Bengals Lose 2nd Straight 20-14
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
Independent Sports Editor
It may have gone unnoticed in the wake of the unhappiness at Tiger stadium Saturday night. But the Massillon Tigers’ offensive unit gave its best performance to date.
Defense had been the strong part of the Bengals’ game heretofore. But the WHS gridders were little match for a powerful Altoona, Pa., eleven, falling 20-14.
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IT WAS THE second straight loss for the Bengals and the first home defeat since 1962. The Bengals had also not lost 2 contests or 2 in a row since 1962. Their season slate now reads 3-2-1.
For Altoona, which stretched its slate to 5-1 in administering the first out-of-state loss to the Tigers in 29 years, it meant the continuation of a win streak to 4 games. The Mountain Lions had lost both of the 2 previous games between the Buckeye and Keystone rivals.
Altoona’s success story was written in superior line play and excellent ball-handling and deception in the backfield. The Mountain Lions’ superior weight opened up giant-sized holes in the Tigers’ defensive line. Quarterback Walter Beatty handed off and flipped out with the skill of a Houdini, mixing his plays well to take advantage of all of his backs. The faking of halfbacks Phil Witherspoon and Greg Campbell and fullback Gary Madden was perfect.
Seaman applauded his backs. “I was well pleased with them,” Seaman said. “They ran exceptionally well. Simon (Bill) was 1,000 percent improved and Maurer (Craig) is gaining confidence.”
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SIMON, the left halfback, right half Tommy James and Fullback Will Foster also had some big holes to go through – but not as many as the Altoona backs. This time the Bengal runners found the holes, something they had failed to do with regularity all season.
The Tigers almost threw more passes Saturday night than they had all season, getting a touchdown via that route for the second time this fall. But Maurer also had an unfortunate bit of luck.
With the Tigers driving for what would have been a tying touchdown with just over 2 minutes remaining in the game and third and one on the Altoona 11, he and center Tim Senften miscued and a fumble occurred. Foster was short by inches through the center on the next play and Altoona had its victory, although having to fend off the Tigers following a short punt and pass to split end Jim Smith for 18 yards to the Lions’ 24. For awhile the scene resembled a Chinese fire drill the Bengals out of time outs and trying to get plays off quickly.
It was a game of other close calls, too, with Mountain Lions being stopped by a gnat’s eyelash from scoring in the first quarter after an 18-play, 76-yard drive all on the ground. Ron Ertle put the clincher to the Lions’ plans on the opening series by recovering Campbell’s fumble.
Campbell twice just managed to bring down Tiger ball carriers seemingly on the way to scores. He caught James on the Altoona 7 after a 26-yard run in the third quarter. He tripped up Foster on the Lions’ 20 after a 25-yard romp in the fourth.
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THE TIGERS’ got the first score following a fumble recovery by Ron Muhlbach and Earl Beiter on the Altoona 33 with 1:12 left in the welcome quarter.
A Statue of Liberty play had gone awry. The Bengals got into pay dirt 12 plays later with 8:33 remaining in the second stanza.
Foster, continuing his fine second effort running, went in around right end on third down from the 3. He also got the conversion – one of the few of the season – over right guard.
Altoona came right back after the kickoff, going 68 yards in 10 plays with only the pay off maneuver going overhead. Beatty hit Speacht on the 5 with second down, 16, on the 17. Campbell slipped between left guard and left tackle, a spot the Lions picked on frequently, for the equalizing conversion.
The Tigers got into a big hole on the next kickoff, which came from the Tigers’ 45 following a personal foul stepoff. Safetyman John McFadden slipped in the mud, went down on the one and the Orange and Black had to give up the ball via a punt from the 24.
Both teams scored in the third quarter. Campbell tallied first for Altoona on a left pitchout on fourth down from the 3 following a 72-yard, 9-play drive on the opening series. Campbell missed the conversion on a sweep right. A 24-yard pass to Speacht and 24 and 10-yard runs by Campbell highlighted the push.
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MASSILLON drove back 61 yards in 7 plays featured by a 29-yard kick runback by James, a 22-yard pass to split end Tim Moyer and the 26-yard right side, off tackle slash by James which Campbell just was able to abort. James caught a pass into the right corner of the end zone from Maurer on a fake to Foster. James missed the conversion over left tackle.
Altoona’s winning offensive came after Dale Gallion recovered a fumble on his 23 to halt a 44-yard drive. Maurer had a pass pilfered by Dave McGarth on the next play. Altoona moved in from the 21 in 7 plays. Beatty went through the center on fourth down from the one with 7:45 left in the contest and then fumbled on the conversion attempt.
“This loss was mine,” Seaman said later. “We threw after the fumble recovery. That was a mistake. I got too hoggish. We should have stuffed the ball down their throats like we were able to do all night.”
“This was a team victory,” Altoona Coach Earl Strohm said. “The kids did a job blocking. We had worked against their stack defense all along. We knew they didn’t pass much. I told the boys this was our best chance to beat them. We knew this was their weakest team in the 3 years we had played them, but they rank along with McKeesport and Pennsbury.”
A crowd of 15,810, largest of the season, sat in after a heavy rain had let up one-half hour before game time.
ALTOONA – 20
Ends – Conrad, McGrath, Cochran.
Tackles – Clark, Traficante, Askey, Potter, Parsons.
Guards – Carnicella, Kitt, Nedimyer, Turchetta.
Centers – Thompson, Bosso.
Quarterback – Beatty.
Halfbacks – Witherspoon, Campbell, Singer, Speacht.
Fullbacks – Madden, Launchi, Tyler.
MASSILLON – 14
Ends – Moyer, Smith, Liggett, Gallion, Richards, Griffin, Sterling.
Tackles – Ricker , Snowball, Campbell, Turley, Sherrett, Neago.
Guards – Ertle, Beiter, Hauenstein, Russell, Porrini.
Centers – Senften, Kraft, Skelton.
Quarterbacks – Maurer, Young, Henderson, Malinowski.
Halfbacks – James, Simon, Fenton, McFadden, Staples, Evans,
Fullback – Foster.
Punter – Krenzer.
Altoona 0 8 6 6 20
Massillon 0 8 6 0 14
Massillon – Foster (3-yard run); James (2-yard pass from Maurer).
Altoona – Speacht (16-yard, pass-run play from Beatty);
Campbell (3-yard run); Beatty (one-yard run).
Massillon – Foster 2 (run).
Altoona – Campbell 2 (run).
Referee – Jack McLain (Columbus).
Umpire – Tony Pianowski (Cleveland).
Head Linesman – Chet DeStefano (Canton).
Field Judge – Ken Newlon (Canton).
First downs – rushing 7 15
First downs – passing 1 3
First downs – penalties 0 0
Total first downs 8 18
Yards gained rushing 168 250
Yards lost rushing 9 14
Net yards gained rushing 159 236
Net yards gained passing 57 52
Total yards gained 216 288
Passes attempted 7 7
Passes completed 4 4
Passes intercepted by 0 1
Yardage on passes intercepted 0 17
Times kicked off 4 3
Kickoff average (yards) 41.0 48.3
Kick returns (yards) 68 39
Times punted 2 2
Punt average (yards) 35.5 24.5
Punt return (yards) 6 0
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 3 5
Lost fumbled ball 0 3
Penalties 7 2
Yards penalized 75 10
Touchdowns rushing 2 2
Touchdowns passing 0 1
Touchdowns by interception 0 0
Miscellaneous 0 0
Total number of plays 45 64