Tigers End Season With Victory 35-16
Blunt Scores 3 Touchdowns, Sets Up 4th;
100th Win For Strang
By CHUCK HESS, JR.
There’s something about a Tiger team that’s grand! Grand! Grand!
And that something is the great fighting spirit of the Bengals! They had their trials and tribulations this year, but they never threw in the towel. They fought down to the wire.
Now that the din of another season has died away, and the fans have settled down to waiting through the long months for next year’s football, they’ll relive Saturday’s traditional Massillon-Canton game for days to come. For the Tigers gave them a finale to remember.
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THE BENGALS made sure they ended on the winning side of the ledger, and they gave Coach Leo Strang his 100th victory of his career. The win was a 35-16 decision over Canton Lincoln’s Lions, substituting for the suspended McKinley Bulldogs.
The Orange and Black finished the season with a 6-5 record and averted the stigma of being the first squad since 1931 to have a losing season. For the Lions, who also gave a good account of themselves, it was a fourth loss. They also have five wins and a tie on their record.
The game brought back memories of 1940 and 1941 to Massillon as the name Blunt shot into prominence again. Then it was halfback Fred (Pokey) Blunt. Saturday it was junior halfback (The Rabbit) Blunt, Pokey’s nephew, who did the dazzling.
He scored three of the five Tiger touchdowns and helped set up a fourth. His 85-yard return of the opening kickoff for a score dealt the Lions a blow from which they never fully recovered.
“That was a real shocker,” Lincoln Coach Lou Venditti said after the game. “It broke our backs.” A jubilant Strang said, “We’d been practicing all week on kickoff returns. We usually only work the last day on that. We were really fired up. That helped us stand up.”
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LEO WENT on to talk about Blunt. “He’s just coming into his own,” the skipper said. “The last four or five games he’s been doing what we expect of a good back offensively and defensively.”
Venditti also had nothing but praise for Blunt.
There was another key player in the game, Ron Davis, competing in his last contest for the Tigers as a linebacker, was a demon on defense, getting in on a lot of tackles. He was sorely missed in the second half when the lineup was broken to see that everybody got a chance to play, including the sophomores who were suited up for the only time this season.
“He’s a real fine linebacker,” Strang said, “We’re going to have a whale of a job replacing him.”
Strang added, “This was one of our better games, especially in the first half when we had our unit intact.” He didn’t like his passing game even though he scored two touchdowns that way and picked up 134 yards while completing four of seven.
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HE GAVE Venditti a real compliment, “He’s a real good coach and has done a whale of a job with his team. They should win the state title on improvement alone.”
Venditti praised the speed of the Tigers. Both coaches felt that was a big difference in the game.
About his own team Venditti said, “I was proud of the way they came back in the second half. I was afraid they’d quit.” The Lions scored one touchdown and held Massillon to one after the Bengals had taken a 28-8 lead before the intermission.
Venditti was happy with the running of fullback George Andreadis, only a junior, and senior tackle, Chris Vagotis’ defensive job. Strang said that Andreadis was a good,
“We knew we could run off tackle so we did in the second half,” Venditti continued, “I only wish I had more big backs like George (180 pounds). He could not do it all.”
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THE STATISTICS show that Massillon out-rushed Lincoln 216 net yards to 111 and out-passed them 134-97, Lincoln had one TD via the airwaves and completed 12 of 19 passes. Massillon had 13 first downs to Lincoln’s 11. The Bengals had two more rushing than Lincoln.
Lincoln piled up just about all of their various totals in the second half. They got out of their territory only once during the first 12 minutes and didn’t pick up their first down until there were 6:48 left in the second period. They got only three in the first half.
The Tigers scored three times in the first quarter. First came Blunt’s electrifying run. Junior tackle Ken Curry kicked off for Lincoln. Blunt gathered the ball in on the south
15-yard line and set sail for pay dirt. Fourteen seconds later he was in touchdown land, thanks to some fine running and blocking.
Senior Wil Paisley got a bad snap from center and tried to pass to his holder, senior quarterback Mike Koenig, hoping he could run in for the conversion. But the ball never got to Koenig.
After a Lincoln series and a punt, the Bengals got rolling again. They moved from t heir 27 for their second TD, a distance of 73 yards, in 12 plays with three first downs.
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SOPHOMORE FULLBACK Jim Lawrence had a key run of 25 yards around the short side on a pitchout from the Massillon 37 to the Lincoln 38. The touchdown came six plays later from the 25 on second down and six. Koenig hit Blunt over the center at 4:46. He made a tremendous leaping catch to prevent a sure interception.
John Kanney, senior tailback, just returned to duty after five week’s absence due to an injury, scored the conversion on a pitchout and sweep of right end.
The Tigers scored the next time they got their hands on the ball. Lincoln lost it on downs again after the first series following the Bengals’ TD. Blunt ran a punt back 18 yards to give the Tigers the ball on their 38.
This time the scoring drive took five plays with two first downs. Koenig ran the ball four straight times, picking up 18 yards over short side guard on one trip.
The Lions ran one series. Then the Bengals came roaring back from their 24. They took nine plays to do it and got two first downs. A 42-yard pass over the center from Koenig to Blunt on second and 25 on the 49 of Lincoln after an offensive holding penalty, set up the next score.
Koenig just missed hitting Blunt in the right fore corner of the end zone. Blunt dived for the ball but couldn’t hang on. Davis went over on the next play on a pitchout and sweep of right end as the clock ground to a halt. Paisley then kicked his last conversion of his high school year for a 35-8 count.
Massillon had the ball only twice in the last period. Lincoln had it three times, once for two plays at the games end. The Tigers got the ball on the Lincoln 34 after a punt misfired due to a bad snap. But two plays later Vogatis picked up a Massillon fumble on his 26. Lincoln then rolled 82 yards for a score. They got four first downs in the attempts.
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WITH ANDREADIS, Walsh and Sardone taking turns going through the Tigers’ reserve line and Walsh cranking up for key pass plays of 11, eight and nine yards – two to Sardone and one to sophomore Wayne Todd – the Lions rolled to their second and final score in 17 plays. Twice Andreadis got first downs on crucial third down situations and once on last down.
The score came when Walsh hit Todd on a desperation pass from the 13 on fourth-and-11. Todd made a diving catch at 1:08 and just got over. Andreadis went over right tackle for the final two points.
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THE SCORE came on a second-and-13 play from the Tigers’ 46. Koenig hit junior short side end Bob McAllister with a payoff pass down the left side with five seconds remaining in the first period. An attempted pass to junior long side end Mike Jones for the conversion was incomplete.
The Tigers kicked off as the period ended. Lincoln had one series in the second quarter. Massillon then moved from its 47 to Lincoln’s 29 after a 17-yard punt return by Blunt.
The Orange and Black’s attack bogged down. A sure TD pass from Koenig to McAllister misfired. On fourth down Paisley tried a field goal from the 39. It was short and junior safetyman Chuck Lyke ran the ball back from the five to the 26 – a distance of 21
yards – when the Massillon players forgot the ball wasn’t dead and watched Lyke run.
Neither team did anything until senior end Joe Nostram fell on a Massillon fumble on the Orange and Black 23 with 3:45 left in the half. The Lions had their first touchdown in five plays and one first down. Senior quarterback Ray Walsh passed to junior halfback Jim Sardone down the right side – with the play covering from the 23 to the 11 – to set up the score.
Sardone got the score off right tackle from the three on fourth down at 2:07. Walsh passed to Sardone on the right side again for the conversion as Sardone caught the ball in the end zone and then fell back out.
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MASSILLON USED two plays after the kickoff to score again. Curry kicked short to Jones on the Bengals’ 35 to prevent Blunt getting the ball. But on the second play the junior back went over short side guard on the counter trap for a 57-yard score with one minute remaining. Kanney got the conversion on a pitchout and sweep of left side.
The third period was free of scoring until time had run out. Lincoln had chances stopped on the Massillon 28 and 27. Davis broke through for a bone-jarring tackle, knocking the pigskin loose. Senior halfback Ron (Silky) Sullivan picked it up on the 33. However, Andreadis recovered a Massillon fumble on the 32 on the next play.
CANTON LINCOLN – 16
Ends – Coletti, Todd and Van Nostram.
Tackles – Curry and Vagotis.
Guards – Easterman, Mowry, Roard and Selway.
Center – McCauley.
Quarterbacks – Walsh and Sheets.
Halfbacks – Lyke, Sardone, Stefanoich and Hawk.
Fullback – Andreadis.
MASSILLON – 35
Ends – Jones, McAllister, W. Franklin, Hose, R. Alexander, Goodnough, D. Alexander, E. Franklin and Gilmore.
Tackles – Mercer, Profant, Clendening, Miller, Fabianich, Tarle, Lash, Frang, Morgan, Harmon, Bing and Martin.
Guards – Castile, Geckler, McDew, Roderick, Swisher, Rivera, Mathias, Paflas, Whitfield, Larsuel, Randles, Muhlback and Rearick.
Centers – Bradley, Scassa, Bash, Paisley and Rambaud.
Quarterbacks – Koenig, Gatsios and Kanner.
Halfbacks – Kanney, Blunt, Davis, Getz, Eckard, Rink, Pope, Stroh, Freig, Gamble, Schenkenberger and Williams.
Fullbacks – Lawrence, Sullivan and Hewitt.
Lincoln 0 8 0 8 16
Massillon 20 8 7 0 35
Massillon – Blunt (85-yard return of opening kickoff, 25-yard pass from Koenig, 57-yard run), McAllister (54-yard pass from Koenig) and Davis (seven-yard run).
Lincoln – Sardone (three-yard run) and Todd (13-yard pass
Points after touchdown:
Massillon – Kanney 2 (runs), Paisley 1 (kick).
Lincoln – Sardone (pass from Walsh);
Referee – Bud Shopbell (Canton).
Umpire – Harvey Hodgson, Jr. (Massillon).
Head Linesman – Horace Rainsberger (Painesville).
Field Judge – Andy Chiebeck (Louisville).
First downs – rushing 9 7
First downs – passing 4 4
First downs – penalties 0 0
Total first downs 13 11
Yards gained rushing 220 126
Yards lost rushing 4 15
Net yards gained rushing 216 111
Yards gained passing 134 97
Total yards gained 350 208
Passes attempted 7 19
Passes completed 4 12
Passes intercepted by 0 0
Times kicked off 6 3
Kickoff average (yards) 47.6 29.0
Kickoff returns (yards) 90 120
Times punted 1 5
Punt average (yards) 30.0 34.6
Punt returns (yards) 44 36
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 3 2
Lost fumbled ball 3 1
Penalties 2 3
Yards penalized 30 25