Massillon Tigers Black Letter Logo

Franklin, Cardinal sparkle vs. Warren
Tigers grind out 22-0 win in mud

Independent Sports Editor

Washington high assistant Coach Nick Vrotsos called the shot perfectly Friday night.

“We’ll just have to get in there and grind it out,” he said in the dressing room before the game.
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THAT’S JUST WHAT the state’s top-ranked Tigers did before an estimated 12,000 rain soaked fans at Mollenkopf stadium in Warren as they grabbed their eighth win of the season, 22-0 over the Harding Black Panthers.

It was the Orangemen’s fourth consecutive shutout and broke the “Mollenkopf jinx” – the Tigers hadn’t won there since 1964 and 10 of their 12 losses to Harding high comes there.

The undefeated Tigers handed Warren its fourth loss in as many league games. They maintained their first-place hold in the All-American conference.

With the Warren defense geared to stop the league’s leading scorer and rusher, senior tailback Mike Mauger, senior quarterback Dennis Franklin and senior fullback Tom Cardinal cut loose.

Franklin scored all three touchdowns, one conversion and passed for another as “The Menace” had his finest hour as a Tiger.
Cardinal, “Old Reliable,” picked up a lot of crucial yardage.
“It was a good one to get under the conditions,” WHS head Coach Bob Commings said, “but the big thing was that the kids were great – so concentrated. They didn’t make an error, didn’t break down on offense or defense in this weather. The assistant coaches did a heckuva job, not only in preparing us for the game, but also in making calls from the pressbox.”

Commings gave Warren Coach Tom Batta a great deal of praise for the manner in which he had prepared his team.

“We felt we had to place people to stop Mauger in order to win,” Batta said. “We thought if we could force Cardinal to run, we would be able to stop them, but all the backs gained about equal yardage. We did hold Mauger scoreless.”
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BUT TIGER BACKS, behind excellent blocking again from the “Iron Curtain,” rolled up 220 yards while the “Attack Pack” held Warren to 29 and none in the air although the Panthers completed four of nine.

As Co-Captain Steve Luke remarked, “It was our will to succeed which brought us through again.”

The first quarter was scoreless although the Tigers’ first scoring drive started with 7:02 left. After a quick kick the WHSers went 73 yards on 16 plays with Cardinal carrying seven times. Twelve and 15-yard runs by Mauger and a 12-yarder by Franklin helped set up the score.

Franklin sneaked in from one-half yard out on fourth down with one second gone in the second quarter. In attempting to run the bootleg for the conversion, Franklin slipped.

“We thought the quick kick would put them deep in their territory and that we could hold and get good field position,” Batta explained. “We put on a good goal line stand and made them fight for it, though.”

Warren had quick-kicked in one other game – against Steubenville.

One series after the kickoff, Massillon picked up a poor punt on the Warren 32-yard line and scored in five plays, Cardinal’s 19-yarder was a key. Franklin sneaked from the
one-yard line on first down and bootlegged the conversion with 6:59 on the clock.
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MASSILLON HAD the ball in Warren territory on two other occasions, but illegal use of the hands and clipping calls were spoilers.

Neither team got out of its own territory in the third period, but Warren managed its first of three first downs.

The “Attack Pack” held on a short fourth down pass to give the Tigers a start on their last TD drive in the fourth quarter. It covered 61 yards in 10 plays with an 11-yard
Franklin-to-Larry Harper aerial and 21 and 12-yard scampers by Mauger and Franklin as keys.

Franklin sneaked from the one-half-yard line with 4:46 left and then hit Harper, a senior wingback, just inside the end line for the conversion.

Late in the period Warren sprung senior tailback Anthony Brown to the Tigers’ 35 and quarterback Harold Fails hit end Ed Vogel on the Massillon 20, but illegal use of the hands and offside penalties nullified the Panthers’ efforts.

After the Tigers had lost the ball on downs on their 18 (Franklin fell on the ball instead of risking a punt), junior cornerback Art Thompson of Massillon ran back an interception 48 yards to end the game.

First downs – rushing 17 2
First downs – passing 2 0
First downs – penalties 0 1
Total first downs 19 3
Yards gained rushing 230 49
Yards lost rushing 10 20
Net yards gained rushing 230 29
Net yards gained passing 32 0
Total yards gained 252 29
Passes completed 2-5 4-9
Passes intercepted by 1 1
Yardage on passes intercepted 52 0
Kickoff average yards 4-45.0 1-45.0
Kickoff returns yards 18 53
Punt average, yards 3-36.0 6-41.3
Punt returns, yards 1 6
Lost fumbled ball 0-2 0
Yards penalized 5-61 5-35
TDs – rushing 3 0
TDs – passing 0 0
TDs by interception 0 0
Total plays 62 40

Steve Luke