1953: Massillon 40, Fremont Ross 7
15,368 FANS SEE ORANGE AND BLACK COME FROM BEHIND TO WIN
Tiger Gridders Crush Fremont 40-7
Mathermen Overcome Stubborn Resistance To Score Six Touchdowns
By LUTHER EMERY
Little Giants you say?
They were something more than that for two periods here Friday evening before they were beaten down to size by the Washington high Tigers who racked up their ninth victory of the season and their 22nd in a row by a score of 40-7 before a crowd of 15,368 fans.
It was the first defeat of the season for the hard hitting, hard tackling, well drilled crew which had won eight games in a row to rate fifth place in the Associated Press standing of high school teams.
Maybe the loss will knock Ross down in the standings, but it still rates a place in the first 10, and if the ratings were based on sheer courage and determination, we would rate them toward the top.
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SELDOM will a team keep on battling after such a series of disheartening breaks as victimized the Little Giants the first period, but they did just that. They didn’t become discouraged but kept battling back until they were finally worn down by the Massillon team.
Actually there was a lot of heavy breathing in the Tiger stands the first half of the game and rightfully so, for the visitors looked the stronger until they scored. It was not until then that the Tiger became aroused and took command of the game. Up to that time it had been pretty well tamed, and Fremont held an edge of 85 net yards gained to Massillon’s measly 21.
From then on, however the local eleven was in charge. Yards came hard but it drove to touchdowns the next four times it got its hands on the ball, then added two more for good measure. The decisive win over the fifth ranking team should strengthen the Tigers’ hold on first place in the grid poll.
For the greater part of the first half, however, fans were wondering if the Bengals were about to be bumped off the top.
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TO START WITH Fremont worked an onside on the kickoff by covering a Massillon fumble and marched to the one-yard line where Homer Floyd covered Charles Blacks’ fumble. That was break No. 1 for the Tigers, and a bad one for the Little Giants.
Then Freshman Henry Tiller returned a punt 43 yards to the Tiger 16 where Rich Crescenze covered his fumble. That was another break that went against the Little Giants, though had Tiller not fumbled, the ball would have been brought back on a clipping penalty. They lost the leather a third time when Jim Letcavits covered a fumble on the Massillon 33. We hate to think what might have happened had the visitors not handled the ball so loosely the first period.
After three heart-breaking muffs, they still had enough fight to come back, and march 48 yards to score the first points of the game.
The Tigers evened it up with an 88-yard march, and it was still an even game with only 55 seconds of the half remaining to be played. Then Crescenze crossed up the Little Giants who had been pulling their secondary close to the line of scrimmage, and fired a pass that Jim Letcavits caught with no one between him and the Gulf of Mexico that put Massillon in front 13-7, and it was there to stay.
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MASSILLONIANS were pretty confident after that, for it was evident the Bengals were breathing fire again and were poised for the kill.
They only scored once in the third quarter, but were well on their way to another when the period ended – got it on the second play of the fourth and shoved over two more before the last minutes were ticked off.
Fremont, which had been a constant threat the first period and half, was pretty well throttled after its lone touchdown, and never got close to the goal line again.
The spirited Little Giants put out everything they had offensively. They ran from the T, single wing and I formations, and once they spread-eagled the field with players.
They had slick runners in Black, Jim Tiller, Lester Franks, and Ronnie Whitcomb and a couple of fine defensive ends in Henry Tiller and Dick Harter. Ted Houghtaling also did a nice job of passing.
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THE VISITORS lived up to their reputation of having a good defensive team and stopped John Traylor, Tiger ball-carrying ace, almost completely. His only long run was called back on a clipping penalty. John Francisco carved them with slashes in the tackles, and Homer Floyd got loose for a couple of dandy long runs. Homer’s footwork brought three of the Tiger touchdowns. Crescenze scored on a sneak in which not a hand was laid on him, and Jim Letcavits and Tom Boone caught passes for two others.
The Tigers blocked two Fremont punts and tossed Whitcomb for a loss when he bobbled a poor pass in another attempt to punt.
Fremont held the Tigers to 237 yards gained on the ground. The Little Giants gained 128. Total net yards including passes, figured 291 for Massillon and 148 for Fremont. First downs were 13 to 11 in the locals’ favor.
It was a rough, bruising game which resulted in tempers flaring several times. On one occasion the officials tossed out both Chuck Lentz of the Tigers and Jerry Gallagher of Fremont. In the last couple of minutes, Boone was given the brush-off, though he said he was only trying to break up a duel on the ground between Willie Longshore and a Fremont player. They both escaped banishment, but the incident brought players of both teams pouring on to the field with fists cocked for action but which were kept locked in that position by coaches and police. They were quickly herded back to the benches and the game went on to conclusion.
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THE TIGERS sustained a couple of casualties during the course of the contest.
Crescenze received a hard rap when he was tackled while trying to pass that made him dizzy for a time, but was able to leave the dressing room under his own power. Ronnie Agnes, regular guard, sustained a shoulder dislocation that will keep him out of next week’s game with Canton McKinley.
The contest was the Tigers’ last home game of the season, and while it attracted a crowd of more than 15,000 the turnout was not as good as anticipated. Fremont responded well, with at least 3,500 traveling the 100 miles to the game, and the performance of their tam the first half gave them plenty to cheer about.
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THE LITTLE GIANTS earned their touchdown but apparently shot their wad getting it.
They started late in the first period after getting the ball on a punt on the Tigers’ 48, and they went all the way.
Whitcomb and Black hammered for a first on the Tiger 36, and Tiller covered Black’s fumble for a two-yard gain. A 14-yard pass, Houghtaling to Frank Lenhart gained a first on the 20 and Whitcomb wiggled his way around left end to another first on the eight. It took four downs to get the ball over from there, but Franks drove across on his own after being almost bottled up for a loss. Whitcomb’s toe produced the extra point.
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FREMONT successfully worked an onside kick for the second time in the game after the touchdown and gained the ball on the Tiger 48. This time Massillon braced, forced Whitcomb to punt and got the ball on the 12. It was a long way to the opponents’ goal, but with Francisco carrying the ball three out of four times, the locals hammered their way to a first down on the 46.
Enter Floyd into the picture. He swept, around his right flank and headed down the sidelines. Nobody could get close to him after he passed the line of scrimmage and he was over for six points. Boone tied the score at 7-7 with the extra point from placement.
Fremont got one first down on its next series then was stymied by the Massillon line and forced to punt. Floyd made a nice return to his 48, and with only 55 seconds remaining in the half, Crescenze on the next play stepped back and shot the ball to Letcavits who caught it about the 25 and ran for a touchdown. Boone’s kick was wide of the uprights.
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THE LITTLE GIANTS made a slight flurry at the start of the second half when they received the kickoff and made one first down as they worked the ball to the Massillon 44, but Tiger hands got in the way of Whitcomb’s punt and the ball rolled back to the Fremont 25 where the locals took over.
Aided by a five-yard penalty, the locals drove to the four. Francisco gained two yards and Crescenze sneaked for the last two and the Tigers’ third touchdown of the game. Boone kicked the extra point and it was 20-7.
Fremont managed to move for one first down after the next kickoff before the Tigers could force a punt. They got the pigskin on their own 29 and again began their hammering tactics with Francisco doing most of the pounding. They moved to a first down on the Fremont 47 as the quarter ended. On the second play of the fourth period, Floyd was again turned loose around left end and he went the distance. Boone missed the kick.
The locals missed out on their bid the next time they got the ball, but Ronnie Gardner regained the pigskin by blocking one of Whitcomb’s punts that rolled back to the four. Floyd went through tackle for the T.D. on the first play.
Another touchdown was scored in seconds.
Tiller fumbled Ronald Boekel’s kickoff and Joe Lopez flopped on the ball on the 35. On the first play Crescenze fired the leather to Boone who was into the end zone with a few steps to spare. He also kicked the extra point, and that ended the scoring of the evening.
ENDS – Boone, Letcavits, Lorch, Maier, Lentz, Lopez.
TACKLES – Dean, Schram, Williams, Hill.
GUARDS – Eaglowski, Agnes, Holloway, Gardner.
CENTERS – Fisher, Fletcher, Grant.
QUARTERBACKS – Crescenze, Porter.
HALFBACKS – Francisco, Traylor, Longshore, Stavroff, Fromholtz.
FULLBACKS – Floyd, Boekel, Stone.
ENDS – Lenhart, R. Tiller.
TACKLES – Cooper, Harter, Gallagher, Jones.
GUARDS – Amor, Pelter, White, H. Black.
CENTER – Goodeman.
QUARTERBACK – Houghtaling.
HALFBACKS – Whitcomb, Franks, Sewell, J. Tiller.
FULLBACK – Black
Massillon – Floyd 3; Letcavits; Crescenze; Boone.
Fremont – Franks.
Points after touchdown:
Massillon – Boone 3 (placekicks).
Fremont – Whitcomb (placekick).
Referee – Pianowski (Cleveland).
Umpire – Pupp (Cuyahoga Falls).
Field Judge – Dunton (Warren).
Head Linesman – Lymper (Mansfield).
First downs 13 11
Forward passes 7 12
Passes completed 2 5
Had passes intercepted 0 1
Yards gained passing 88 50
Yards gained rushing 237 128
Total yards gained 325 178
Yards lost 34 30
Net yards gained 291 146
Times kicked off 7 2
Average kickoff (yards) 44 18
Yards kickoffs returned by 0 112
Times punted 4 6
Average punts (yards) 36 26
Yards punts returned by 43 62
Fumbles 4 7
Lost ball on fumbles 3 4
Times penalized 3 6
Yards penalized 35 29