Tigers top Alliance to set up ‘big one’
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
Independent Sports Editor
If there’s a run on Tigertown doctors’ offices starting today for tranquilizers, it won’t be surprising.
The stage Friday night was set for what was to be the biggest regular season tilt in Washington high football history. With the Tigers running over Alliance 34-8 at Mount Union stadium in Alliance and the Canton McKinley Bulldogs edging the Warren Harding Black Panthers 14-12 at Fawcett stadium in Canton, the traditional season-ender between those two teams at Tiger stadium next Saturday afternoon will open the gate for the winner to the first Class AAA playoff for a state title.
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THE VICTORY will also give the winner the All-American conference championship, with the Tigers and Bulldogs presently having 4-0 records. The former stands 9-0 overall and the latter, 8-1.
The Tigers used a pulverizing ground game with their patented, time-consuming long drives to beat the Aviators who stayed in there gamely and continued Coach Gene Nara’s record of having scored against the team he formerly served as an assistant each year since Nara came to Alliance in 1970. But the Aviators’ youth and inexperience hurt in all respects but their passing game which got them their one tally.
Nara also broke a string of three consecutive Tiger shutouts this season.
Tiger fans got a scare when the AAC’s leading scorer and ground gainer, left half Tom Hannon, suffered a bruise of the right thigh. Hannon was held out of second half play, but trainer Bill Meier said the groovy-hipped senior should be ready for the Bulldogs.
He gained 114 yards in 15 attempts in the first half.
With both Hannon and previously injured right half Terry Edwards sidelined, Coach Bob Commings got some good backup work from senior Columbus Danzy and junior Johnny Mayor at right half and junior Terry Henderson at left half. Junior Charles Danzy filled in again well for injured senior Alex Wood at fullback.
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THE TIGERS, with excellent blocking, put together a combination of power pitch and regular sweeps, off tackleS and inside reverses and spurt up the center which the Aviators just couldn’t handle as the Obiemen got 288 of their net 294 yards rushing. The Obiemen allowed Alliance just 12 plays in the first half, but it was the second half passing attack which caused the Tigers some problems.
Junior quarterback Arnold Watson, whom Nara thinks will be the best in the AAC in 1973, was toughest this season for the defense spearheaded by Charles Danzy to bring down. Time and again he eluded Tiger players’ grasps just when it appeared he was to be thrown for big losses.
He was, thereafter, able to complete nine of 16 passes to add 86 yards and a touchdown to the Aviators’ 39 net rushing yards for a 125 total.
The Tigers took the opening kickoff an d moved 70 yards in 11 plays with Chuck Danzy scoring from about one-yard out over left guard with 8:02 left in the first quarter.
Hannon crashed through right tackle for the conversion.
His 33-yard run off left tackle, setting up a first down on the Alliance 35, was the big play.
Another welcome canto effort was aborted when Alliance linebacker Dave Fraser picked up Chuck Danzy’s fumble at the Aviators’ 31.
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A 59-YARD, 11-play drive following a first quarter punt took the Tigers to pay dirt a second time with quarterback Kevin Westover boot-legging around right end for the final 10 with 9:33 left in the second quarter. A pass failed for the conversion.
The Tigers ground out 70 yards in 15 plays following another second quarter punt. Hannon took a pitch from Westover and went around right end from three yards out with 1:03 left. Westover’s run was short of the conversion.
Chuck Danzy stepped in front of a Watson screen at the Alliance 35 and raced in for the score with 9:18 left in the third quarter. Don Muhlbach’s attempted kick was wide left.
Erlo Lee’s kickoff traveled only 15 yards and Alliance had a touchdown in 11 plays off a 55-yard drive as Watson hit on four passes including a conversion aerial to left end Gene Paina, the AAC’s leading receiver. The touchdown run, with 3:26 left, was by tailback Mark Hewitt through the center from thee yards away.
A 15-yard interference penalty aided the drive.
Aviator end Ford Hoffman picked up Henderson’s fumble on the Massillon 40 three plays after the kickoff, but four plays later Chuck Danzy tossed Watson to the 43 from where the Tigers started a 12-play, 56-yard drive, aided by a 15-yard personal foul penalty, but the effort ended on the one when Henderson was halted because Tiger blockers failed to pick up a safety blitz.
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THE TIGERS forced a punt, took over on the Aviator 35 and scored their final TD in eight plays. Westover hit split end Greg Sullivan, who later possibly broke a hand, from the seven in the left corner of the end zone with 3:37 left in the game.
Muhlbach ran the conversion on what appeared to be a trick play after a bad snap for the first conversion try – a kick.
Alliance took to the airwaves again after the kickoff with Watson hitting Paina and split ends Lennie Jones and Aaron Bivens, the Tigers adding an interference penalty and the ball ended on the Massillon nine as the game ended.
“We thought we could move the ball on the ground,” Nara said when asked why he hadn’t resorted to passing in the first half, “but we couldn’t.”
The Aviators did move the ball from their 34 to the Massillon 35 in the five plays – only one of which was via the air route – just before the first half ended.
“Getting three TDs in the first half helped,” Tiger Coach Bob Commings said. “I didn’t think we tackled as well as in the past.”
MASSILLON – 34
Ends – Sullivan, Bodiford, D. Edwards, McCauley, Huffman, Bash.
Tackles – Geiser, Green, Csonka, Perry.
Guards – Guiffre, Mayles, Keller, Schumacher, Graber.
Centers – Cocklin, Studer.
Quarterbacks – Westover, Bickford.
Halfbacks – Hannon, Henderson, Columbus Danzy, Mayor.
Fullbacks – Charles Danzy, Alex Wood.
Middle Guards – Balizet, Lee, Greg Wood.
Linebackers – Swann, T. Gutshall, Ahlstrom.
Defensive Halfbacks – Jackson, Dan and Dennis Gutshall, Muhlbach, DiLoreto, Christie.
ALLIANCE – 8
Ends – Paina, Givens, Jones, Harper.
Tackles – Sacco, Ganni, King, Graf, Fisher.
Guards – Fraser, Huff, Royster, Alexander.
Center – Swanson.
Quarterback – Watson.
Halfbacks – Miller, Haidet, Evans, Hamrick, Hewitt, Biery, Martin.
Fullback – Deack.
MASSILLON 8 12 6 8 34
ALLIANCE 0 0 8 0 8
First downs, rushing 20 2
First downs, passing 0 7
First downs, penalties 1 2
Total first downs 21 11
Yards gained rushing 303 96
Yards lost rushing 15 57
Net yards gained rushing 288 39
Net yards gained passing 6 86
Total yards gained 294 125
Passes, completed 1-3 9-16
Passes intercepted 1 0
Yardage on passes intercepted 42 0
Kickoff average (yards) 6-36.5 2-45.5
Kickoff returns (yards) 41 68
Punt average (yds.) 0 4-28.8
Fumbles (lost) 2(2) 0(0)
Yards penalized 5-45 3-32
Touchdowns rushing 2 1
Touchdowns passing 1 0
Touchdowns by interception 1 0
Total no. of plays 61 51