1927: Massillon 15, Cleveland John Adams 19
WASHINGTON HIGH DOWNED 19 TO 15
Plucky Massillon Team Drops Game to Cleveland John Adams in Last Two Minutes
John Adams high school’s highly vaunted grid machine, was almost upset in Cleveland Saturday afternoon by what was rated as only a small obstacle in its path, Washington high school of Massillon. Adams finally won 19 to 15, but in so doing was given many severe jolts by this Massillon team, which like a mushroom, sprang in to a formidable looking football eleven overnight.
John Adams won, but had to play football and had it not been for a little bad judgment by the orange and black in the last two and a half minutes of play, there is little doubt but that the youthful Tigers would have returned to this city Saturday evening with a tie score rather than another defeat.
Yet there is little to cry over in the local gridders defeat. The few hundred Massillon fans who attended the game saw an eleven take the field that was only the remnants of the squad that started the first game on September 24, against Akron East. On the line: Dommer, Reese Price, Potts and Evans were missing, while Captain Whitey Laughlin, the teams’ most dependable ground gainer was not in uniform. Injuries and ineligibility had wrecked the team and the eleven did not have the weight that the other first stringers packed. But the subs, sent in by Coach John Atkinson, fitted into the vacant holes like swollen bungs in the old cider barrel, and the Massillon team played the Adams gridders on even terms during the first three periods and were leading, 13 to 7 at the end of the half. The local team, however, began to weaken under the strain in the fourth quarter when the Clevelanders found it easier to gain ground around the Massillon ends and pushed the winning touchdown across, with the help of a break in the game, in the closing minutes of play.
In tackling John Adams, the local gridders bumped up against a fast and well drilled team, a team that has made its defense its big boast of the year. Previous to Saturday, John Adams had played five games. In all those five contests, only five first downs were scored against the Cleveland team. Massillon, however, made the required yardage nine times Saturday, much to the surprise of the Clevelanders. The entertaining team used a deceptive end around play continually throughout the game, making many yards with sweeping runs on the Massillon flanks, coupled with short forward passes. It failed to roll back the Massillon line. The local team resorted to an open attack, using sneak plays and throwing many forward passes.
The John Adam’s coach’s bit of strategy proved disastrous to him at the start of the game when he sent his yannigans into the conflict. The “yans” didn’t last very long, however, for the youthful Tigers received, made a vicious onslaught towards the Clevelander’s goal line and Paul Briggs was across for a touchdown from the 25-yard line before the Cleveland mentor could assemble his regulars and rush them to the rescue. The score came in the first minute and a half of play.
With the regulars in, however, the Cleveland team of many nationalities began an attack from midfield that did not end until Benis had scored from the four-yard line. Cleveland attempted to pass for the extra point and it was incomplete, but the point was awarded to the John Adams gridders on a Massillon player’s interference. The first period ended with Massillon making a drive toward the John Adams’ goal line and the Cleveland team in the lead, 7 to 6. Forward passes placed the ball in a position for the local team to register its second touchdown of the game, three passes, a penalty and a nice run by Grant placing the ball on the five-yard line from where it was pushed across by Grant on three plays. Grant the dropped back and passed to Foster for the additional point. John Adams made frantic efforts to tie the score during the eight remaining minutes of the first half, but never came within striking distance of the Massillon goal and the local gridders trotted off the field, leading 13 to 7 at the close of the first half.
The Cleveland team, however, lashed out with a terrific attack in the second half of the game and scored a touchdown shortly after the opening of the third period on Dayton’s pass to the speedy Soukup who raced 20 yards over the Massillon goal line. The ball had been placed on the 20-yard line as a result of a series of end runs and passes and the touchdown climaxed a march of 60 yards. Mandula’s attempt to carry the ball across for the extra point was smothered by a flock of orange and black tacklers. The touchdown tied the score and from the following kickoff until the last 2y minutes of the game it appeared as though the fracas would end in a tie. Most of the play during this last period, however, was in Massillon territory. With only three minutes to go and the score standing at 13 to 13, the locals received the ball on a punt on their own 30-yard line. Not satisfied with a tie score, the orange and black gridders were trying frantically for another touchdown and began to toss passes in an effort to take home a victory. The first was successful and brought a gain of a few yards, but the second went into the hands of Mandula on the Massillon 40-yard line and the fleet halfback raced to the 11-yard line before he was downed. Four cracks at the Massillon line and ends netted a first down by inches, only half a yard from the orange and black goal line. Two more plays were required before Benis squirmed through for the winning points on a sneak play. Dayton’s attempted placekick was low and the extra point was lost.
The orange and black again tried to score with the forward pass but failed. The locals, however, did add two points to their total in the last minute of play through a safety which appeared intentional on the part of Koran, Adams gridder. Fox tagged Foster’s punt within a couple of yards of the Adams goal line. Adams was leading 19 to 13 and when Koran standing behind his own goal line saw his punt might be blocked by the rushing Massillon linemen, he decided to drop to the ground, rather than kick the ball, making a safety and two points for the orange and black. The Adams team was then given the ball on its 20-yard line and Koran punted out of danger as the game ended.
In first downs, Adams was superior, making the required yardage 13 times to nine times for Massillon. The local team completed five passes in 11 attempts for a total of 39 yards. Five passes were incomplete and one was intercepted. John Adams tried the aerial game 12 times, completing six passes for a gain of 30 yards. Two of Adams’ passes were intercepted by Massillon backs, while four were incomplete. The Cleveland gridders were penalized eight times for being offside. Massillon was set back but 10 yards in penalties.
Two hundred or more local fans attended the game Saturday.
John Adams – 19 Pos. Massillon – 15
Dick LE Fox
Atkins LT Geis
Baidisari LG Henderson
Danchik C Buttermore
Smudz RG Mauger
Sugarman RT Anthony
Battiator RE Straughn
Davis QB Grant
Howells LHB Foster
Finnigan RHB Andrews
Koran FB Briggs
Score by periods:
John Adams 7 0 6 6 19
Massillon 6 7 0 2 15
Adams – Hindulak for Atkins, Gideon for Baldisari, Reed for Danchik, Gaskill for Smudz, Belian for Sugarman, Serpowitz or Battiato, Benis for Davis, Mandula for Howells, Soukup for Finnigan, Dayton for Koran, Finnigan for Soukup, Miller for Gaskill, White for Reed, Koran for Dayton.
Massillon – Garland for Geis, Schnierle for Andrews, Shanabrook for Straughn, Fischer for Garland.
Touchdowns – Benis 2, Soukup, Briggs, Grant.
Points after touchdown – Mandula (Massillon foul), Foster (pass).
Safety – Koran.
Referee – Myer (Ohio Wesleyan).
Umpire – Sutter (W. & J.)
Head Linesman – Richards (Ohio Wesleyan).