1945: Massillon 0, Canton McKinley 0
Tigers And Bulldogs Battle To Scoreless Draw In Mud
Morningstar’s Warriors Hold Edge In Statistics, Twice Threaten To Score
By FRED J. BECKER
Last Friday was a swell day – lots of sunshine and a balmy temperature that made you want to be outdoors. Sunday was another fine day – bright sunshine and enough snap in the air to make it just right for a football game. But Saturday was a lousy day – positively lousy. And of course that had to be the day the Washington high school Tigers and the Canton McKinley Bulldogs got together at Fawcett stadium, Canton, to stage their annual football rumpus – the 50th meeting between the two schools since 1894.
And who won! Why the weatherman with his showers and overcast skies and the ankle deep mud that covered most of the Fawcett stadium gridiron. As far as the Tigers and the Bulldogs were concerned the weatherman’s soaking showers that turned the gridiron, shy of grass between the 25 yard lines, into a sea of mud and water put quite a check on their best offensive efforts with the result that neither team was able to score and this 50th meeting between Stark county’s traditional scholastic football enemies ended in a scoreless draw.
Five Victories and Five Ties
For the Tigers that 0 to 0 encounter with the Bulldogs gave them a unique record for the 1945 campaign – five victories against five ties – but it wrote into Massillon’s football history the chapter of another undefeated season for the orange and black. For the Bulldogs it was their second tie in 10 games with seven victories and a lone defeat at the hands of Warren Harding.
Despite the rain, which turned the gridiron into a mass of slippery mud and water this annual encounter between the Tigers and Bulldogs was fought with all the intense rivalry that has marked past battles and a capacity crowd of more than 22,000 partisan spectators braved a drizzling rain and murky atmosphere to be on hand for what has become one of the country’s outstanding schoolboy football games.
Typical Tiger – Bulldog Battle
Although the lads out their on the field, were put at a disadvantage by the elements and poor condition of the gridiron it did not keep them from battling their hearts out in true Massillon-Canton fashion. Soaking wet and covered from head to foot with a generous coating of mud after the first few plays the Tigers and Bulldogs battled it out in 48 minutes of intense warfare and then trudged off the field tired and dirty but with honors even as far as the score was concerned.
It was too bad the game could not have been played in good weather and on a firm, fast gridiron. A much different and much more spectacular encounter might have resulted for both the Tigers and Bulldogs were primed for Saturday’s melee and despite the handicaps they faced they still put on tap a performance that will rank with other Massillon-Canton McKinley football scraps for hard, determined fighting.
Faced with treacherous footing and a ball that was as slippery as an eel, neither team took many chances with tricky plays or forward passes. Straight football predominated throughout, both teams resorting to this type of warfare to guard against fumbles which would give their opponents a break and a scoring chance.
Although the game ended in a scoreless draw and supporters of the Tigers and Bulldogs must be content this year with a division of the spoils, there are still many who believe that on a hard, dry field the Tigers might have proved themselves superior to their old rivals. Even in the mud and water the Tigers impressed their followers by their hard driving offense and their stonewall defense which very effectively bottled up a much heavier and more powerful Canton McKinley outfit.
The game ended in a tie but the statistics once again favor the Tigers as they did in all their four other ties with the exception of that 6-6 encounter with Cleveland Cathedral Latin.
Statistics Favor Tigers
Statistics, however, do not win ball games but it is satisfying to know that the Tigers outplayed the Bulldogs last Saturday afternoon even though neither team scored.
In first downs the Tigers had a 10 to 7 advantage over the east enders.
In yards gained the Tigers also held a decided edge. Coach Augie Morningstar’s fighting youngsters had a gross yardage of 200 with a loss of 16 for a net of 184 while the Bulldogs had a gross of 143 with a loss of 20 for a net of 123.
Neither team took many chances with the forward pass. Massillon tried three and completed one for 12 yards. Canton completed one for four yards. Fumbles were at a minimum in despite the slippery going. The Tigers fumbled twice and both times lost the ball. McKinley also fumbled twice but recovered each time.
The Tigers dominated play in the first half and twice drove inside McKinley’s 15-yard line but each time the Bulldogs stiffened and checked the Massillon scoring threat. The Bulldogs held the upper hand throughout a large part of the second half but they made only one serious bid to score, that coming in the fourth quarter but the Tigers were equal to the occasion and took the ball away from the red and black on downs on the Massillon 19.
The Bulldogs might have become tough to handle in the third period when they completed a long forward pass that took the ball to the Tiger 20 but the play was called back and the gain wiped out because McKinley’s backfield was in motion.
16 Tigers See Action
Sixteen Tigers got a chance to soak up some of the mud and water that covered the gridiron while Canton McKinley made but two substitutions, Pete Spera at an end and Bob Jordan at a guard.
Alex Giloff started the game at right halfback for the Tigers but was hurt in the first period and replaced by Don McGuire. Steve Tomasevich and Tommy Brooks alternated at right guard. Jim Young went in at right tackle late in the game when Merle Darrah was hurt and Gene Krisher moved over to center. Jim Bishop replaced Captain Fred Bonk at right end with less than two minutes of play remaining. Dan Byelene was in the game a short time, replacing Webb for a few minutes.
Although the Bulldogs had two work horses in their backfield – Duane Fondren at left halfback and Ralph Pucci at fullback – who gave the Tigers plenty of trouble throughout the afternoon, the orange and black defense as a whole was magnificent throughout the entire game.
Fondren and Pucci ran and plunged their way for most of Canton’s yardage but they were slapped around plenty by the Tigers who gave another outstanding exhibition of brilliant defensive play and hard, accurate tackling.
Offensively the running of Bert Webb high lighted the Tigers’ bid to score. Although he had been in the hospital most of last week with a severe cold, Webb was by far the fastest man on the field Saturday and despite the sticky mud he ran the legs off the Bulldogs in addition to playing a stellar defensive game in the Massillon secondary. His speed several times enabled him to nail Canton ball toters who managed to smash their way through the line and seemed headed for plenty of yardage until Webb caught up with them and dumped them into the mud.
Sharing offensive honors with Webb were McGuire and Gene Zorger, both of whom hammered their way through the Canton line for many gains. Each of them broke loose for at least one long gain and they might have turned the tide of battle had they been on firmer footing.
The Tigers had plenty of fine blocking and interference for ball carriers Saturday with Virgil Edie doing a lot of fine blocking. Giloff also cut down his share of Cantonians while he was in the game.
The entire Tiger line from end to end played its usual stellar game. True the boys were so smeared with mud it was difficult to recognize them but this did not keep them from doing a good job of smearing the heavier and bigger Bulldogs.
Tiger Line Shines
Captain Fred Bonk, playing his last game for the Tigers, and Jack Zeller, starting his first game since he broke a toe three weeks ago, were in the ball game every minute, playing their usual steady and highly efficient game. Bernie Green, another senior, and Gene Krisher, sturdy junior, had a lot to do with stopping the bullet rushes of Pucci and Fondren while Tony Uliveto, a junior, played the entire game at left guard and turned in a fine afternoon’s work. Steve Tomasevich, a senior, and Tommy Brooks, a junior, handled the right guard berth in good shape and Merle Darrah, another junior, played his usual brilliant game at center until forced to the sideline late in the struggle with an injured leg.
Jim Young, a junior, who went to right tackle when Krisher took over Darrah’s duties at center, also got his share of tackles. In the backfield the game was the last for Webb, McGuire and Edie.
Fondren and Pucci were Canton’s outstanding ground gainers while Bill Messenheimer at left end, Bob Cobbet at left tackle and Clarence Snyder at right guard played fine defensive games.
With Saturday’s game a tie, the fourth played between the two old foes in 51 yards, the series stands at 24 victories for McKinley and 22 for Massillon. Saturday’s scoreless draw was the first played since 1926. Other ties occurred in 1913 when they battled to a 13-13 deadlock and in 1907 when the game also ended in a scoreless deadlock.
The Tigers made the first of their two bids to score early in the first quarter when after receiving the kickoff they reeled off four first downs in succession and drove to Canton’s 13 before being halted.
Zorger took Bob Lilly’s kickoff and raced it back to the Massillon 41. On a weak side reverse Webb picked up seven yards around left end before being run out on Massillon’s 48. Zorger then crashed through the line to Canton’s 48 for a first down. Webb came right back and skirted his right end for 11 and another first down. Meacham nailed Giloff without gain at left end but Zorger picked up three through the line and then Webb broke through left tackle and scampered to the Canton 27 for another first down. He picked up another two yards through the same spot and then Giloff reeled through left tackle and smashed to Canton’s 14 before being downed. This gave the Tigers their fourth first down in a row.
Bulldogs Held On 13
But here this Bulldog defense stiffened. Webb was thrown for a three-yard loss on another attempted weak side reverse and Giloff was stopped without gain but Zorger smashed through for give to get up to the 13 before being downed. With fourth down coming up and eight to go Webb was smeared for a five yard loss and the Bulldogs took over on their 17.
With Fondren and Pucci lugging the ball the Bulldogs smashed right up the field for a pair of first downs before the Tigers succeeded in checking them and Fondren punted.
The Tigers made little progress but Webb put the Bulldogs in a hole from which they never emerged during the remainder of the first half by getting off a quick kick for 56 yards to the McKinley nine yard line.
Fondren then gave the Bulldog fans something to cheer about when he clipped off a 20 yard gain before being nailed by Webb.
The Tigers braced and Fondren got off a poor punt that only went 13 yards before going out of bounds on the 50. Webb ripped off a five yard gain before the quarter ended and Zorger put the Tigers into scoring territory on the first play in the second quarter by streaking through right tackle and racing to the Canton 24 for a gain of 31 yards. It was a beautiful piece of footwork in the mud. McGuire and Webb picked up nine yards in three smashes but on the fourth down Webb was inches short of the required yardage and Canton once again stopped the Tiger scoring threat, taking over on its 14. Neither team threatened after that during the remainder of the quarter.
The Bulldogs, however, stirred things up in a hurry at the start of the third period. They received and drove into Massillon territory. Fondren then heaved a long pass which Meacham caught on the 20 where he was knocked out of bounds. McKinley rooters cheered lustily but their cheers died quickly when the officials called the ball back and slapped a five-yard penalty on the red and black for backs in motion. This forced the Bulldogs to punt.
A short time later they secured another break when Webb fumbled in attempting a double pass behind the line to McGuire and Messenheimer fell on the ball on Massillon’s 28.
Hammering at the Tiger forward wall the Bulldogs picked up nine yards in three plays but on fourth down with one yard to go Tucci tried a quarterback sneak and was promptly buried in the mid by an aroused Tiger line. He gained an inch and the Tigers took the ball on their 19 to wipe out Canton’s most serious bid to score.
Several minutes later Webb carried a Canton punt back to his 32 and Mickey McGuire electrified the Massillon rooters by slamming through the line and racing 21 yards to Canton’s 47 before being tackled. This Massillon uprising, however, was short-lived. Webb fumbled on the next play and Sterling Winn covered for Canton on the Bulldogs 45.
After several punt exchanges the Tigers gained the ball on their 29. With the clock running out McGuire tossed to Zeller for 12 yards to complete one of the three passes attempted by the Tigers during the game. Webb hit the line twice, picking up nine yards and when the final gun sounded the ball was right smack on the 50-yard line in Massillon’s possession with the scoreboard still showing Massillon, 0, McKinley, 0.
Massillon – 0 Pos. Can. McKinley – 0
Zeller LE Messenheimer
Green LT Cobbet
Uliveto LG Bourquin
Darrah C Lilly
Tomasevich RG Snyder
Krisher RT Winn
Bonk RE Stevenson
Edie QB Tucci
Webb LHB Fondren
Giloff RHB Meacham
Zorger FB Pucci
Massillon – McGuire, rhb; Brooks, rg; Young, rt; Krisher, c; Byelene, lhb; Bishop, re.
McKinley – Spera, le; Jordan, lg.
Referee – Reese.
Umpire – Lobach.
Head Linesman – Shafer.
Umpire – Brubaker.
Sept. 20 Cathedral Latin here.
Sept. 27 Canton Lincoln at Canton.
Oct. 4 Steubenville Wells here.
Oct. 11 Alliance at Alliance.
Oct. 18 Mansfield at Mansfield.
Oct . 25 Warren Harding here.
Nov. 1 Dayton Chaminade here.
Nov. 8 Toledo Waite here.
Nov. 16 Youngstown East at Youngstown.
Nov. 23 Canton McKinley here.
6 Big Home Games For 1946 Tigers
Washington high school’s 1946 football schedule, announced this morning by S.E. Ackley, faculty manager of athletics, calls for six home games with four battles on foreign fields. It also provides three new opponents for the orange and black next fall.
Schedule details were completed early today and the 1946 card was arranged through the combined efforts of Faculty Manager Ackley and W.G. (Bud) Houghton, head coach, who will take charge of the Tigers during spring practice after more than three years service in the U.S. Navy.
Coach Houghton returned to the Washington high school teaching staff several weeks ago, following his discharge from service, and since that time he and Ackley have been working together selecting the schools to appear on the 1946 schedule. Once agreements were reached with schools on dates, contracts for the games were negotiated by Ackley.
The six home games, which have been booked for next year will be standout attractions and two of them will be with schools not on this year’s slate. Toledo Waite, which has not been on a Massillon schedule since 1942, will play the Tigers here Friday night, Nov. 8. Waite this year has had an undefeated season and will play Canton Lincoln’s Lions at Canton Dec. 1 in a post season game.
Dayton Chaminade, which this fall became one of southwestern Ohio’s outstanding scholastic powerhouses, also has been scheduled for 1946, coming to Massillon Nov. 1.
Third new school to gain a place on the 1946 slate is Youngstown East and this game will be played at Youngstown, Saturday afternoon, Nov. 16, the week before the annual battle with Canton McKinley which in 1946 will be played here.
It will be the first time in several years that the Tigers have played a daylight encounter prior to the McKinley tussle but Coach Houghton desired at least one daylight encounter for his 1946 Tigers before they stacked up against the Bulldogs. He believes the daylight game will be of great value in preparing the Tigers for their all-important tussle with the east enders.
The 1946 season will start off with a bang on Friday night, Sept. 20, with Cleveland Cathedral Latin as the Tigers opening game opponent. The Tigers and Latin played a 6 to 6 tie in the Cleveland municipal stadium last Nov. 9 with more than 52,000 people in attendance.
Other home games next fall will be with Steubenville, Oct. 4. Warren Harding, Oct. 25, Dayton Chaminade, Nov. 1, Toledo Waite, Nov. 8 and Canton McKinley, Nov. 23. All are Friday night games with the exception of the McKinley clash.
The Tigers will take to the road Sept. 27, meeting Canton Lincoln at Fawcett stadium, Oct. 11 at Alliance, Oct. 18 at Mansfield and Nov. 16 at Youngstown East. All are Friday night games with the exception of the Youngstown East duel.
First downs 10 7
Yards gained rushing 188 139
Passes attempted 3 1
Passes completed 1 1
Yards gained passing 12 4
Gross yardage 200 143
Yards lost 16 20
Net yardage 184 123
Number of kickoffs 1 1
Average distance of kickoffs 48 38
Average return of kickoffs 19 23
Number of punts 7 9
Average distance of punts 28 26
Average return of punts 7.2 6.3
Times fumbled 2 3
Times ball lost on fumbles 2 0
Times penalized 3 6
Yards lost by penalties 15 30