Tigers Turn Back Niles Threat 22-8
All Points Scored In 2nd Quarter
First Place Berth Enhanced
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
“Satisfied – real satisfied.”
So goes the old cheer and so go the thoughts of Massillon football fans today. They’re satisfied that their Tigers showed Niles McKinley high which of the 2 teams plays the tougher football in the state with a convincing 22-8 victory Friday night at Tiger stadium.
After their second victory in as many years over the Red Dragons following a 29-year lapse in play between the 2 schools, the Washington high team hopes that Niles fans are also satisfied – satisfied that their challenge hurled at the Tigertowners has been answered.
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THE BIGGEST CROWD of the season – 16, 533 – saw Massillon score 3 times in the second quarter on the legs of senior quarterback Dave Sheegog and then hold the Red Dragons at bay with a tremendous defensive performance. And when you hold a powerful team like Niles, undefeated in 4 games, to one touchdown, you’re doing something!
Twice in the third quarter the Orange and Black had promising drives stopped by penalties. Sheegog lost his footing in the first quarter on fourth down, bringing a third drive to a screeching halt. A fumble stopped a fourth down try in the second period.
Credit must be given to the Niles team which didn’t give up at halftime and fought back to hold Massillon scoreless after the intermission. Meanwhile Red Dragon senior quarterback Ray Muche made it a unanimous night for signal-callers in the scoring department with a last period touchdown on one of Niles’ only 2 real drives of the night.
Massillon’s fifth straight victory of the season, 23rd straight since 1963 and 23rd straight at home since 1962 put the Tigers into a tie for first place with Warren in the All-American High School football league. Niles and Canton McKinley are tied for second in the 4-team circuit.
But lest his charges become too complacent after getting their boss his 38th straight victory including this year’s all-star tilt, Tiger Coach Earle Bruce cautioned, “Now we must prepare for a fine Steubenville team.” The skipper was well aware that the trip to Big Red country next week could see a long ride back if the Orangemen aren’t careful.
“Niles really fought back,” Bruce continued. “I’m proud of the Tigers’ efforts against them. This was the fist time we were up all season.”
Bruce went on to pat senior halfback Walt Lemon on the back for his fine running which picked up long yardage several times right when it was needed. He thought junior Will Foster, playing fullback in place of the injured Terry Manson after only 3 days practice, showed well, especially in faking into the line. Bruce was happy with junior defensive tackle Mike Sherrett’s play and thought Sheegog played well again. But Bruce also emphasized that this was another fine “team effort.”
The only thing that discouraged Bruce was that “we’ve dropped too many passes.”
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A DISCONSOLATE Bob Shaw said, “I’m proud of the way our boys came back in the second half after being down 22-0 and completely dominated play. We had 5 or 6 juniors in there all the time and they were tremendous under pressure. But we made too many mistakes. Massillon has a fine team which made its own breaks and didn’t give us room to operate in the first half.”
After forcing Niles to punt following the Dragons’ reception of the opening kickoff, the Tigers moved from their 40-yard line to the Niles 9, a distance of 51 yards, using up 12 plays, all on the ground, and 7 minutes on the clock. Sheegog went off the left side on fourth down but slipped on the wet turf and failed to get the necessary yardage by only inches.
The Bengals got the ball again on the following punt with 36 seconds left in the period. Sheegog hit Lemon down the middle with a 13-yard pass to the Niles 33 for a first down. Foster picked up 21 more off guard to the 13 for another first down to end the quarter.
Tommy James took the ball to the 11 to open the second stanza. Sheegog then cut off left tackle and out to the left side for the score with 11:20 remaining. Lemon ran the conversion on a fake to Foster and pitchout to the right.
Minutes later Sherrett hopped on a fumble at the Niles 21. After a loss to the 24, Paige picked a Sheegog aerial out of 3 Dragon defenders’ hands at the 7 for a first down. Foster ran to the 4. Sheegog faked to Foster and went around right end with 8:35 remaining. Foster converted on a pitchout to the left.
Shortly thereafter Paul Marks pounced on a Niles fumble on the Dragon 47. Lemon ran 20 yards but Jim Kines came up with a Massillon bobble on the 23.
After an exchange of punts, the Bengals took possession on their 37. Lemon was off again, this time through the center, and almost broke away but tripped at the Niles 44 after a fine 19-yard run. Sheegog ran 20 yards to the 20, going around right end and back into the middle.
A face mask penalty gave Massillon the ball on the 10, third down. Lemon shot to the 2 and Sheegog went through the middle into pay dirt. Foster didn’t quite make the end zone on a pitch to the right on the conversion run.
When the first half ended, Massillon had rolled 218 net yards to Niles’ 46 and 13 first downs to the Dragons’ 1. Niles got out of its own territory only once, with the help of a penalty.
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FINAL FIGURES showed Massillon with 298 yards to Niles 149 and 15 first downs to the Dragons’ 7. Niles out-gained the Obiemen in the second half but not by much, 103-80 yards.
The Tigers received to start the second half and on the third play Lemon rocketed off right tackle, got away from a would-be tackler at the Niles 45 and raced to the 16. But 2 delay penalties and an incomplete pass stopped the drive after a first down on the 5.
After a punt, the Tigertowners moved from the Niles 45 to the 30 but a motion penalty on a fourth down play on which Tommy James made the first down, kayoed the drive.
Niles took over on Massillon’s 39 and used up the next 7 minutes and 16 plays to get its lone score. Muche and junior fullback Gary Bletsch did most of the carrying. Bletsch went over on fourth down from the 2 with 7:32 remaining in the last quarter. Muche went through the center on a broken play for the conversion.
The Orange and Black stopped on its next series and when a fourth down delay penalty had Rick Healy kicking from around his 15, Bruce “thought this might be disastrous.” But Healy kicked well to the Niles 39.
Muche ran back to Massillon’s 39 for 22 yards. The Dragons drove to the Massillon 3 with a key play being a 15-yard pass from the 22 to the 7 and a first down via end Larry Cella from Muche.
Muche tried to go around the right end on fourth down but junior monster Ron Muhlbach and senior end Bill Williams hauled him down for no gain.
Bruce commented, “That was a marvelous goal line stand!”
Healy was forced to boot from the end zone on the next series and got the ball to the Massillon 49. The clock ran out 3 incompleted passes later.
NILES – 8
Ends – Kay, Ryan, Cella.
Tackles – Zobitz, Lukz, Samu, Rossi.
Guards – Fuda, Law, Pirigyl.
Center – Johnson.
Quarterbacks – Muche, Kines.
Halfbacks – Owen, Dunningan, Henry, Button, Mawby, Simeone, Gresley.
Fullbacks – Brutz, Bletach, Hilty.
MASSILLON – 22
Ends – Paige, McGuire, Williams, Gallion, Griffin.
Tackles – Hartley, Campbell, Neago, Sherrett.
Guards – Whitfield, Richards, Rose, Kraft.
Centers – Marks, Williams.
Quarterbacks – Sheegog, Doolittle.
Halfbacks – Lemon, James, McFadden, Muhlbach, Healy, Smith.
Fullback – Foster.
Score by quarters:
Niles…………….. 0 0 0 8 – 8
Massillon……….. 0 22 0 0 – 22
Touchdowns: Massillon – Sheegog 3 (11, 4 and 1-yard runs).
Niles – Muche (2 yard run).
Extra points: Massillon – Lemon 2, Foster 2.
Niles – Muche 2.
First downs—rushing 12 5
First downs—passing 2 2
First downs—penalties 1 0
Total first downs 15 7
Yards gained rushing 281 115
Yards lost rushing 16 15
Net yards gained rushing 265 100
Net yards gained passing 33 49
Total yards gained 298 149
Passes attempted 9 13
Passes completed 3 5
Passes intercepted by 0 0
Yardage on passes intercepted 0 0
Times kicked off 4 2
Kickoff average (yards) 54.5 31.5
Kickoff returns (yards) 9 60
Times punted 3 6
Punt average (yards) 34.0 30
Punt returns (yards) 22 40
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 1 4
Lost fumbled ball 1 3
Penalties 5 1
Yards penalized 35 8
Touchdowns rushing 3 1
Touchdowns passing 0 0
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Total number of plays 60 55
Referee – Howard Wirtz (Cincinnati).
Umpire – Harold Rolph (Ironton).
Head Linesman – George Ellis (Akron).
Field Judge – Chuck Hinkle (Canton).
Attendance – 16,533.