Tiger Rally Repels Bulldogs 18-14
Real Champs Fight Back!
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
“That’s the mark of a real champion!”
Those words might have been uttered by a Massillon football fan. They might have been pronounced by a Washington high school coach. They might have been written by this reporter.
But they weren’t. That’s why they mean so much more today to one of the most terrific bunch of boys ever to wear the famous orange and black garb of the Tigers.
Following the Bengals’ 18-14 come-from-behind victory over Canton McKinley Saturday at Fawcett stadium in Canton before a standing-room only crowd of 22,326. Jim Smith, coach at Lake high school in Hartville, uttered the words which lead off this story. He paid the supreme compliment to the Obiemen through veteran assistant Carl (Ducky) Schroeder.
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THE TIGERS convinced one outsider that they deserve to wear the Ohio high school crown. And maybe they convinced more around the state. Whether they did or not cannot be known until Tuesday when the final wire service polls come out.
But the Brucemen convinced all the Tiger fans watching at Fawcett that they deserved to wear a second straight crown. Any team which can be down 14 points at half time to a fired-up, superbly coached, hard-hitting team like McKinley and come back to win -–for the third time this season—certainly deserves to be called a champion.
The other 2 times the Orange and Black turned the tide was against equally tough Steubenville and Warren teams. This trio of feats will be etched in the memories of the Tiger faithful forever.
The 1965 season truly saw a superb team effort on the part of the players. Each did his part. Each came to the fore time and again during a 10-game slate, which had more pressure-packed moments than an old-time movie serial.
The win Saturday gave Massillon an undefeated season in 10 games, 28 consecutive victories, 9 in a row over McKinley and a third straight title in the All-American high school football league. The Bengals have not lost a league contest since the circuit’s inception in 1963.
For Coach Earle Bruce it was a 43rd straight unbeaten game, counting the August all-star game. He now has a 3-1 record at Fawcett, having split 2 games there with Canton Timken while at Salem.
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FOR THE thousands of fans who watched via television Saturday, it must have been like seeing a replay of an old movie on the late-late show for this year’s game came close to being a carbon copy of last year’s. The Tigers beat McKinley 20-14 at Tiger stadium in 1964.
This time, however, the WHS eleven started its comeback earlier, not waiting for the last quarter to roll around. Quarterback Dave Sheegog, playing in his final high school game, got his mates started with a 24-yard run-back of the second half kickoff to his 34-yard line.
The Tigers moved in for a score in 11 plays, finally getting their deadly, ground-gobbling, time-consuming offense into high gear. “Sweet Walter” Lemon, another senior, picked up 16 yards in 5 plays on the drive with Sheegog and junior Tommy James also in on the effort.
The touchdown came after a first down procedure penalty had set Massillon back to the McKinley 39. Sheegog handed to James on the trip up the middle and “the Scooter” was “Gone With the Wind.” He cut back to his left and scurried for payoff territory, arriving with 6:05 left in the third period. A fumble nullified the conversion attempt.
With almost 6 precious minutes chopped off the clock in the scoring soiree, McKinley attempted to get a drive going following the kickoff. But 3 plays later it was “TJ for the TD” again.
Bulldog quarterback Larry Haines attempted a pass with second down on his 33. James intercepted on the 40, went down the left sideline and scored with 5:14 remaining in the period. Another fumble aborted the conversion try.
The Bengals forced a punt on the next series as linebacker Paul Marks threw Haines for a 10-yard loss on third down. Sheegog ran back 31 yards with the boot to the McKinley 24. But a penalty and 2 incomplete passes halted the drive on the 24.
It looked as if McKinley were about to come charging back. Their outstanding fullback Larry Clayton went booming off right tackle for 28 yards to the Massillon 48 with Paige making a desperation tackle to save a score. Four more plays put the pigskin on the 35.
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THEN SHEEGOG intercepted another pass on what McKinley Coach Ron Chismar called the key play of the game. Massillon then drove 76 yards in 13 plays for the winning score. Most important about this drive was that it clipped 8 minutes off the clock allowing too little time for McKinley to rebound. This was about the umpteenth time that the Tiger trademark of 1965, possession ball, had paid off. It couldn’t have come at any better time.
Lemon, Sheegog, Foster and James all had a hand in the assualt. Lemon had an 8-yard run, Sheegog a pair of 8’s and Foster an 11.
It was Foster who came up with what Bruce thought was the key play and so did all of the Tiger fans. Massillon had fourth down on the 17. Sheegog was about to be trapped on a pass-run when (name unreadable) out a low clothes line. Foster made a swan dive on the 9 and came up with the ball. Umpire Tony Pianowski immediately signaled a legal catch.
Foster blasted through the middle to the 3 and over, off left tackle, in successive plays with 2 minutes remaining. Sheegog tried to hit Paige for the conversion but Rick couldn’t hold it.
But the heart-throbs weren’t to stop. McKinley, showing the great stuff it is made of, continued to fight, moving the kickoff to the 29 after a 23-yard runback by Mathews to the 25.
With third down on the 27, Haines hit end Ed Hinton on the 39. Then Haines faded to pass, slipped and went down on the 29 with Mike (Big Boy) Sherrett on top of him.
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THE NEXT PLAY saw Haines fade again. This time Marks picked off the fourth McKinley pass of the day, more than in any other game for the Tigers. Massillon took over on the Bulldog 46 and ran out the clock.
Unlike in the second half, McKinley was in command in the first period. Hopped up like a horse on loco weed, the Pups rammed away for 2 quick TD’s before the startled Tigers knew what had hit them and it looked as if an upset were in the making.
Half Fred Mathews was the star here. He ran the opening kickoff back 44 yards to the Massillon 48. Although there is no intent to play down a fine performance by Mathews, it has to be stated that a couple of Tiger defenders slipped in the mud just about the time they were going to haul Mathews down.
He picked up 40 more yards on the drive, the payoff coming on a 32-yard pass-run combination with Haines on the propelling end. The down was third and the time remaining 9:40. Greek-born George Fronimo booted the extra point soccer style in stocking feet.
The Tigers got a 20-yard runback to the 30 by Sheegog. But then disaster struck Sheegog, passing into the teeth of a strong wind, saw his aerial hold up short. Mathews hauled down the errant toss on the McKinley 35 after a frantic effort by Paige to bat it away and
hot-footed it to the Massillon 43 for 22 yards on another fabulous return. Eight plays later the Bulldogs had their second score and it looked like curtains for the Bengals.
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WITH CLAYTON carrying the ball 5 times and picking up 25 yards, the Bulldogs got their next TD with 4:15 left in the welcome frame as Haines sneaked in from the one. Fronimo again connected on a conversion kick.
Mathews had a key third down pass reception for 6 yards on the Tiger 21. Clayton brought the ball to scoring distances by bursting through the center on successive plays to shake off tacklers and travel from the 21 to the 3.
Sheegog ran back the kickoff to the Massillon 34, a distance of 24 yards. But on the first play, Bill Knucklos recovered a Bengal fumble on the Massillon 37.
The Brucemen then stopped the Bulldogs’ drive on the Massillon 32 and the Pups got into Massillon territory only once the rest of the game.
The remaining seconds of the first period and all of the second were a standoff. McKinley had the ball for only 9 plays in the second canto. Massillon’s deepest penetration was to the 21 just before the half ended.
The Obiemen had 2 drives going, one for 6:30 and the other for 4:15. Junior “monster” back Ron Muhlbach intercepted a pass to start one thrust. The Tigers failed to make it once on a fourth down play and got bogged down by 3 procedure penalties the other time.
Chismar said after the game that he thought Massillon had a “great football team.” He said the difference between the 2 halves of play was Bruce’s throwing ‘junk” at the Bulldogs in the first half and playing his normal game in the second.
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BRUCE confirmed Chismar’s statement about using a lot of odds and ends in the first half. He felt that his team did a better job of rushing the passer in the second half, which helped cut down on the effectiveness of the Bulldogs’ passing.
When asked what it was he said at half time to fire up the Tigers, Bruce replied, “Go Get them!” He added, “That old Massillon tradition of coming back is hard to beat.”
Chismar commented on his passing in the second half by saying that broken patterns were involved when James intercepted for a TD and Sheegog pilfered to start the drive for the winning score.
“They wouldn’t have scored if it hadn’t been for that,” Chismar said.
Chismar, a fine sportsman, refused to say that the absence of speedster Darryl Rippey hurt. “Elbert Bradley did a fine job of filling in,” he said. “I cannot take anything away from him.”
Tiger defensive backfield Coach John Behling explained the reason for the Bengals’ trouble in covering passes in the first quarter. “The boys couldn’t hear their cover calls,” he said.
The Lineups. . .
MASSILLON – 19
Ends – Paige, B. Williams, McGuire, Gallion, Griffin.
Tackles – Hartley, Neago, Petroff, Sherrett.
Guards – Rose, Whitified, Kraft, Richards, Zorger.
Centers – Marks, F. Williams, Ehmer.
Quarterbacks – Sheegog, Doolittle.
Halfbacks – Lemon, James, Muhlbach, Smith, Healy, McFadden, McLendon.
Fullbacks – Foster, Manson.
McKINLEY – 14
Ends – Ring, Snell, March, Hinton.
Tackles, Scott, Adamski, Rushe.
Guards – Robinson, Hall, Nucklos, Shimek.
Centers – D’Antonio, McEwen.
Quarterback – Haines.
Halfbacks – Mathews, Bradley, Johnson.
Fullbacks – Clayton, Dickerson.
Score by Quarters:
Massillon ………….. 0 0 12 6 – 18
McKinley………….. 14 0 0 0 – 14
Massillon – James 2 (39-yard run and 40-yard pass interception return);
Foster (3-yard run).
McKinley – Mathews (23-yard pass-run from Haines);
Haines (one-yard sneak).
McKinley – Fronimo 2 (placekicks).
Referee – George Ellis (Akron).
Umpire – Tony Pianowski (Cleveland).
Head Linesman – Branton Kirk (New Philadelphia).
Field Judge – Tom Ascani (Canton).
Statistics . . .
First downs—rushing 10 7
First downs—passing 3 3
First downs—penalties 0 0
Total first downs 13 10
Yards gained rushing 165 153
Yards lost rushing 2 29
Net yards gained rushing 183 124
Net yards gained passing 43 60
Total yards gained 226 184
Passes attempted 12 11
Passes completed 4 4
Passes intercepted by 4 1
Yardage on passes intercepted 42 27
Times kicked off 4 3
Kickoff average (yards) 45.0 49
Kickoff returns (yards) 65 63
Times punted 1 1
Punt average (yards) 40.0 29
Punt returns (yards) 28 0
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 1 2
Lost fumbled ball 1 0
Penalties 5 1
Yards penalized 25 15
Touchdowns rushing 2 1
Touchdowns passing 0 1
Touchdowns by interception 1 0
Miscellaneous 0 0
Total number of plays 38 31