Tenacious Tigers Trip Stubborn Steubenville
Last Period Drive Puts First Blemish On Foes
Bengals Lauded For Bouncing Back;
Crowd Sets Record For River City
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
“Blood, sweat, toil and tears.”
The Massillon Tigers added their own ingredient to Winston Churchill’s World War II victory formula to come up with mighty big victory of their own Friday night. That old “Tiger Desire” was there again as the Bengals repulsed a strong bid of Steubenville to knock them from atop the list of state football powers.
The Obiemen fought back from a 3-quarter deficit to hand the previously unbeaten and fourth-ranked Big Red a 20-14 setback before a record crowd of 9,489 at Harding field in the river city. The crowd figure topped the 9,325 which witnessed a game between Steubenville and Canton McKinley on Nov. 7, 1936.
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The Orange and Black victory could prove to be their most important of the season. It might be just the incentive the Tigers need to spur them on to their 21st state championship.
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IT WAS THE 24TH straight win for Massillon and the 39th in a row for Coach Earle Bruce including the high school all-star game this year.
The game featured a battle of defenses with Massillon getting only 2 long drives going and Steubenville one, all 3 resulting in touchdowns. Between those times Steubenville got out of its own territory on an intercepted pass. Massillon moved out only once and that for just a few yards. Both of the other times came in the second half.
The Bengals held the vaunted Steubenville running game to just 70 net yards and its passing to 33 for a total of 103. The Big Red was not in a position to throw more than 2 passes. Washington high eleven meanwhile, got 153 yards on the ground and 70 in the air for 209.
Massillon had an 8-5 first down lead after the first half and got 5 more in the second half to Steubenville’s one for a 13-6 margin. The Tigers lost 13 yards rushing in the first half while throwing the Big Red for only 3 but lost only one yard after the intermission while tossing the stubborn. Steubenville aggregation for 28 for a total of 14 yards lost for Massillon and 31 for Steubenville.
It was also a game of breaks again for the Tigers who have had a habit of cashing in on such happenings this year. The biggest came in the third period after Steubenville safety Bob Moore had run back an intercepted pass 15 yards to Massillon’s 38-yard line.
Shortly thereafter with fourth down and 4 on the 32, Steubenville was penalized 5 yards for more illegal motion on successive plays nullifying first downs in each case. Offsetting fouls – procedure on Steubenville and offside on Massillon – on the third play kept the ball where it was.
Halfback Mike Palmer tried to run the ball but gained only 2 yards. Massillon took over on its 37 and marched for the winning score.
Later Steubenville Coach Abe Bryan said, “The penalties hurt us,” but also added, “I made a bad mistake there by not punting. But I did not want them to have the ball and I thought I could surprise them.”
Bruce also admitted, “The penalties hurt them.”
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AFTER TAKING over with 2:36 left in the third period, the WHS eleven drove almost all the 63 yards for its last score on the ground. The Bengals had the ball for 17 plays and 9 ½ minutes, a smart maneuver because it kept the ball away from Steubenville long enough that the Big Red had very litte time left in the game to work with.
The winning touchdown drive saw “Sweet Walter” Lemon, Dave Sheegog, Will Foster and Tommy James all taking turns running the ball. Sheegog and Lemon each got first downs on crucial third down plays. Foster picked one by inches on the Steubenville 41 after a fourth-and-one situation.
Another crucial fourth down situation popped up on the 10 with 3 yards to go. Sheegog hit halfback Tommy James to the right outside on the 5.
Two plays later Foster rammed in from the 2 with 4:58 remaining in the game. Sheegog hit split end Rick Paige in the right section of the end zone for the conversion.
Steubenville had 2 more tries but was bottled up in its own territory by a supreme defensive effort by the Tigers. A fumble on a punt at the Tiger 36 almost gave Steubenville another life but Paige saved his own bobble.
During this crucial time on defense, the Bengals may have found themselves another good middle guard. Senior Wally Smith, known as “The Catfish” to his teammates, did a job reminiscent of Tommy Whitfield’s last year.
The Tigers broke into the scoring column first, taking the opening kickoff into touchdown territory. James ran back 16 yards to his 36. Four plays later Sheegog hit Paige on first down from the 48 for 27 yards to the Steubenville 25. Paige slipped on the damp turf or might have gone the distance.
Three plays later on another first down, this one from the 15, Sheegog found Paige on the 5 with “Ramblin Rick” going on in for the score with 8:01 seconds left. Linebacker Dwight Sims broke through to spill Foster on the conversion run.
Sims then ran the kickoff back 91 yards down the sideline to his left with 7:48 left. He got a key block from brother Bob. Fullback Bob Smith tried the center for the conversion but missed.
The Tigers had another drive aborted at the Steubenville 39 in the first quarter as Sheegog and Paige just missed connections on a TD pass.
In the second period, tackle Mike Sherrett and Foster, from his linebacker spot, broke though to spill Palmer after a bad fourth down punt snap. It was first and 10 for the Tigers on the Big Red 29.
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IN 9 PLAYS the Bengals had their second score. This drive took about 5 minutes, another time the WHS eleven stole precious time from the Stubbers. James picked up a crucial first down on the 17 after fourth on the 22.
On the ensuing third down, Lemon hauled in a Sheegog aerial on the 10 and scampered to the 4. Then carried to the one. An offside penalty put the pigskin on the half-yard line. James went off left guard with 3:55 remaining. Sheegog tried to lateral to James on the conversion attempt to no avail.
Steubenville then played “Beat the Clock” after Bob Booth had runback the kick off 33 yards to his 38. The Big Red started its drive with 3:42 left. Booth swept left end 4 straight times and Palmer right end once.
Quarterback Bob Endres connected with Palmer on the Massillon 20 after third and 4 on the Tiger 46. Palmer ran to the 12 and out of bounds to halt the clock.
On fourth down from the 3, Endres swept right end for the equalizer. He passed to Sesto in the left side of the end zone for the conversion and Massillon was behind for the first time this season.
After the game, Bruce paid tribute to Steubenville by saying, “We played a good football team tonight. I’m glad we’ll get an extra day’s rest before Altoona (next Saturday). We’ve got to hit harder.”
If there was doubt in the fans’ minds about whether their Tigers would come back to win, Bruce had none. “Certainly, I thought we would come back,” he snapped. “These are the Tigers.”
Bryan patted Massillon on the back. “Coach Bruce and his staff have done a real job and have a fine team,” he said.
Bryan didn’t think his team’s spirit would be hurt any by their costly loss. “They have a lot of scrap and have had the whole year,” he said. “The breaks went against them but we’ve had some the other way, too, so I guess they balance out.”
MASSILLON – 20
Ends – Paige, McGuire, Gallion, Healy.
Tackles – Hartlye, Petroff, Neago, Sherrett, Campbell.
Guards – Whitfield, Rose, Richards.
Centers – Marks, F. Williams, Ehmer.
Quarterbacks – Sheegog, Doolittle, McLendon, Smith.
Halfbacks – Lemon, James, McFadden, Muhlbach.
Fullback – Foster.
STEUBENVILLE – 14
Ends – Sesto, R. Sims, D. Sims, Spahn.
Tackles – Bass, Jones.
Guards – Hershey, Checca.
Centes – Sarap, Bates.
Quarterbacks – Endres, Moore.
Halfbacks – Kerr, Both, Palmer.
Fullback – Smith.
Score by quarters:
Massillon 6 6 0 8 – 20
Steubenville 6 8 0 0 – 14
Massillon – Paige (11-yard pass from Sheegog); James (one-half yard run);
Foster (2-yard run).
Steubenville – D. Sims (91-yard kickoff return); Palmer (3-yard run).
Massillon – Paige 2 (pass from Sheegog).
Steubenville – Sesto 2 (pass from Endres).
Referee – Ted Humphries (Youngstown).
Umpire – Mike Rodak (Weirton, W. Va.).
Head Linesman – Clyde Moore (Rittman).
Field Judge – LaVerne Haidet (Alliance).
Attendance – 9,489 (new Harding field record)
Statistics. . .
First downs—rushing 8 5
First downs—passing 5 1
First downs—penalties 0 0
Total first downs 13 6
Yards gained rushing 153 101
Yards lost rushing 14 31
Net yards gained rushing 139 70
Net yards gained passing 70 33
Total yards gained 209 103
Passes attempted 10 2
Passes completed 5 1
Passes intercepted by 0 1
Yardage on passes intercepted 0 15
Times kicked off 4 3
Kickoff average (yards) 48.5 42.0
Kickoff returns (yards) 47 146
Times punted 4 4
Punt average (yards) 31.0 33.5
Punt returns (yards) 7 3
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 1 0
Lost fumbled ball 0 0
Penalties 2 4
Yards penalized 20 15
Touchdowns rushing 2 1
Touchdowns passing 1 0
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Miscellaneous 0 1
Total number of plays 60 46