1951: Massillon 40, Canton McKinley 0
Tigers Defeat Canton McKinley 40-0
Local Gridders Roll Up Biggest Score In Their Many Years Of Rivalry
By LUTHER EMERY
The dye has been cast.
The ballots will be counted tonight, and Tuesday we will know who will be recognized as the Associated Press state high school football champion for 1951.
The Washington high school Tigers wound up their campaign for the title Saturday afternoon with a convincing 40-0 victory over a hard-hitting young Canton McKinley team which had to be beaten down before it would yield multiple touchdowns to the Tiger crew.
In so doing, the Tiger team:
Won its ninth victory in 10 games this season
Rolled up the highest total made against a Canton McKinley team in the 56-game
series which started back in 1894.
Gave Massillon a 26-25 edge in the series, the first time the Tigers have held the
upper hand in games played with the Bulldogs. Five ended in tie scores.
The victory was Coach Chuck Mather’s fourth in a row over McKinley and left him with the fine record of 37 victories in the 40 games played by the local team since he took over the coaching chores here in 1948. His 1950 team was undefeated. His 1948 and 1949 teams dropped one game the same as this year’s team. Oddly enough all three losses were to fellow members of the Ohio Scholastic conference. The Tigers finished the season tied with Warren for the conference championship.
Whether the Tigers are recognized in the AP poll as champions, as they have been the last three years, will depend on the results of the balloting of sports writers and radio commentators.
The local team led the poll all year until last week when Steubenville, largely on the basis of having beaten Warren, the team that defeated Massillon, was voted into first place, three slim points ahead of the Tigers who dropped to second after squeaking through with a 6-0 victory over hitherto undefeated Barberton.
* * *
SPRINGFIELD, the No. 3 team last week and Hamilton the No. 4 team both finished their seasons with nine victories and a loss each. Springfield barely getting by Mansfield 7-0 Friday evening and Hamilton winning a close decision from Middletown 14-6 Saturday. Steubenville defeated Weirton, W. Va., an out-of-state foe, 41-0, Friday evening.
Those who had worried that McKinley’s new found spirit last week might inspire it to unprecedented heights, capable of scoring an upset, had their fears allayed early in Saturday’s game when it became apparent to everyone of the some 16,000 fans present that the Tigers had too much power for the lighter Bulldogs.
There was no denying the McKinley spirit had its effect, for Canton fans who have followed the Bulldogs all year said they never saw their team hit as hard or as full of pep as it was Saturday afternoon. It was still fighting at the end of the game, when it made its best offensive efforts of the day by twice moving inside the Tiger five-yard line. The Massillon gridders stopped them the first time, and had held them on two plays on the one-yard line the second when the gun ended hostilities for the day.
* * *
THIS DISPLAY of grit, coupled with the enthusiasm generated by students for a team that had previously won but two games out of nine, was a credit to McKinley high.
The Tigers had too much of everything for the Bulldogs as reflected in the statistics as well as the score.
The locals made 18 first downs to the Bulldogs’ five, and scored 476 net yards from scrimmage to McKinley’s 92. Only in passing were the locals stymied. They completed but one toss in 12 attempts while McKinley completed one in three.
Better receiving would have helped the Tiger pass offense, but on the other hand had the team stuck to the ground, it might have scored more touchdowns, for in every series in which the Tigers lost the ball, an incompleted pass or penalty appears.
Even so, the Massillon gridders might easily have won by two more touchdowns in addition to the points scored. They lost one when a pass was dropped in the end zone with no McKinley player in sight and another when a fine 32-yard punt return for a touchdown by John Traylor was nullified by a clipping penalty.
* * *
THE TIGERS scored the first time they came in possession of the ball. Bob Grier, going over from 10 yards out after a drive of 72 yards.
The half was within two plays of completion before they could score again. Grier running 34 yards to the 11 from which point Henry Grooms, went over for the score.
That started a string of five consecutive touchdowns which would have been stretched to six had not clipping been called on a T.D. punt return.
The Massillon offense really rolled in the third period when the locals looked like the steamrollers of old as they scored the first three times they came into possession of the ball; Grooms running 44 yards for one; Grier going 11 for another; and Tom Straughn 16 for the third.
Then came the fourth quarter and the Tigers continued their onslaught again scoring when they got the leather, Bobby Joe Johnson running 37 yards on the slickest dash of the day.
* * *
THE LOCAL team would have made it five T.D.’s in a row had clipping not been called on John Climo on Traylor’s punt return. The 15-yard penalty followed by Willard Grimsley’s pass interception got the Tigers into a hole form which they were unable to crawl out the rest of the game. Grimsley got clear back to the Massillon 21 before he was tackled and the Bulldogs successfully used a reverse to get a first down on the eight. A five-yard penalty on Massillon for delay of the game gave McKinley a first down on the three but it couldn’t penetrate pay dirt in four downs and surrendered the ball.
The Tigers got partially off the spot but lost the ball on their own 29 when they decided to complete the game without punting and failed to make three yards on fourth down.
The Bulldogs tried another reverse. Got as far as first down on the one-yard line, ran two plays, couldn’t get over and then the gun sounded.
The two goal line stands were shades of the goal-line defenses thrown up against Barberton the previous week when the Tigers successfully protected a 6-0 lead.
Coach Mather did not spare the horses for his final game of the season. He gave 35 players a taste of competition including 22 seniors who were wearing the orange and black of Massillon for the last time.
* * *
WHILE the gridiron was in better condition than most folks had expected to find it, the footing was slippery and there were many soft spots. Tiger players wore their long spikes which reduced slipping but also cut down on a gridder’s speed. The last period was played in a snow flurry so intensive that at times the players were barely visible from the press box.
We thought the officials had pulled a boner in the fourth quarter and had given McKinley five downs instead of four. However, after talking with them after the game we found the boner was on Chuck Vliet, Tiger co-captain, who took a five-yard penalty in preference to a down after a Bulldog had been thrown for a five-yard loss. In the heat of the game Chuck became a bit confused. The referee did not step off the five yards since the penalty would have placed the ball exactly where the McKinley player had been tackled. As a result everyone was confused – PA announcer included.
There was no particular celebration in the Tiger dressing room after the game. The boys appeared more concerned as to whether the score would get them any more votes in the football poll, but Coach Chuck Mather was quick to tell them that regardless of how the poll went, he personally considered them the top team in Ohio.
* * *
CANTON’S HOPES were given a shot in the arm at the very start of the game when Goodrich returned Grooms; opening kickoff 38 yards to his 47 before he was brought down to earth.
McKinley might have driven to a first down on its first series had an offside penalty not set the Bulldogs back and forced them to punt the ball rolling dead on the Tiger 28.
The Massillon team immediately launched its first touchdown drive.
Grooms carried on the first three plays and hit for two first downs on the 39 and 50. Grier hit for six and Grooms overcame a five-yard penalty to carry the ball to a first down on the Canton 39. The Tigers’ only completed pass, Paul Francisco to Dave Gable, advanced the ball another 18 to the 21. Grier and Straughn hit for a first on the 10 and Grier ripped through right tackle for the last 10 yards. Grooms kicked the extra point and it was 7-0.
* * *
THE NEXT TIME the Tigers got the ball they moved from their own 44 to the six but a clipping penalty set them back 15.
They would have made it up had Bruce Brenner, playing with a sprained ankle, been able to hold Francisco’s pass in the end zone. The ball hit him on the chest and bounced off and the Tigers forfeited on downs. To spectators it looked like an easy catch, but old football players will tell you it is one of the most difficult.
Willie Keen got the locals the ball shortly thereafter when he covered a McKinley fumble on the Bulldog 40. The Tiger wasted two downs on incomplete passes in this series and lost the ball on downs.
A five-yard penalty stopped the Tigers on their next attempt and again they forfeited the ball on downs to McKinley. They forced the Bulldogs to punt, blocked it and got the ball on the Canton 37. Again a five-yard penalty helped stop the locals causing them to lose the ball on downs.
* * *
THE SECOND period was practically over before they could get the leather again, and lost no time going the distance. They started from their 44, as Grier on first down ran to the McKinley 11, and Grooms negotiated the rest of the distance through left tackle. McKinley only had time to run one play after the kickoff.
The Bulldogs kicked to the Tigers to start the second half, Vliet being downed with the ball on his 32. Grooms rolled to his 45, Straughn carried twice for gains of two and four yards and Grier made it another first down on the Canton 44. Grooms broke through the line for a 44-yard run for the touchdown.
Holding Canton after the kickoff, Traylor was downed with Ramsayer’s punt without return. Grooms went around his left end for 26 yards and a first on the Canton 36. Straughn hit for three and Grooms for six before Grier wheeled his way through for 16 and a first down on the Bulldog 11. He went around right end on the next play for six points. Grooms missed his first kick of the game after the touchdown but the Bulldogs were offside and he made good on the second chance.
A 15-yard penalty on McKinley for roughing on the try for point, put the Bulldogs in the hole on the following kickoff and they only got out to the 10. Traylor returned Ramsayer’s punt nine yards to the Bulldog 42 and the Tigers were in motion again. Straughn hit for six, Grier for four and a first down on the 32. It was Grooms for three and one, Grier four and Grooms a first down on the 17. Grier made a yard, and Straughn the last 16 on a pretty run.
Joe Sapia gave the Tigers their next scoring opportunity when he hopped on a Canton fumble on the Bulldog 39 on the first play of the fourth quarter. Bob Johnson and Francisco moved the ball up seven yards but it came back to the 37 on a five-yard penalty which nullified a first down by Grooms. Bobby Joe cut loose, however, dashed through a hole, wheeled to the left and outraced everyone for the touchdown which proved to be the Tigers’ last.
The local team came out of the game in good condition with the exception of Dave Gable, who sustained a shoulder separation early in the contest. He was treated at the Massillon city hospital.
The line-up and summary:
ENDS – Keen, Shilling, Gable, Brenner, Sweasey, Climo, Tasseff.
TACKLES – Geiser, Rubio, Gibson, Strobel, Takacs, Kraus, Younkers.
GUARDS – Sapia, Stewart, Tunning, Grunder, Snyder, Moyer.
CENTERS – Fabian, Roderick.
QUARTERBACKS – P. Francisco, Dommer. R. Johnson.
HALFBACKS – Longshore, Khoenle, Traylor, Grier, Straughn, Williams, Nussbaum, Bob Johnson.
FULLBACKS – Grooms, Vliet.
ENDS – Gelal, Sheeler, Carter.
TACKLES – Barber, Ruble, Baren, Cole, Posey.
GUARDS – Fach, Umbles, Wilds.
CENTERS – Noel, Chezzi, Edwards.
QUARTERBACKS – Ramsayer, Albert.
HALFBACKS – Goodrich, Howard, Good.
FULLBACKS – Burke, DeYarman, Bedmarczyk.
Score by periods:
Massillon 7 7 20 6 40
Massillon – Grooms 2; Grier 2; Straughn; Bob Johnson.
Points after touchdown:
Massillon – Grooms 4 (placekicks).
Referee – Rupp.
Umpire – Tobin.
Field Judge – Smith
First downs 18 5
Passes attempted 12 3
Passes completed 1 1
Had passes intercepted 1 0
Yards gained passing 18 3
Yards gained rushing 461 129
Total yards gained 479 132
Yards lost 3 40
Net yards gained 476 92
Times kicked off 7 1
Average kickoff (yards) 42 30
Yards kickoffs returned by 2 98
Times punted 0 8
Had punts blocked 0 1
Average punt (yards) 0 25
Yards punts returned by 18 0
Times fumbled 2 3
Lost ball on fumbles 0 2
Times penalized 7 3
Yards penalized 55 21
Player Times Yards Yards Net
Carried Gained Lost Gained
Paul Francisco 1 3 0 3
Bob Grier 19 111 3 108
Tom Straughn 12 65 0 65
Henry Grooms 20 215 0 215
Lee Nussbaum 4 26 0 26
Bob Johnson 2 41 0 41
George Ramsayer 2 0 15 -15
John Goodrich 12 60 0 60
Otis Howard 12 40 23 17
Pat Burke 12 29 2 27