1947: Massillon 0, Canton McKinley 14
Canton McKinley Too Strong For Tigers, Wins 14-0
Massillon Gridders Go Down Fighting Before Heavier Bulldog Eleven
By LUTHER EMERY
The Washington high Tigers were putting their grid togs in moth balls today after having sustained their fourth defeat of the 1947 campaign in the season’s finale with Canton McKinley Saturday afternoon before an overflow Fawcett stadium crowd of more than 24,000.
The Bulldogs outmanned the Tigers to win 14-0 but the latter went down fighting after a series of disheartening breaks cut short their every offensive effort. It was the 25th triumph for McKinley in 52 games between the schools. Massillon has won 22 and five ended in tie scores.
The Tiger defeat wrote new modern history for a Massillon football team. It was the first time since 193 that a team had lost four games in a season; it was the first time the Bulldogs had ever succeeded in beating the locals in five games played at Fawcett stadium, and it was the first time a Tiger team had failed to score at least one touchdown in 20 games.
Yet the Massillon gridders gave a better account of themselves Saturday afternoon than most Tiger fans had expected. Out weighed both on the line and in the backfield, they forced the Bulldogs to fight for every yard, gave ground stubbornly, and never gave up until the final gun ended hostilities.
McKinley was distinctly the better team and nobody will try to take any glory away from the red and black for the triumph. It only made one more first down than the Tigers, which were nine to eight, but the net yardage was 243 for Canton to 103 for the local team.
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THE BULLDOGS scored twice, the first time in the closing minutes of the first period when John Colceri scampered around right end for the last four yards and the second when Slippery Ray Hamilton eluded a Tiger substitute and raced 15 yards over the locals’ goal in the opening minutes of the fourth period.
The Bulldogs were stymied on three other occasions inside the 20-yard line while the Tigers made but one serious bid, that coming in the second period when Clarence Johnson fumbled and lost the ball on the Canton five-yard line.
The Tigers pinned their offensive hopes on the forward pass, but Coach “Bup” Rearick had anticipated the Massillon bombing attack and had drilled his team all week in aerial defense. As a result McKinley intercepted more passes than the Tigers completed, the interceptions halting the locals’ offense on no fewer than seven occasions.
Even so, the Tigers passing attack was a constant threat, and better thrown passes on two occasions would have scored Massillon touchdowns for the receivers were in the open.
However, McKinley likewise had an opportunity to score two touchdowns via the same route but muffed the opportunities when the receivers dropped the ball.
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IN DEFEAT, the Tigers produced two outstanding players Saturday in Co-Captains Earl Johnson and Morrie Eberhardt. Their performances were an inspiration to fans in the stands, both friend and foe alike. It was Eberhard’s best game of his scholastic career which ended with the expiration of the fourth quarter. It was also the last for Earl Johnson, Ronald Willaims, Paul Olenick, Julius Wittmann, John Badarnza, Gene Schludecker, Bill Edie, and Eddie Farrie. The other 25 members of the squad will be back again next fall.
The Tigers who had predicted their offense on an open brand of football found a slippery field awaiting them when they arrived in Canton despite efforts to protect the gridiron with a tarpaulin. Pools of water flooded portions of the field which for the most part was greasy.
The team emerged from the game without serious injury, Williams getting a cut on the forehead and Ben Roderick a charley horse. The same could not be said for the Bulldogs, whose center, Ed Pucci was the victim of an unfortunate accident in the second quarter which resulted in a fracture of the left leg. He was carried from the field. The accident occurred during a scramble for a Massillon fumble which McKinley covered on its
five-yard line to end Massillon’s only serious scoring threat.
The game as a whole was cleanly played.
Bulldog luck prevailed from the start when the red and black won the toss and elected to receive. Clarence Johnson kicked off and Hamilton returned form his 13 to the 30 where he was tackled by Earl Johnson. When three downs netted only six yards, Hamilton kicked to Dick Jacobs who was tackled without return on his 38.
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TWO INCOMPLETE passes and a three-yard running play forced Jacobs to punt on fourth down to the Canton 15-yard line. The Bulldogs charged back to score their first, first down of the game on a 16-yard run by Hamilton, but the Tigers braced and held on the next series forcing Hamilton to punt. He kicked to the 17-yard line where the ball rolled dead, and Jacobs returned the kick when three plays netted nothing. Hamilton catching the ball on the Tiger 45 and returning to the 35. The Bulldogs launched their first touchdown drive from this point. Eli Popa hit for a yard and Rogers flipped a pass over the center to Nick Stevenson who got to the 17. Hamilton picked up three and Wetzel in two drives reached the six-yard line. Wetzel and Hamilton had only made a yard each when Colceri entered the game as a substitute. On the first play he was tossed a lateral and he went around right end standing up. Hamilton carried over for the extra point and the score was in McKinley’s favor
Jacobs brought the kickoff back to the 32 and made a brilliant catch of Hill’s pass for a first down on the Bulldogs 39-yard line just as the first period ended.
Johnson fired a long pass that had a bit too much arch and was too slow reaching Jacobs who was 10 yards behind any Canton player. The Bulldog secondary, however had time to get to the ball and bat it down just as it was about to nestle into Dick’s hands. On the next play, Popa intercepted Hill’s pass on the 18 and McKinley moved the ball to his 44 where Eberhardt broke through to smear Rogers on a handoff and covered the fumble on the Bulldog 39. Hill tossed to Earl Johnson for a first down on the 10-yard line. A second pass was incomplete. Clarence Johnson bored through to the five-yard line where he fumbled when tackled and Hamilton covered for McKinley. Pucci fractured his left leg on this play. Having gained but six yards in three downs Hamilton kicked to Jacobs who came back to the Canton 42 on a six-yard return. The Tigers were thrown back a yard in three tries and Jacobs kicked out on the Bulldog 25.
The Bulldogs got back to the 45 where Hamilton was forced to punt, the ball going out on the Tiger seven. The Tigers rushed back to their 33, but a pass over the line was intercepted by Nick Stevenson who got back to the 28. The Bulldogs had time left in the half to toss but one pass and it was grounded, so the half ended with Canton leading 7-0.
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THE TIGERS were penalized 15 yards on the second half kickoff to their own seven-yard line. Hill attempting to pass on second down was bottled up and ran with the ball to a first on his 26. Wetzel intercepted Hill’s pass on second down and got back to the Massillon 14, but the Tigers braced and took the ball on the nine where the Bulldogs’ fourth down pass was dropped by Nick O’Brovac for what might have been a touchdown.
Their offense stopped again by McKinley, the Tigers punted to the 33 and the Bulldogs got back to the 21 where the Tigers braced and held again. Here they executed their best play of the game when Hill tossed into the flat to Roderick and the latter pitched a lateral to Brown who raced down the sideline to the Canton 42. The last Bulldog tackler managed to tick Al enough to cause him to lose his balance and fall, otherwise he would have went the route. Clarence Johnson got loose on the next play and ran to the Canton 20 where he was caught from behind, but the threat ended when Stephenson intercepted Hill’s second down pass on the 16. The Tigers only yielded three yards on four downs and Hamilton punted to Brown who fumbled the ball, picked it up, but was thrown without a return, on his 34 as the third quarter ended.
Colceri intercepted Hill’s third down pass and got back to the Tiger 35. The Tigers were penalized five yards for too many times out and Hamilton went for a first down on the 15. On the next play, he circled his left end for a touchdown, and Colceri carried the ball over for the extra point.
On the first play after the kickoff which Johnson brought back to the 33, Hill passed to Earl Johnson who caught the ball along the sideline and nearly broke away before he was tackled from behind. He fumbled going down and McKinley covered on it own 48. A 15-yard clipping penalty set the Bulldogs back, but aided by a 47-yard dash by Hamilton they moved the ball to the Tiger 12 where the locals threw them back and took the ball on the 13.
A 15-yard penalty on McKinley for unnecessary roughness moved the ball forward for the Tigers but Popa took it away from them when he intercepted Hill’s pass on his 45. The Bulldogs got back to the Massillon 36 where Paul Olenick covered Hamilton’s fumble, but the Tigers were thrown backward trying to pass and Canton took over on fourth down on the 18-yard line. Once more the local team rose to the occasion and stopped the red and black on the 12 but the game ended three plays later with the interception of Clarence Johnson’s pass.
The Tigers’ record for the season shows six victories and four defeats. Other losses were administered by Cleveland Latin, Warren, and Barberton.
McKinley wound up the year with nine victories and a one point loss to Canton Lincoln, that beat the Bulldogs out of the state championship claim. As it is Canton Lincoln is Canton city champion, McKinley is Stark county champion and possible runner-up to Barberton for the state title.
MASSILLON POS. McKINLEY
E. Johnson LE O’Brovac
Eberhardt LT Austin
Williams LG John Kostas
Olenick C Pucci
Houston RG Jim Koslaw
Wittmann RT Warren
Roderick RE Stevenson
Hill QB Rogers
Jacobs LH Wetzel
Brown RH Hamilton
C. Johnson FB Popa
Score by periods
McKinley 7 0 0 7 14
Substitutions: Massillon – Takacs, fb; Badarnza, qb; Resh, lh; McVay, c; Morrow, lg; Farris, rg; Studer, le; Schludecker, le.
McKinley – Colceri, lh; Byers, g-c; D. Weber, g; Ghezzi, g; Moreno, fb.
McKinley – Colceri; Hamilton.
Points after touchdown:
McKinley – Hamilton; Colceri (carried).
Referee – Lobach
Umpire – Brubaker.
Head Linesman – Jenkins.
Field Judge – Shafer.