Tigers Surprise Selves With 4 Fumbles
Win Over Alliance Comes Hard
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
It was a typical Massillon-Alliance game – rough, rugged and marked by that usual Mel Knowlton surprise. The Aviators, once again, were as irritating as that grain of sand which brings on a pearl in an oyster.
Traditionally Alliance gives the Tigers cause for thought. And you can be sure Coach Earle Bruce will have his charges doing just that in the coming week following their 22-6 win before 12,199 fans at Tiger stadium Friday night.
Bruce hit the proverbial nail on the head after the game when he said, “We’ll find out next week if the Tigers are really Tigers. We’re challenged. Niles is coming into our territory.”
He added, thoughtfully, “This team hasn’t been up for a game yet. I’m anxious to see what we can do when we’re up.”
Although the Washington high team had its troubles, the Bengals must be given a pat on the back for holding the Aviators at bay despite 6 bad breaks.
“We had 4 fumbles and 2 pass interceptions,” Bruce said, “but we won the game. I’m pleased with the boys on this count because Alliance played a whale of a game!”
* * * * *
ALLIANCE, known for its end sweeps, made a lot of yardage that way, especially on pitchouts to senior halfback Bruce Walker running behind fine interference. “They’re running away from our monster,” Bruce explained. (The Aviators ran to their weak side with Walker gaining 91 yards.)
“There was one time when they must have swept into the sidelines 13 of 15 times,” Bruce said. “But there was no major breakthrough. They had to work for everything they got. We really hit them hard.”
Bruce was unhappy about his pass rushing. “We didn’t contain their passer well at all,” he explained.
The Aviator passer, junior quarterback Larry Libis, was the 1965 Knowlton surprise. He had played in only one offensive play before Friday night.
“We had to gamble on Libis,” Knowlton said. “He looks like he’s going to be a good one.”
The 6-foot, 155-pounder handled the ball well, should be a good passer with more experience, and scrambled well when rushed. Twice he got away for long gains on broken plays.
Bruce also lauded Libis. “He looks like a real find,” the Earle of Tigertown said.
Knowlton was very happy with his charges. “Our kids battled all the way,” he said. “They played a good game for the first time this year.”
Knowlton thought gang tackling and pursuit on the part of his team was good. “They played well defensively,” he said. “They had to; Massillon has such strong runners and that Sheegog is tough.”
* * * * *
THE GAME turned out to be a ground war with Massillon out-rushing Alliance 221 net yards to 151. Neither team passed much but the Tigers got 2 of their 3 touchdowns via the aerial route and a pass set up another.
Massillon completed 5 of 10 aerial attempts for 90 yards, Alliance 5 of 12 for 44. Total yardage was 311-195. First downs were close, 13-10.
The Tigers got yardage almost everywhere they ran but could use better blocking. The Aviators stuck to the outside after they found the likes of middle guard Fred Williams and linebackers Paul Marks, Will Foster, John Rose and Rick Richards stacking things up.
The Orange and Black was its own worst enemy for the first half, losing all 4 of its fumbles before the intermission, killing promising drives 3 times and a possible scoring setup the fourth. Two of the fumbles gave Alliance the ball, in Massillon territory, one time necessitating a great goal line stand by the defending state champions.
Alliance had almost twice as many plays as Massillon in the first half, 39-22. Total for the game was 64-50 in favor of the Aviators who displayed a fine possession game.
As Bruce remarked, “they sure kept the ball from us and you can’t score without the ball.”
Bill Williams ran the opening kickoff back 16 yards for the Tigers to their 43 as Alliance booted short and low to keep the ball away from Dave Sheegog. Will Foster broke around left end on the first play and raced 47 yards to the Alliance 10.
* * * * *
THE FIRST BENGAL fumble came on the next play. Sophomore Lionel (Doody) Grimes recovered on the 13. But on second down Tiger tackles, Co-Captain Terry Manson and Dick Hartley threw Libis back to the 5.
Alliance Co-Captain Charles Codrea, who had done all the quarterbacking for the first 3 games, punted on fourth down. A fumble resulted on the Alliance 38 where Co-Captain Tim Admonius recovered but the Aviators couldn’t move the pigskin.
The Tigers couldn’t either but on the series following the next punt they were touchdown bound. Sheegog came up with a 15-yard runback to the Bengal 43. “Sweet Walter” Lemon raced off tackle 18 more on the first play to the Alliance 39.
Sheegog hit end Rick Paige with a short pass to the 34. Lemon shot off tackle again for the score with 2:56 left in the first quarter. Sheegog faked to Manson and went left for the conversion.
Shortly after the start of the second quarter the WHS team started out of its own territory after a punt only to fumble on the Alliance 46. Isaac Wright recovered for the Pilots on their 47.
Then Walker started circling the ends on the pitch with key passes of 13 yards to junior Bob Ramsey and 5 yards to Grimes, playing his first game offensively and with an ankle sprained earlier in the week. But with fourth down on the three, Tiger co-captain end Dave Whitfield threw Libis back to the 18.
MASSILLON STARTED another promising drive but fumbled on its 35 with junior Dick McCoy recovering for Alliance on the 39. The Tiger defense stiffened again with time running out in the half and Alliance taking to the air.
The Tigers took over on their 33 with 1:51 remaining. Sheegog completed to Paige for 35 yards to the Alliance 32 with “Ramblin Rick” running 18 of the yards and Libis finally making a shirt-tail tackle to prevent a score for the time being.
Lemon ran to the 30 and then Sheegog let fly to Paige in the end zone on a post pattern with 1:19 left. Sheegog ran the conversion on the same play on which he converted in the first period.
Junior Ron Muhlbach made sure Alliance didn’t get far on the kick runback, ramming Carl Dunn into the grass at the 6 about a minute before the half ended.
Alliance got its only touchdown by driving 54 yards after the second half kickoff. Grimes ran back 18 yards. Then Walker started churning around the ends again and finally scored around the left side from the 2 with 5:30 left. Ramsey tried to go around right end for the conversion but was felled by a pack of Obiemen.
The Aviators got out of their own territory only once after that in the second half. Massillon penetrated Alliance territory 4 times but Gene Jenkins intercepted a pass on his 20 and Libis saved one in the end zone on what looked like a sure TD to scotch Tiger plans. The latter interception came after Manson had recovered a fumble on the 26.
* * * * *
THE FIRST play of the fourth quarter was a punt, which was grounded on the Massillon 39. Sheegog, Lemon, Manson and Foster took turns grinding out yardage on a 61-yard scoring jaunt.
A second down pass to Lemon from Sheegog for 12 yards and a first down on the 11 helped set the stage for the score. Two passes from the 9 were incomplete after a running play. Then Sheegog found Tommy James in the center of the end zone on fourth down even though “Dandy Dave’s” arm was hit. A pitch-play for the conversion failed.
Alliance had one more try after the kickoff but lost the ball on downs on the Massillon 32 with 1:30 left.
The win was the fourth straight this season for Massillon, 22 straight dating back to 1963 and 22 straight at home dating back to 1962. It was the third straight over Alliance.
Bruce’s personal string is at 37 counting the August All-Star game.
ALLIANCE – 6
Ends – Jenkins, Lloyd.
Tackles – Amonius, Wright, Jones, McCoy.
Guards – Artino, Hardy, Woods.
Centers – Popa, Lear.
Quarterbacks – Codrea, Libis.
Halfbacks – Dunn, Ramsey, Baucum, Ross, Grimes.
Fullback – Walker.
MASSILLON – 22
Ends – Paige, B. Williams, McGuire, Gallion, Griffin.
Tackles – Petroff, Campbell, Hartley, Neago, Sherrett.
Guards – Richards, Whitifield, Ross, Kraft.
Centers – Marks, F. Williams, Ehmer.
Quarterbacks – Sheegog, Maurer, Doolittle.
Halfbacks – Lemon, Foster, James, Smith, McLendon,
Fullback – Manson.
Score by Quarters:
Alliance………….. 0 0 0 6 – 6
Massillon …………8 8 0 6 – 22
Touchdowns: Massillon – Lemon (34-yard run); Paige (30-yard pass
from Sheegog); James (9-yard pass from Sheegog).
Alliance – Walker (2-yard run).
Extra points: Massillon – Sheegog 4 (runs).
Referee – Tony Pianowski (Cleveland).
Umpire – Joe Romano (Mansfield).
Head Linesman – John Agnone (Youngstown).
Field Judge – Bob Ferguson (Marion).
First downs—rushing 10 8
First downs—passing 3 2
First downs—penalties 0 0
Total first downs 13 10
Yards gained rushing 231 187
Yards lost rushing 10 36
Net yards gained rushing 221 151
Net yards gained passing 90 44
Total yards gained 311 195
Passes attempted 10 12
Passes completed 5 5
Passes intercepted by 0 2
Yardage on passes intercepted 0 20
Times kicked off 4 2
Kickoff average (yards) 48.2 40
Kickoff returns (yards) 49 53
Times punted 1 5
Punt average (yards) 37.0 30.6
Punt returns (yards) 16 0
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 4 3
Lost fumbled ball 4 1
Penalties 1 2
Yards penalized 5 30
Touchdowns rushing 1 1
Touchdowns passing 2 0
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Total number of plays 50 64