1929: Massillon 0, Akron East 6
Green Washington High “11” Loses First Duel To Akron East
RUBBER CITY YOUTHS SCORE TOUCHDOWN IN NEAR CLOSE OF GAME
By LUTHER EMERY
Stirred by the general realization that it was their first football game, of the season, and urged on by a thousand anxious Massillon fans, a sturdy little group of orange and black grid warriors plugged away with all their might against Akron East Saturday afternoon; but were not equal to the task and went down fighting under a 6 to 0 score.
Under a warm September sun, the two teams battled each other fiercely in the opening game of the season for each. It might have been too hot for football had it not been for the crisp northwesterly wind that brushed over the field throughout the game, but the cool breeze only served to whet the pangs for grid conquests and envelope both players and fans in a football atmosphere.
Flash at Times
Green, with the exception of a couple of seeds in the core, the Massillon eleven would flash brilliantly one time and then look like a group of grade school boys on the next play. Yet, in spite of the defeat and the mediocre showing at times, the play of the Tigers gave evidence that Coach Elmer McGrew has the making of a winning eleven before the end of the year.
The lack of understanding which goes hand in hand with inexperience, coupled with the only penalty of the game, defeated the youthful Tigers.
Simple but deceptive, the Massillon youngsters were unable to diagnose a spin play staged by the Orientals in their victorious march to a touchdown in the fourth period.
Spin Play Deceptive
Time and again Ostravitch or Fontaine playing near the line of scrimmage, whirled around as if to hand the ball to one of their teammates but completed the circle and carried the ball directly through the center of the line, the interference wiping out the remaining members of the Massillon defense who were not fooled by the fake passes to other backs.
That spin play gained most of East’s yards, but even then the Orientals might not have scored were it not for a 15-yard penalty, the only one of the entire game called on the Tigers for piling up when it was third down with six yards for the Orientals to go for a first down and the ball on Massillon’s 38-yard line.
That penalty seemed to take all the fight out of McGrew’s boys and their resistance was meager when East reeled off the remaining 23 yards on six attempts. Fontaine carried the ball across for the touchdown, but his attempted drop kick for the extra point was wide.
But the Tigers rallied and hearts thumped wildly the next couple of minutes when the hopes of the Massillon fans rose and fell with a brilliant dash of Clendening into East territory, but the run ended for naught when he fumbled when tackled and East recovered. Two plays netted East a first down and right then and there the Tigers got their break of the game, a fumble, but it all came too late, for the final whistle blew before the play could be returned.
The last dash of the orange and black was something Massillon fans, who have been watching the Tigers in their pre-season training, expected to see earlier in the game. But although it came late, it gave promise of something that is liable to occur many times this season if the line will only break up the opponent’s defense and stake the backs to a broken field.
Line Lacks Drive
The offense worked fairly smooth Saturday but it couldn’t get underway for the superior charging of the Orientals’ forward wall. The Tiger linemen lacked the drive to push back the front backs of the Akron school with the result that the Massillon backs had difficulty carrying the ball beyond the line of scrimmage.
One thing that can be said in favor of the Massillon boys is that they are in great condition. Time was not called out once for injuries, while East had time taken out several times in order to recuperate members of the team. Of all the Akron players, probably none was roughed more than Sherman Grimm, a second stringer at Washington high two years ago. Grimm, who moved to Akron a year ago, played the role of fullback and did a neat job of punting and tackling for his team. He took time out twice however as a result of bumps received. He had an edge over Kester and Clendening in the punting; Kester having his first kick blocked since he began playing with Washington high.
Long Pass Features
The feature play of the game, as far as Massillon was concerned, was a 30-yard forward pass, Clendening to Toles, in the second period that enabled the Tigers to carry the ball deep into Akron territory. On that occasion the local eleven worked the ball by their own ability to the opponent’s 18-yard line, where it was lost on downs when a pass that just reached Worthington’s fingertips was grounded. Had it been successful it would have resulted in a first down for the Tigers.
East excelled in first downs, making the required yardage 10 times to the local team’s four. Seven of the Akron boys’ 10-yard gains were made in the last half. The Tigers made three first downs in the second period and one in the fourth.
East failed to complete a forward pass while the local team completed one for 30 yards. Both teams had three passes incomplete and one intercepted.
Massillon fans are still looking for football as can be seen from the fact that 1,000 of them were scattered among the 2,500 spectators at Saturday’s game. Considering the fact that only a couple of members of this year’s team are seniors, the hopes of the fans for another winning high school team may be realized.
The game was the first in which the school’s new system of appointing a captain before each game was put into effect, and John Kester was honored as leader Saturday.
Willison was downed with the kickoff on his own 30-yard line. Clendening failed to gain and a bad pass lost five yards. Kester booted the ball to midfield. Fontaine gained five yards, and two tries by Ostravitch gained but three more. Grimm punted to the 10-yard line, Worthington fumbled the ball, but recovering it and returning 10 yards. Clendening and Worthington each cut off a yard and Kester kicked the ball back to midfield, Knowlton dropping Ostravitch in his tracks. Grimm made a yard, Ostravitch eight, and then Fontaine worked a spin play for a first down on the Tigers’ 39-yard line. Ostravitch wheeled through right tackle for seven yards, but Fontaine failed to gain and a pass was incomplete after which Grimm punted to Clendening who returned the ball to the 18-yard line. Kester returned the kick to the Akron 40-yard line where Ostravitch muffed the ball but recovered without return. Fontaine lost three yards on two cracks at the line and Kester went high into the air to pull down Fontaine’s pass on the Massillon 32-yard line. Clendening gained two yards and then the dusky youth caught the Akron boys asleep and punted to the East 18-yard line, where the period ended.
Fontaine picked up two yards and Grimm punted to Massillon’s 30-yard line, Worthington returning 10 yards. Houriet picked up a yard and then Clendening hurled a pass to Toles that brought a first down on East’s 30-yard line. Worthington gained four yards, but Clendening slipped and fell on an off tackle dash without gain. He shortened the distance by four yards on the next play, however, which paved the way for Houriet to slip through for a first down on Akron’s 20-yard line. Clendening got but two yards on his next two attempts and his pass to Worthington on third down just touched the latter’s finger tips. The Tigers lost the ball when Clendening failed to gain on the next play.
Grimm made four yards and Fontaine’s spin play brought four more. Ostravitch broke away for a run of 14 yards giving Akron a first down on the Akron 40-yard line. Grimm and Fontaine picked up but two yards on the next two plays, and Grimm then punted to Clendening who returned 20 yards to his own 40-yard line. Clendening got two yards, Houriet four yards at left tackle, Worthington three yards, and then Houriet made it first down on East’s 48-yard line. Clendening and Worthington reeled off eight yards in two attempts, but Clendening’s pass was high, after which he punted short and out of bounds on East’s 31-yard line. Lindsay and Mitchell made nine yards and then Fontaine slipped away for a run of 22 yards, but he fumbled when tackled and Clendening recovered for Massillon. Houriet gained four yards as the half came to an end.
Clendening kicked off to East’s 35-yard line. Grimm punted to Clendening who was downed on Massillon’s 30-yard line. Worthington and Williams each bucked the line for two yards, and Kester punted back to East’s 38-yard line. Mesko got a yard but Grimm failed to gain. Grimm punted to Clendening who returned to his own 40-yard line. Clendening lost a yard on a double pass, and Mitchell pulled down a Massillon pass on Akron’s 42-yard line. Fontaine gained 15 yards through right tackle. Grimm failed to gain but Mitchell reeled off eight yards on two charges at the line. Fontaine’s pass was incomplete and the Tigers took the ball on downs on their own 32-yard line. Kester immediately punted to East’s 39-yard line. Mitchell returning to the 44-yard line. Mitchell and Fontaine made seven yards and Mitchell slipped through for a first down on the local’s 48-yard line. Fontaine was tossed for a loss of three yards. Grimm punted to Clendening who returned to the 35-yard line. Clendening’s pass was high and Kester’s punt was blocked by Thomas; Fontaine recovering on the Tigers’ 38-yard line, where the quarter ended.
Fontaine and Ostravitch failed to gain and a pass was knocked down. Grimm punted out of bounds on Massillon’s nine-yard line. Kester returned the kick to Akron’s 48-yard line. Ostravitch gained two yards and lost a half yard in two plays. Fontaine however slipped through for seven yards on a spin play and then repeated for a first down on the Massillon 41-yard line. Fontaine gained three yards and the Tigers were penalized for piling up, giving East the ball on the 23-yard line. Fontaine gained four yards on a spin, and Ostravtich made it first down on the 12-yard line. Fontaine made three more yards and then Ostravitch cut in through right tackle for a first down on the two-yard line. Ostravitch failed to gain, but Fontaine went over for the touchdown. His try for point drop kick went wide of the uprights.
Pfister took the kickoff and was downed on his own 40-yard line. Kester circled left end for seven yards, Williams failed to gain at center, Kester executed a beautiful lateral pass to Clendening who dashed to Akron’s 35-yard line where he fumbled, East recovering. Ostravitch gained three yards, and Fontaine raced the ball back for a first down on his own 48-yard line. East fumbled on the next play, and Massillon recovered but the game ended before play could be resumed.
Lineup and summary:
Akron East Position Massillon
Brubaker LE Toles
Miller LT Willison
Gillespie LG Pfister
Thomas C Lewis
Pudelka RG Herman
Chenoweth RT Blatz
Mowery RE Knowlton
Fontaine QB Worthington
Ostravitch LHB Clendening
Mesko RHB Houriet
Grimm FB Kester
Score by periods:
Akron East 0 0 0 6 6
Massillon 0 0 0 0 0
Akron East – Tarbox for Miller; Ferguson for Mowery; Bennett for Gillespie; Mitchell for Ostravitch; Lindsay for Grimm; Mowery for Ferguson; Grimm for Lindsay; Ostravitch for Mitchell.
Massillon – Williams for Houriet; Houriet for Knowlton; Price for Herman; Herman for Price; Rice for Worthington.
Akron East – Fontaine.
Time of periods – 12 minutes.
Referee – Michaels.
Umpire – Young.
Head Linesman – Kester.