TIGERS DEFEAT McKEESPORT 19-7 IN SETTING OF COLOR WELL-TIMED AERIALS TURN BACK INVADERS
Pennsylvanians Unleash Versatile Offense That Surprises Massillon Team; Huge Crowd Attends Opening Gridiron Contest
By LUTHER EMERY
In a setting of color on Massillon Field that exceeded all expectations, the Washington high Tigers whipped a stubborn McKeesport, Pa., eleven 19-7 here Friday evening before a crowd of between 8,000 and 10,000 spectators.
A hard fought game and a thrilling finish combined with a musical demonstration and tumbling cheerleaders, it was a faster show than many a college game for which fans pay three times the admission price.
Passes Did It
Two well executed passes gave Massillon the margin of difference and started the Tigers on their way to what they hope will be a fourth consecutive state championship.
“They played like a college team,” said McKeesport sports writers after the game and let it be said in return that the spirit of the visitors’ second half offensive in many ways tells why McKeesport was undefeated in two consecutive years.
It was a ding-dong battle from start to finish, marked by hard tackling and sparkling passes.
The Tigers scored all their touchdowns in the first half on perfect plays. With his linemen blasting a huge hole in the visitors’ forward wall, George Slusser romped 28 yards for the first Massillon score in the opening period. He was tackled just as he slid over the goal line.
Passes Net Two
Passes from Slusser to Freddie Toles in an unprotected secondary, produced the other two scores. Freddie caught one 25-yard heave on the five-yard line and scampered over. He took the other, another 25-yard pass on the 10-yard stripe and raced across. Only seven seconds of the first half remained after the third touchdown. A peg to Horace Gillom produced the extra point.
McKeesport, which never threatened the first half, altered its offense the second period and sparked by a substitute, Ralph Herrera, moved the Tigers backward when it came into possession of the ball.
Mixing passes with Herrera’s end sweeps from his quarterback post and “Casey” Ploszay’s line smashe, the visitors marched the ball 71 yards across the Massillon goal in the fourth period, a sneaker pass over the line, Herrera to Mull, netting the touchdown. Herrera dropkicked the extra point neatly between the uprights.
Briefly, that tells the story of the scoring.
It was a game such as you seldom see in an opening engagement. It was what high school officials had bargained for.
In fact McKeesport had more than Coach Paul Brown and his staff had expected. They returned from the Pennsylvania city last week, wondering whether McKeesport knew any more football than it showed in beating Follansbee, W. Va., 20-0.
Present Versatile Offense
The answer was given last night. Running to the weak as well as the strong side, sweeping the ends and tossing passes, the Pennsylvanians produced the kind of football that would have tripled the score against Follansbee.
They brought everything out of the bag in the second half, including laterals off passes and had the Tigers up in the air as they drove to their touchdown. A second march was throttled on the Tiger 36-yard line and the visitors never got their hands on the ball thereafter, the game ending with Massillon in possession of the leather, first down on the five-yard line, the result of another of those well directed passes, Slusser to Toles.
Mansfield and Steubenville scouts who looked on from the sidelines, made note of the combination.
In Toles, they saw an end who goes down so fast that once he catches up with the secondary, he is almost certain to pass it.
He raced straight through the McKeesport secondary to grab his touchdown passes and this in no small way can be laid to the visitors’ defeat.
“I had a pair of green halfbacks out there and they let him get by,” said Coach John Stinson after the game. “Massillon has a fine team. We were outplayed, but we came out of it without any serious injuries. I am convinced we have already met our strongest opponent of the season.
We only have three boys on the team who were classed as starters last year, but I think as the season progresses we will develop into a pretty good football team.”
Massillon is ready to say that in its opinion McKeesport already has a top-notch eleven and in “Casey” Ploszay, Ed Herrera, Joe Carr and Mull, a quartet of footballers who should do credit to any school.
Two Real Threats
As you have already been told, Ploszay and Herrera were the offensive sparkplugs but as widely different in their running tactics as their size. Ploszay propelled his short, powerful legs and 15- pounds into the forward wall with trip-hammer driving force, while Herrera wheeled it around end and hurled his passes in the face of a roughing, with 130 pounds of dynamite.
The Tigers showed promise. In Slusser and Toles they may have another
Byelene-Anderson combination that brought fans out of their seats two years ago.
Slusser was the chief ground gainer last night and he carried the ball more than any other member of the backfield. Ray Getz and Red Snyder carried it sufficiently, however, to show the fans they too could lug the mail when called upon. Only once did Bill Zimmerman sneak through with it. He made several yards on the play.
The backfield was given good support by the line, which from end to end gave a good account of itself for an opening game. Linemen, with the exception of the ends, Toles and Gillom usually escape unnoticed, but they take a bruising in the course of the game. Bill McMichael and Red Henderson were on the tackles last night, Jim Russell and Lynn Houston at the guards and Earl Martin at center.
Henderson came out with a bruised lip and sore knee, while Capt. Snyder twisted an ankle. After the game both boys expressed the belief their injuries were not serious.
Only four substitutes were made by Coach Brown and that tells the story of McKeesport’s strength. When Henderson was injured, Bill Croop and Bud Lucius broke into the lineup. George Fabian replaced Snyder when the captain limped off the field and “Kappy” Lechleiter took Gillom’s place in the fourth period.
Victory was not alone on the Tigers’ side. So were the statistics. The Massillon eleven made 18 first downs to McKeesport’s 10. The visitors made eight of their 10 in the last half while the Tigers tallied nine each half.
The local team made 343 yards from scrimmage to 187 for McKeesport. Included were 120 yards gained by passing to 57 yards for McKeesport.
Massillon was penalized 55 yards to 25 yards for the visitors.
Ploszay’s quick kick which caught the Tigers asleep in the first period was one of the slickest plays of the game. Standing on his own 36-yard line less than five yards behind the line of scrimmage, he booted the ball over the Massillon secondary which was drawn in close in expectation of a pass. The ball rolled to the very edge of the goal line, just touching it for a touchback which placed it in play on the 20.
Getz had the honor of booting the opening kickoff to Lauris who was downed on the
12-yard line. However on a fake kick, Smith raced through to the 30 before the Massillon secondary got him down. Somebody had to check the drive and Jim Russell took account of the situation and dropped Ploszay for a nine-yard loss. That stopped the opening threat and when Snyder gathered in Ploszay’s punt on his own 35 and raced back 23 yards to the McKeesport 42, the Tigers were on their way.
Snyder and Slusser in two dashes went to the 27 yard line. Getz lost a yard the next down but helped open a yawning hole for Slusser on the next play and the Tiger quarterback cut through for a touchdown.
Ploszay’s quick kick on the next series of plays nearly stymied the Tigers on their goal line, but the ball was brought out to the 20 and the Massillon eleven drove right back to the McKeesport 18 where Slusser’s pass was intercepted in the flat by Ploszay.
Aided by a 15-yard penalty, the visitors got back to their 42 but had to punt again, Snyder racing back 28 yards with the return to his 43. It was a shot of T.N.T. for the Tigers. Slusser pegged the ball to Getz for a seven-yard gain and carried it himself for a first down on the 30. The secondary came in and Toles went out to snare Slusser’s long pass in the clear and race to the second touchdown.
The visitors passed up a scoring opportunity after Mull covered Snyder’s fumble on the Tiger 19-yard line. They gained but four yards in four downs and lost the ball.
An exchange of punts and Getz flopped on Lauris’ fumble on the visitors’ 35. On the first play Slusser caught the Pennsylvanians asleep and pegged the ball to Toles who again caught it in the clear and raced for the third touchdown. A pass to Gillom got the extra point this time and time expired before the teams could lineup for the kickoff.
A Massillon drive after taking the second half kickoff ended on the 25-yard line when Rubenfield covered Toles’ fumble. Another rush, started in the closing minutes of the third period, took the ball to the 29-yard line where the drive bogged down as a result of a
five-yard penalty. It was then that McKeesport’s counter attack boomed.
A lateral off a forward gained five and Herrera worked his sneak around end for a first down on the Massillon 49. He pitched one over the line to Mull for another first down on the 36 and helped Ploszay carry it to the 21. A five-yard sweep around right end and Herrera again fired over the line to Mull who gathered it into his arms five yards from the goal and stepped across.
McKeesport got up steam again but blew a valve on the 36-yard line from which the Tigers launched their final drive which probably would have meant another touchdown had not the timekeeper shot off the end of the game with the ball on the five-yard stripe and first down coming up.
School officials argued over the size of the crowd but generally estimated it as between 8,000 and 10,000 people. It included a large delegation of McKeesport patrons, between 800 and 1,000. They brought their band with them to help in the musical demonstration between halves and did a good job of it.
How did you like the Massillon Tiger? The athletic board got the idea at Pittsburgh, where the big university has had a panther romping over the field for many a year.
The Massillon Tiger was introduced while the band blared, “Hold that Tiger.”
And the tumbling cheerleaders added a new touch of skill to the show.
It’s Mansfield next week and Tiger against Tyger again. The difference in the spelling will help fans to identify the two teams.
A Good Start
MASSILLON POS. McKEESPORT
Toles LE Carr
Henderson LT Sowko
Russell LG Rubenfield
Martin C Carrazzo
Houston RG Wiater
McMichael RT Laughlin
Gillom RE Mull
Slusser QB Thompson
Getz LH Laurie
Zimmerman RH Smith
Snyder FB Ploszay
Score by periods:
Massillon 6 13 0 0 19
McKeesport 0 0 0 7 7
Massillon – Fabian; Lucius; Croop; Lechleiter.
McKeesport – Herrera; Bashur; Stevenson; O’Hara.
Massillon – Slusser; Toles 2.
McKeesport – Mull.
Points after touchdown:
Massillon Gillom (pass).
McKeesport – Herrera (dropkick).
First downs 18 10
Yards gained passing 120 57
Yards gained rushing 223 130
Total yards gained 343 187
Yards lost 8 23
Passes attempted 9 11
Passes completed 5 4
Passes intercepted 2 2
Passes incomplete 2 4
Punts 2 4
Average punts 35 39
Penalties 5 3
Yards penalized 55 25