1944: Massillon 0, Canton McKinley 27
Smith And Pujazon Shine As Bulldogs Rip Tigers 27-0
LOCAL WARRIORS GO DOWN FIGHTING
Powerful And Speedy McKinley Eleven Tallies 4 Times In Annual Classic To Inflict Third Defeat Of Season On Massillon Gridders
By FRED J. BECKER
A golden anniversary in football but not so golden from a Massillon viewpoint was celebrated out at Tiger stadium Saturday afternoon when a power-laden Canton McKinley Bulldog outfit battered its way to a 27-0 victory over a Washington high school Tiger team that was on the short end in everything but courage.
And what courage those Massillon kids displayed!
The records will show in cold figures what will appear to be a rather lopsided victory for one of the most powerful aggregations ever fielded by Canton McKinley but the raw courage and fight those badly outmanned Tigers exhibited out there on the gridiron last Saturday afternoon will live long in the memory of the more than 21,000 fans who jammed Tiger stadium to witness this annual schoolboy classic, one of the greatest in the nation.
Defeated But Not Outfought
Defeated, yes, but not outfought were those Massillon youngsters who had some apparent shortcomings all fall but lack of intestinal fortitude was not one of them. No football team in Massillon history ever fought their hearts out against greater odds than did those gallant little youngsters last Saturday.
In defeat they rose to their greatest fighting performance of the season and even though they lost they need not hang their heads in shame. They put up a brilliant fight against odds that were too great for them to overcome with sheer courage alone and they will always be remembered as the team that went into their season’s biggest game with everything against them and came out of it heroes in defeat.
Tigers Never Quit
Even partisan Canton McKinley fans who went wild with glee as their superb and powerful Bulldogs ripped their way to 4 touchdowns through the use of driving power and dazzling speed had to stop in the midst of their cheering to pay tribute to the great fighting spirit displayed by the Tigers. Those Massillon kids came out fighting at the opening whistle and they were still fighting their hearts out at the final bell, even though nearly all the breaks of the game went against them, breaks which would have taken the fight out of a team imbued with less fighting spirit than the Tigers possessed Saturday.
The victory is yours, Canton McKinley. You deserved it because you had the team – a great team in every way. We give you all the plaudits and praise that rightfully belongs to a victor. Your Bulldogs did a masterful job, a great exhibition of what a team can do when it is big, experienced and strong in every department with 2 such phenomenal performers in the backfield as Joe Pujazon and Hank Smith, All-Ohio scholastic performers without a doubt.
We gave you every credit, Canton McKinley, except this one – your powerful Bulldogs didn’t outshine our little kids when it came to courage – but courage alone could not win that ball game Saturday against a team like the Bulldogs – a team that packed too many guns and made the most of the power, speed and weight it possessed.
Last Saturday’s game marked the 49th combat between Massillon and Canton McKinley teams in the last 50 years, the first game having been played in 1894. McKinley’s triumph last Saturday now gives it a 2-game victory margin over the Tigers, the Bulldogs having won 24 of the 49 engagements with Massillon having won 22 while 3 others ended in ties.
That 27-o trouncing the Bulldogs inflicted on the Tigers was Massillon’s third defeat of the 1944 campaign, the orange and black this fall losing more games in a single season than any other Tiger team since 1932. Other outfits to conquer the 1944 Tigers were Cleveland Cathedral Latin 6-0 and Warren Harding 32-12.
Brilliant Bulldog Season
By defeating the Tigers Saturday in the golden anniversary classic Canton McKinley completed one of the most brilliant season’s in its history, winning 9 and losing but one, that to Warren Harding by a single point, 27-26.
A brilliant decade of Tiger football ran afoul of some bad breaks this fall and for the first time since 1934 an orange and black team finished far down in the list of outstanding Ohio scholastic outfits but the Tigers of 1944 need not feel too badly about this because the defeats they suffered were inflicted by aggregations which held great advantages over them in manpower, size and experience. In each of their 3 defeats they went down fighting before teams which excelled them in practically all departments of the game and the defeats would have been greater had not the Tigers possessed that superb fighting spirit which kept them in there battling to the finish, even though they were outclassed.
Although Washington high school lost 3 games this fall it still had a great and shining record on the gridiron which no other school in Ohio can match and which very few throughout the country can equal. In 100 games played since 1935 the Tigers have recorded 93 victories against 5 defeats and 2 ties. Canton McKinley has inflicted 2 of these defeats winning 35-0 in 1942. Newcastle, Pa., handed the Tigers a 7-0 reverse in 1937 and Cathedral Latin and Warren Harding joined the list of Tiger conquerors this season. The 2 ties came in games with Mansfield’s Tygers in 1937 and 1941, both by 6-6 scores.
There is this one consolation for the 1944 Tigers and local supporters of the orange and black. The Tigers will come roaring back – and before very long – to avenge the defeats sustained this year. Just keep an eye on the Tigers for the next year or two and see what happens.
No two backfield stars laden with more power and speed than Joe Pujazon and Hank Smith put on display Saturday have ever been seen in action here. Operating behind a big and powerful forward wall that outweighed the Tiger line by nearly 20 pounds to the man, the McKinley stars had nothing to do but run and how they ran! This pair of Canton aces divided the scoring honors, each tallying twice.
There was nothing particularly deceptive about the Bulldog attack. For the most part one could tell what type of play the east enders were going to use. It was either Pujazon or Smith running off the tackles or wide to the right or left ahead of powerful interference which shook them loose for frequent and brilliant long dashes down the field.
Once Smith and Pujazon were out in the open it was a man-sized job to halt them. The Tigers for the most part did a great job of smacking them down with spectacular and fierce tackling but they just couldn’t catch them all the time.
Pujazon and Smith closed their scholastic careers against the Tigers in a blaze of glory and deserve plenty of praise for the brilliant performance they put on tap. Without them the Bulldogs, even with their great advantage in weight, would have been taken apart by the Tigers as they played Saturday but Pujazon and Smith spelled the differences between victory and defeat.
Aiding and abetting Pujazon and Smith were Herm Lombardi, who did a great job backing up the line, Bob Tucci, Bob Parks, Jack Belding and Jim Rawers, towering husky pillars of strength on the line. They were big and good, these fellows and they packed too many guns for the badly outweighed Tiger line which fought tooth and nail against them all afternoon and came off second best, simply because they did not have the weight and strength to battle on even terms with the rugged Canton gains.
In all the previous games the Bulldogs, in addition to the brilliant running of Pujazon and Smith, depended to a large extent on a highly capable aerial attack to score points but forward passing availed the Cantonians nothing Saturday. The Tigers saw to that by playing a strong defensive game against aerials, covering Canton receivers like a swarm of bees and rushing Pujazon so much he had no time to display the uncanny accuracy which had characterized his passing all fall. Thus the Tigers became the first team to bottle up the Canton air attack.
There were plenty of heroes in the Tiger camp Saturday. Every boy who got into the game distinguished himself by his fierce and courageous playing but the great work of Massillon’s sturdy co-captains Bill Gable and Glenn Keller stood out prominently. Few better exhibitions of defensive playing have ever been seen than that put on tap Saturday by tow-headed Bill Gable. He smashed McKinley interference and tackled like a demon all afternoon. Keller also did a great job of backing up the line and punting.
Others standing out prominently in the Tiger performance were little Francis Cicchinelli, 135 pound guard, who hit with the force of a 200-pound battering ram, Tom Brooks and Gene Krisher, sophomore linemen, Bert Webb, Don Sedjo, Junie Pedrotty and Don McGuire who spearheaded the Massillon offensive threats, and Wilmer Luke who did a grand job of covering big Jim Rawers, who all season had been on the receiving end of most of Pujazon’s passes. Jim didn’t catch any aerials Saturday.
Breaks of the game and one or two errors in judgment hurt the Tigers and set up at least 2 Canton touchdowns and also robbed the orange and black of some fine opportunities to score. Had these breaks been in the Tigers’ favor it might have been a different ball game, despite McKinley’s apparent great advantage.
The errors the Tigers committed were plain to be seen but they were errors which any team might make and the Tigers do not rate too much censure for these blunders. Those who are inclined to criticize might well stop and ponder for a moment what they would have done under similar circumstances, particularly in the heat of such a tense battle as that one was Saturday. After all the lads who made those mistakes are just kids and their errors might have gone almost unnoticed had they been on the winning end instead of the losing.
It’s easy to find flaws when things are not going your way.
The statistics show just how powerful a ground gaining outfit the Bulldogs were Saturday. They only shaded the Tigers 11 to 8 in first downs but that does not begin to tell the story.
Where Bulldogs Held Edge
Canton McKinley’s vast superiority is revealed in the yards gained, the Bulldogs finished their afternoon’s chores with a net yardage of 345 as compared to only 132 for the Tigers. The Bulldogs had a gross yardage of 366 with a loss of 21 while the Tigers had a gross of 163 with a loss also of 21.
The orange and black gained more yards through the air than the Bulldogs but tried more than twice as many passes as the east enders. Coach Elwood Kammer’s lads tossed 18 aerials during the progress of the battle, completing 6 for 74 yards and had 3 intercepted. Canton tried 7, completing 2 for 31 yards and had 2 intercepted. Pujazon, however, was not on the tossing end of either of Canton’s completed aerials. Smith tossed both of them, one to Harold McCoy in the second quarter and the other to Bill Messenheimer late in the game.
As had been the case so often this season the Tigers found themselves in a hole early in the game and had to wage a desperate but not too successful battle in an effort to keep the Bulldogs out of pay territory.
McKinley received and on the first play of the game Pujazon running wide around his left end broke into the clear and dashed 32 yards to the Massillon 26 before being pulled to earth. The Tigers braced and Pujazon took to the air, his first attempt to hit Rawers being batted down. On his second try, which was fourth down, he tossed a long one toward Rawers but Luke leaped high into the air and grabbed the ball instead of batting it down. This was the first costly Tiger mistake as Luke was tackled on his 6 yard line. Had the ball been batted down the Tigers would have gained possession on their 27 yard line.
Then a 5-yard penalty for offside did not help them and Keller punted from behind his goal line to Pujazon who came roaring back to the Massillon 30 before being halted by this same Keller.
Bill Gable dropped Smith for a loss of 6 but Lombardi crashed through the Massillon line and rambled to the 19 before being stopped. Pujazon made it a first down on the Massillon 17 but once again the Tigers stiffened and held. Then came the first of Pujazon’s 2 touchdown dashes. Taking the ball from center Joe faded back looking for a pass receiver. Finding none he set out toward the east side line and running like a scared rabbit dashed down the sideline and across the Massillon goal for Canton’s first touchdown. Several times it seemed as if a Tiger tackler would nail him but they all missed. Smith plunged across for the extra point.
The Tigers received and Keller ripped off a 15-yard gain through right tackle. Webb made 3 and Sedjo smashed for 6 but with third down coming up the Tigers gambled on a pass instead of a ground play and it failed. The decision to attempt to pass seemed like poor judgment, particularly at that stage of the game when their line plays were clicking.
Then with a yard to go it looked as if they were going to gamble on a plunge but Coach Kammer immediately sent in a substitute with instructions to punt. All season the Tigers have gambled on making that last yard on fourth down and all season they have lost. Kammer was not ready to give Canton the ball at midfield Saturday if he could help it.
Keller then punted and Pujazon was downed on the Canton 30. A short time later the Tigers got a break when Lombardi fumbled and Dick Ielsch pounced on the ball on Canton’s 20. The Tigers worked their way to Canton’s 25 and with fourth down coming up the locals took to the air and this time they ran into a bad break. McGuire pitched a perfect strike to Webb who was out in the open but the little Tiger halfback could not hold the ball and it fell to the ground. Had he held it, it might have resulted in a touchdown.
Early in the second quarter Keller had the experience of having a punt blocked for the first time this season. Bob Parks crashed through to block the kick and McCoy covered the ball on the Massillon 13.
A Canton chance to score, however, was wiped out when Korosedes fumbled on the second play and Cicchinelli covered on his 17. The Tigers offensive was checked and Keller then punted to Smith who was dropped in his tracks on Massillon’s own 47. Canton drew a
15-yard penalty for holding, putting the ball back on McKinley’s 41 but Pujazon tossed a lateral to Smith, and the dusky Bulldog flash broke into the clear and raced to Massillon’s 24 for a 35 yard gain. Pujazon made 8 in two plays. Lombardi fumbled but recovered and then Pujazon made it first down on the Massillon 12. Pujazon’s attempted pass to Rawers was batted down but Massillon was handed a 5 yard penalty for being offside. But once again the Tigers braced and took the ball on their 6.
Again Keller punted, Pujazon being downed on the Massillon 30. Two plays later he was injured and left the game. It was then Smith tossed a pass to McCoy good for 17 yards, taking the ball to the Massillon 8. Lombardi smashed for 3 and then Smith, running wide around his right end went over by a scant few inches for Canton’s second touchdown. Canton’s attempt to run the ball over failed and the Bulldogs were leading 13-0.
Tiger Bid For Score Fails
The Tigers, however, refused to concede a thing and late in the quarter again were within scoring distance when Korosedes fumbled and Brooks covered on the Canton 27. With time running out McGuire passes successfully to Gable for 7. A Keller to Gable pass failed and then Webb tossed to McGuire for 14 yards taking the ball to the Canton 6. Keller was turned loose on a dash at right end but was thrown for a 4 yard loss as the gun sounded, ending the half.
The Bulldogs threatened to turn the game into a rout in the third period by scoring twice in quick succession, their third touchdown coming on an unbroken march of 85 yards. Getting the ball on their 30 after a Keller punt the Bulldogs were handed a 15-yard penalty for clipping. Pujazon picked up 3 yards and then Smith turned loose another of his dazzling runs, breaking into the clear and streaking down the east side line to the Massillon 40 for a gain of 42 yards before being nailed by Gable. Pujazon and Korosedes picked up 6 in 2 plays and once again Smith went into high and this time raced around his right end to the Massillon 21 for 14 yards. Pujazon and Korosedes made 9 yards in 2 tries and then Pujazon tucked the leather under his arm and sprinted around his left end for 7 yards and the third Canton touchdown. Rawers placekicked the extra point. Just one play was needed for Canton’s fourth and last touchdown.
Once again the Tigers gambled in an effort to make a yard and first down and failed, the Bulldogs getting the ball on Massillon’s 49. And once again Mr. Smith went to town in a big way with the day’s most dazzling run for 49 yards and a touchdown.
Starting out around his right end, the Bulldog ace squirmed and fought his way into the open, shaking off a flock of Tiger tacklers. Then reversing his field he darted toward the west side of the gridiron and out sped the Tigers in a sizzling dash across the goal line. Again Rawers made good on his placekick to boost the Canton total to 27.
Not So Golden
Massillon, 0 Pos. McKinley, 27
Gable LE McCoy
Ielsch LT Tucci
Cicchinelli LG Belding
Heltzel C Lilly
Brooks RG Cobett
Krisher RT Parks
Luke RE Rawers
Keller QB Lombardi
McGuire LH Smith
Webb RH Korosedes
Sedjo FB Pujazon
Score by quarters:
Bulldogs 7 6 14 0 27
Touchdowns: Bulldogs – Pujazon 2; Smith 2.
Points after touchdowns: Bulldogs – Smith (plunge); Rawers 2 (placekick).
Massillon – Clark, le; Gibson, rt; Turkall, lb; Pedrotty, fb; Giloff, qb; Cary, lh; Green, lt; Makowski, lh.
Canton – Meecham, rh; Bundy, fb; Lepore, c; Messenheimer, le.
Referee – Mobach.
Umpire – Gross.
Head Linesman – Brubaker.
Field Judge – Shafer.
Total first downs 8 11
Yards gained by rushing 89 335
Yards lost by rushing 21 21
Net yards gained rushing 68 314
Forward passes attempted 18 7
Forward passes completed 6 2
Yard gained by passing 74 31
Total net yardage,
rushing and passing 142 345
Passed had intercepted 3 2
Number of punts 6 3
Average distance of punts 36 22
Number of kickoffs 2 6
Average distance, kickoffs 27 40
Number of fumbles 1 4
Times ball lost on fumbles 1 1
Number penalties against unreadable
Yards lost on penalty unreadable
Last Meeting Of
The final regular Tiger Booster club meeting of the 1944 football season will be held this evening at 8 o’clock in Washington high school auditorium.
Coach Elwood Kammer’s report on the Tiger-Bulldog battle last Saturday will highlight the program.
The annual Tiger banquet and show will be held at Washington high school Tuesday, Dec. 5. Clark Shaughnessy, Pittsburgh Panther coach, will be the principal speaker.