that the Tigers played a poor last quarter. He thought Benedictine shouldn’t have scored.

Final statistics showed how close the game was. Total net yardage gained was 284 for Massillon to 225 for Benedictine and 15 first downs to 10 in favor of Massillon. But the Tigers picked up 246 yards on the ground compared to the Bengals’ 129.

The Orange and Black had trouble with its passing game again, missing at least 3 aerials which looked like TD shots.

It was the 20th straight win for Massillon and third straight over Benedictine. The series now stands at 9-2 in Massillon’s favor. Bruce stretched his personal streak to 35, counting the All-Star game in August.

Benedictine’s season record is 1-1.

Mansfield senior high comes in next week.

Swell (tering) Win

Ends – Marcoguiseppe, Pilcavage, Grimm, Kane.
Tackles – Inman, Drongowski.
Guards – Daray, Hyclak, Busi, Russ, Morgan.
Center – Baumbick.
Quarterbacks – Betts, Mihalek.
Halfbacks – Zelina, Kucera, White, Novak.
Fullbacks – Scanlon, Sirecuss.

Ends – Paige, McGuire, Healy, B. Williams, Humphrey,
Crone, Riese, Griffin.
Tackles – Hartley, Neago, Petroff, Campbell, Sherrett.
Guards – Whitfield, Richards, Kraft, Rose, Mazon, Porrini.
Center – Marks, F. Williams, Ehmer, Gallion.
Quarterbacks – Sheegog, Maurer, Doolittle.
Halfbacks – Lemon, Foster, James, Muhlbach, McLendon.
Fullback – Manson.
Placekicker – Pearch.

Score by quarters:
Benedictine…………… 0 0 0 12 – 12
Massillon …………….. 0 14 8 7 – 29

Touchdowns: Massillon – Lemon 2 (1 and 2-yard runs), James (24-yard run),
Maurer (35-yard run).
Benedictine – Zelina 2 (17-yard run and 57-yard pass from Betts).

Extra points: Massillon – Williams 2 (pass from Sheegog), James 2 (pass from Sheegog),
Pearch 1 (kick).

Mass. Opp.
First downs—rushing 11 6
First downs—passing 2 4
First downs—penalties 2 0
Total first downs 15 10
Yards gained rushing 264 140
Yards lost rushing 18 11
Net yards gained rushing 246 129
Net yards gained passing 38 96
Total yards gained 284 225
Passes attempted 9 13
Passes completed 2 5
Passes intercepted by 0 0
Yardage on passes intercepted 0 0
Times kicked off 5 3
Kickoff average (yards) 55.0 42 2/3
Kickoff returns (yards) 68 60
Times punted 5 6
Punt average (yards) 33.0 38
Punt returns (yards) 55 20
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 2 2
Lost fumbled ball 1 1
Penalties 6 7
Yards penalized 50 55
Touchdowns rushing 4 1
Touchdowns passing 0 1
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Miscellaneous 0 0
Total number of plays 64 51

Referee – Octavio Sirgo (Canton).
Umpire – Ed Corsi (Cleveland Heights).
Head linesman – Sam DiBlasi (Canton).
Field Judge – Steve Herring (Lyndhurst).

Dave Whitfield