1944: Massillon 60, Akron West 7
Tigers Smother Akron West 60-7 In Opening Grid Tilt
BENGALS TALLY 9 SETS OF COUNTERS
Kammer’s Lads Flash Speedy, Hard Hitting Offense With Webb, Turkall And Sedjo In Spotlight; 87 Yard Dash Scores For West
By FRED J. BRICKER
A champion gains recognition as a champion because he has a certain something which makes him superior to all challengers – and that goes for football or twiddle winks. And once he gains the throne room he must retain or improve that superiority to withstand the attacks of those who would separate him from his crown. Incidentally the task of subduing a Tiger, king of jungle beasts, it seems, requires far more skill and strength than it does to subdue a steer out in the wide open spaces, so a group of so-called cowboys discovered to their sorrow Friday night.
A year ago the Tigers of Washington high school gained recognition as scholastic football champions of Ohio by emerging victorious over 10 challengers, among them the Cowboys of Akron West high school, subdued 13-6, after a wild and wooly battle.
Tigers in Auspicious Start
This year another group of ambitious Massillon youngsters, eager to defend that hard-won championship, appear determined to do an even better job in fighting to retain the state title, than did the 1943 Tigers in winning it. At least they made a very auspicious start out at Tiger stadium last night when they ran rough shod over a hapless bunch of Akron West Cowboys 60 to 7 in tilting the lid on the 1944 gridiron campaign.
Before a crowd of nearly 15,000 football-hungry spectators and in a colorful setting that only a Massillon gridiron spectacle can produce, Coach Elwood Kammer’s 1944
Tigers – and we mean all 40 of them – romped and smashed their way to one of the most convincing triumphs any orange and black outfit has ever scored in its opening engagement.
Tigers In Scoring Spree
Scoring 2 or more touchdowns in each of the 4 quarters and with substitutes – second and third stringers – being used freely and often the Tigers Friday night did about as they pleased with Coach Chuck Piotter’s invading Akronites.
But while the Massillonians romped to an easy conquest in their initial effort and might have made the score much larger had the regulars remained longer in the contest, the Tigers did not present a flawless exhibition. They made mistakes, which were to be expected. They displayed a mild case of the jitters early in the contest, which soon disappeared once they got the feel of battle. They looked definitely the part of champions most of the time but there still lies ahead of them plenty of hard work to iron out the rough spots and to develop the smooth running machine necessary if they are to sweep through all opposition as did the 1943 aggregation.
Akron West’s Cowboys have been removed from the Tigers path by an avalanche of touchdowns but the orange and black cannot rest on its opening game laurels. Those laurels will not turn back such tough customers still to be faced, formidable opponents such as Cleveland Cathedral Latin, Canton Lincoln, Warren, Steubenville, Mansfield, and lest we forget Canton McKinley where they say the Bulldogs really have something this fall. Only improved team play, which comes from hard and diligent work, will turn the trick. One swallow does not make a drink neither does one victory make a season.
One of the mistakes the Tigers made last night was to let Walter Campbell, rangy Akron West Negro halfback, pick up a kickoff late in the fourth quarter and race 87 yards down the sidelines for the Cowboys, only set of counters. It is doubtful if even a Tiger laid a hand on the galloping Campbell. They can’t do that too of often and stay up on top because points are not always going to come to the Tigers as easy as they did last night.
Either the Cowboys of 1944 are much weaker than the sturdy team of a year ago or the Tigers of 1944 are much better than the Tigers of 1943. A year ago West made the local lads fight for their lives. Last night the visiting Cowboys had practically all the life kicked out of them early, showing just one spark of fire on that long touchdown run late in the game.
Except for that one lapse, the Tigers displayed a fine and hard-to-dent defense. Akron West was never close to scoring at any other stage of the game, in fact its offense was smashed to bits on most every occasion it attempted to advance the ball into Tiger territory. Defensively the Tigers looked good both in stopping ground plays and aerial attempts and found their only trouble in halting Jack Hamm, veteran 185-pound West fullback who was always hard to stop and several times stepped off neat gains.
Tiger Offense Shines
Offensively the orange and black seemed to have everything in the book, with plenty of speed and drive and with sweeping end runs their best stock in trade. Standing out prominently in the Tigers’ offensive performance last night was the blocking. Orange and black teams for years have been noted for their effective blocking but last night’s exhibition was one of the best ever seen here. Tiger blockers mowed down would-be West tacklers like Yankee tanks mowed down Germans in a recent and historic sweep across France.
With the kind of interference Glenn Keller, Bill Gable, Don Sedjo and Junie Pedrotty put on tap last night it was easy for such gallopers as Bert Webb and Vic Turkall to roam afar and wide for handsome gains, particularly the dusky Webb who put on display a nimble pair of ankles, much to the consternation of the visiting Cowboys and to the delight of the rabid fans who thoroughly enjoyed the performance of the fleet-footed little Negro.
Outstanding in Massillon’s offensive performance was Webb’s spectacular running. Turkall’s sweeps around the end and off tackle, Don Sedjo’s hammering drives through the line and general all around ability of the Tiger co-captains, Keller and Gable, the only starting holdovers from the 1943 team.
Figures always tell the best story and the statistics of last night’s encounter prove the superiority the Tigers held over West. Coach Kammer’s lads tallied 15 first downs to West’s 4, gained a total of 330 yards from all types of play to 54 for the visitors and completed 4 passes out of 9 attempts for 43 yards while Akron failed to complete one in 11 tries and had 2 intercepted. Penalties totaling 60 yards were imposed on the Tigers while West lost 15 yards through rule infractions.
Receiving the initial kickoff the Tigers started off like veterans and swept through and around the Akronites right down the field from their 20 to well inside West’s 20 before a mild case of jitters overtook them. Keller took the opening kickoff on his 20 and ran it back to his 33. Turkall rammed off right tackle for 7 and then Webb set his twinkling tootsies into action and reeled off 37 yards in a brilliant sweep around left end. Fine blocking cleared a wide path for him and all he had to do was run – and he can do that quite well.
Mild Case Of Jitters
Turkall picked up another 7 on an off tackle plunge but here the jitters made their appearance and the Tiger march began to stall. Over anxious to nail that first touchdown quickly the Tigers began to run into offside penalties and poor ball handling with the result West stopped the Massillon march and gained the ball on its 14. But the Tigers recovered quickly and stopped the visitors and when Jack Hamm dropped back to punt Keller smashed through the line like a demon and when Hamm’s foot came in contact with the ball there was Keller.
The ball bounced off the Massillon co-captain’s chest and bounded back across the Akron goal line – and you guessed it – right there to pounce on it was this same Keller. He did it eagerly and with convincing emphasis and the Tigers’ had their first touchdown of the 1944 campaign. Turkall’s placekick was right between the uprights and the score was 7-0 Massillon.
Keller’s blocking of Hamm’s punt was the spark needed to touch off a blazing Tiger offensive and from then on Massillon points began to pile up rapidly.
A short time later Hamm succeeded in getting away a punt which Webb took and raced back from his 35 to Akron’s 44 but a Tiger was guilty of clipping and the officials slapped a 15-yard penalty on the local lads, putting the ball back to Massillon’s 36. Keller picked up 3 in a smash at the line but again the Tigers were guilty of doing something they shouldn’t and a 5-yard penalty for offside set them back to their 31. Turkall, taking the ball from Webb on a reverse, made 1 and then Webb, again wheeling around left end, clipped off a first down to the Massillon 46.
Turkall attempted a pass to Wilmer Luke, rangy Negro end, and as Luke sought to snag the ball an Akronite banged into him and the officials ruled interference on the Akron 36. It was a gain of 18 yards and sparked a touchdown drive because on the next play young Mr. Webb, taking the ball from Turkall on a reverse, swept wide around left end and behind fine blocking raced 36 yards for a touchdown. This time Turkall’s attempted place kick was wide and the count stood, Massillon 13, West. 0
Again West received and unable to go anywhere was forced to punt with Hamm booting the leather to Webb who tossed a lateral to Pedrotty as he was about to be tackled with Pedrotty being downed on Akron’s 47. Keller raced wide around Akron’s left end to the 15 but the ball was carried back and Massillon penalized 5 yards for backs in motion. Webb made 2 as the first quarter ended. Then behind a screen of good blocking Webb clipped off 21 yards to Akron’s 28 on the first play of the second quarter. Turkall clipped off 4 and Pedrotty smashed through the line to Akron’s 5 for 12 yards and a first down. Webb, racing wide around left end, dashed over for the third Tiger touchdown and Turkall boosted the Massillon total to 20 with a booming place kick.
What followed was a repetition of what had happened before. Gable kicked off. West failed to go anywhere and Hamm punted out on the Massillon 48. Right off the bat Turkall tossed a neat pass to Like, good for 26 yards, putting the ball on Akrons’ 26. It was Massillon’s first completed aerial. Webb then passed to Turkall but Vic had no molasses on his fingers and dropped the ball with a clear field ahead. One can imagine Vic said things to himself about that time. Webb then clipped off a 12-yard gain on another dash around end to Akron’s 14 and was given a well earned rest by Coach Kammer who sent young Alex Giloff, a sophomore, in to replace him.
Sedjo Rams For Score
Sedjo busted the Akron line wide open and rammed through for an 11-yard gain to the 3. Keller made 1 at the line then Sedjo smashed through for the fourth Tiger touchdown. Again Turkall added the extra point on a place kick.
Kammer took pity on the visitors and rushed in his second team, all the regulars leaving the game with the exception of Sedjo. The second stringers did not operate quite as smoothly as the varsity but they were good enough to chalk up another touchdown before the period ended. After holding the Cowboys and gaining possession of the ball on Massillon’s 43, Don McGuire heaved a pass to Jim Bishop for 15 yards but a Massillon offside nullified the gain and brought a 5 yard penalty. When McGuire again attempted to pass he waited too long to find a receiver, was hit hard by Dick Knowlton and fumbled, Knowlton recovering for West on Massillon’s 31.
The Tigers, however, again bottled up West’s offense and regained the ball on their 31. Again the Tiger march was stalled and Dan Byelene got off a neat punt, Massillon’s first, to Akron’s 31. Hamm then was on the tossing end of an Akron attempted aerial. He heaved it far out to his left with not an Akronite within a city block.
Zeller Snags Pass, Scores
But Jack Zeller, Tiger sophomore end, was there and neatly snagged the ball and leisurely romped 25 yards unmolested for a touchdown. In fact the Cowboys seemed to be off in the next county at the moment, that far away from Zeller did they appear. Byelene carried the ball over for the extra point and when the gun sounded for half time a short time later the Tigers were leading 34-0.
The regulars came back into the ball game at the start of the third period and it was not long before the orange and black scoring machine was again in motion.
West received and Campbell picked up 9 at right end and Hamm plunged for a first down, but on the next play the Akron plunger fumbled and Webb took charge of the leather on Massillon’s 40. Turkall steamed wide around his right end and was run out on Akron’s 45 after a 15-yard gallop. Then Webb again set his fleet dogs into motion and racing wide around left end galloped to Akron’s 27 only to fumble but Pedrotty was right there to fall on it and the gain was good for 18 yards. The Tigers were sweeping the ends like a forest fire sweeping through a pine forest.
Turkall picked up 6 on another wide sweep and Pedrotty sneaked through left tackle for a first down on Akron’s 15. Webb did some more end sweeping and was run out on the 10. Turkall did it around the other end and made it a first down on the 5.
Then to make the picture different Pedrotty hammered through the line to the 4, Turkall picked up half a yard and on a quarterback sneak went over for touchdown No. 6. Vic placekicked, successfully for the extra point, making it 41-0.
Maybe this tale of Massillon scoring is getting monotonous but there’s still more to come.
This time on the kickoff, however, it was a bit different. Gable hoofed the ball down the field and Roland Black fumbled when hit by a flock of Tiger tacklers. Fred bonk covered for Massillon on Akron’s 40. Turkall passed to Pedrotty for 3 but his next attempt to Bob Clark was wide. Webb took a lateral from Pedrotty and tore off a first down to Akron’s 29. Turkall picked up 6 at right end and then Webb on another one of those Tiger sizzling sweeps, raced wide around left end and 23 yards for Massillon’s 7th touchdown. Again Turkall converted via placekick and the scoreboard read Massillon 47, Akron West 0.
Second Stringers Back In
Once again Kammer relented and replaced his regulars with the second team, but still the Massillon scoring did not stop. Near the end of the third period Akron West’s offense backfired when a bad pass from center rolled into the open where Zeller pounced on the ball on Akron’s 28. McGuire and Paul Cary picked up 7 in 2 tries before the quarter ended and on the third play in the fourth period, McGuire tossed a pass to Sedjo who put down his shoulders and rammed through the visitors for 26 yards and touchdown No. 8. This time Cary placekicked successfully for the additional point and it was 54-0 Massillon.
Again a West fumble paved the way for Massillon’s 9th and final touchdown. The Tigers covered the ball on Akron’s 26. With Sedjo and Ted Makowski hammering away at the line the ball soon was deep in Akron territory and Sedjo recorded his third touchdown of the game on a smash from the 3 yard line.
He attempted to placekick but his effort was wide and the score stood 60-0.
Now we finally come to something different. Gene Krisher kicked off and Walt Campbell snagged the leather on his 13. He started off like a house afire down the west sideline and brother he remained ablaze all the way down the field romping by Tiger after Tiger until he had covered 87 yards and cored for his badly battered team. He was given some good interference to help him over a few rather bad spots. Hamm passed to Bob Tinsley for the additional point and West at least had 7 points to show Akron fans today for all their black and blue spots.
After that Akron touchdown Kammer relented some more and cleaned the bench sending in the third team, the sophomore aggregation, which had played a practice game against Lorin Andrews Thursday afternoon. The sophs didn’t score but they didn’t look too bad. Neither did Akron West score any more and the game wound up a short time later with the final count 60-7.
Well not so bad for a starter but looking ahead a bit – its Cleveland Cathedral Latin here next Friday night and the Latins are scholastic champions of Cleveland. No resting on your laurels Tigers!
Tigers – 60 Pos. Akron West –7
Clark LE Dales
Ielsch LT Knowlton
Heltzel LG J. Conn
Bonk C Manos
Gable RG Bevington
Gibson RT Azar
Luke RE Taylor
Keller QH Tinsley
Webb LH R. Black
Turkall RH Campbell
Sedjo FB Hamm
Score by quarters:
MASSILLON 13 21 13 13 60
Akron West 0 0 0 7 7
Massillon – Keller; Webb 3; Sedjo 3; Zeller; Turkall.
Akron West – Campbell.
Points after touchdown:
Massillon – Turkall (placekick) 4; Byelene (plunge); Cary (placekick).
Akron West – Tinsley (pass from Hamm)
Massillon – Pedrotty, fb; Giloff, rh; Bishop, re; Weekes, lt; Cicchinelli lg; Krisher, c; Brooks, rg; Green, rt; Zeller, re; Edie, qb; Makowski, lh; McGuire, rh; Byelene, rh; Darrah, re; Schumacher, rt; Uliveto, rg; Dowd, c; Piper, lg; Young, lt; Featheringham, le; Yost, qb; Zorger, fb; Schuwagler, rh;Ceckler, rt.
Akron West – Heckt, rg; Howard, qb; Elias, re; Hentz, le; Reichel, qb; Fry, rt.
Referee – Gross.
Umpire – Rupp.
Head Linesman – Grof.
Field Judge – Jenkins.
Total first downs 15 4
Yards gained by rushing 287 54
Yards lost by rushing 0 13
Net yards gained by rushing 287 41
Forward passes attempted 9 11
Forward passes completed 4 0
Yards gained by passing 43 0
Total net yardage
Rushing and passing 330 41
Passes had intercepted 0 2
Number of punts 2 5
Average distance of punts 34 25
Punts blocked 0 1
Number of kickoffs 8 1
Average distance of kickoffs 37 48
Number of fumbles 5 5
Times ball lost on fumbles 1 5
Number of penalties against 8 3
Yards lost by penalties 60 15