1939: Massillon, Cleveland Cathedral Latin 13
TIGERS SHOW POWER TO CRUSH CATHEDRAL LATIN LIONS 40-13
OVERFLOW CROWD SEES NEW STADIUM OPENED WITH COLORFUL SHOW
Massillon Team Demonstrates Power From Start; Forward Pass Again Important Weapon; Lions Display Fight and Play Fine Second Half Game
By LUTHER EMERY
With an overflow crowd of 15,000 spectators looking on, the Washington high school Tigers erased the dedication jinx Friday evening and opened their fine new football plant with a 40-13 triumph over a plucky Cathedral Latin high school team of Cleveland.
No longer is the Lion the king of bests – not as far as Massillon fans are concerned. The Tiger that has held the state championship four consecutive years still rules the jungle.
Footballs Instead of Grenades
The Latin Lion could not withstand the lightning thrusts and aerial bombardment of the Massillon Bengal.
Those words sound like the descriptive phrases from that which is taking places overseas, but when the Latin band played “God Bless America”, the crowd must have breathed a prayer that free America may continue to place footballs instead of hand grenades in the hands of her youth.
Previous to last night the Latin Lions had won 17 straight games and had only been defeated once in their last 28 starts. With only one regular of last year’s team in the lineup, the Lions had little hope of taming the Tiger but had a hope of taming the Tiger, but had a fond desire of keeping the score as low as possible.
Panicky at the start as a result of a late arrival which necessitated hurried dressing, the Clevelanders settled down after a poor first half and battled the Tigers on virtually even terms the last two periods, a part of which was played by an entire Massillon second team.
Though beaten, the Lions were not exactly disappointed and were far from dissatisfied. “We wouldn’t be ashamed to lose 100- 0 to a team like that,” one of the high officials of the school exclaimed, as he praised the treatment accorded the Latin players, band and students.
Massillon had the same good feeling. Coach Paul Brown only played his first team about two and one-half periods in an effort to avoid exhaustion in the extreme heat and at the same time give the yearlings a chance to gain practical experience.
The Tigers found in Latin a good competitor, a sporting team, with an excellent band and a lot of good fans.
Tigers Click From Start
It was evident from the opening kickoff that the lions were in for a bad evening, however.
That the Brown machine was all advance reports said of it was very evident as the Tigers in six plays scampered over the goal, using a fake kick formation from which Red James ran 39 yards to score the touchdown.
Before the end of the period, James was over again, this time on a 31-yard dash. The ball was chased over the goal two more times in the second period, Slusser carrying once from the one-yard line after a march from the Latin 32 and Gillom taking a 26-yard pass from Slusser as he loped along to step off the remaining 20 yards to the goal. Ray Getz kicked two of the points from placement and the half closed with the Tigers leading 26-0.
It took eight plays to get the ball over the goal after the kickoff opening the second half, a march of 56 yards ending in Zimmerman scoring from the four-yard line.
That appeared to awaking the Lion and it charged back with a rush that carried 60 yards and ended with Eddie Prokop, the only veteran remaining from last year, diving over the line of scrimmage for the last yard. He also kicked goal.
Both teams scored in the fourth quarter, Slusser going over from the 10-yard line in the third play of the period and Prokop circling his right end in the closing minutes of the game to score from the one-yard line.
In brief, that’s how the touchdowns were made. They came easy for the Tigers the first half but were harder to get the longer the game progressed.
The Lions lined up with a defensive six-man line or a 6-1-2-2 defense. The backer, however, nearly always hopped into the line with the idea of jamming things up and changing the Tigers’ blocking assignments at the last moment.
As long as the first team was on the field, the line for the most part could handle the last minute poundage, but the subs found the situation confusing and were able to make little headway.
Tigers Blocking Good
The Tiger offense, though ragged at intervals, was smooth as a whole, especially for an opening game. The blocking for the most part was good and fans saw Bob Foster, more than once lay as pretty a block as you would want to see on the Latin foes. On one occasion he nearly bowled a Latin player into the stands. The line charged hard and big Jim Russell and Horace Gillom playing outstanding roles.
The forward pass was again a potent weapon of the Tiger offense. Statistics tend to show a lack of efficiency with its use, but most of the incompleted passes were charged to the second team.
Three of the first five passes tossed by the varsity gained 93 yards and produced one of its touchdowns.
Collectively the Tigers completed only five of 18 passes for a total gain of 112 yards. One was intercepted.
Passes also played an important part in Latin’s last half attack, the visitors putting the ball on the one-yard line with passes in both of their touchdown attempts. The first was a
12-yard toss that Red James tipped into the arms of Hank Zolnoski, Latin end. The second, a sneak pass, that caused a lot of money to change hands between point betters, was thrown by Jack Sague to Prokop for a 24-yard gain.
The Lions attempted 15 passes and completed seven for a gain of 101 yards. One was intercepted.
The Tigers had the edge in all statistics. They made 12 first downs to Latin’s eight and the ball carriers made a net gain of 310 yards to the Lion backfield’s 45 yards.
The visitors twice, lost the ball on fumbles, while the Tigers clung to it in good shape.
The punting of both teams was excellent. Horace Gillom averaged 48 yards while Paul Vitonis of the Lions struck a 39-yard average.
On the other hand neither team appeared able to kickoff. Prokop got a good one his first attempt and Ray Getz had two good kicks out of six efforts.
Prokop was easily the outstanding member of the Latin team. Somewhat heavier than listed in the program, he carried himself well, did most of the passing, the kicking off and gained most of the yardage.
Prokop was supported in the backfield by Sague, but neither ball carrier was accorded the blocking given the Massillon backs. On the line, Zolnoski and Bernard Meter stood out for the Lions.
There were thrills for both sides to cheer, Massillon fans particularly liked James’ long run from the fake kick formation and Gillom’s leaping catch of Slusser’s very accurate pass for the fourth Tiger touchdown.
The visitors got their big thrill from the sneak pass in which Prokop laid along the sideline while his team took its time in the huddle before running off the play. Massillon fans on the east side of the field made such a rumpus trying to call the attention of the Tiger secondary to Prokop that fans on the west side got up to see whether the Galento-Nova fight had been transplanted in Massillon. Sague tossed a well aimed pass to Eddie and he almost got over for a touchdown. He made it with ease on the next play, following Head Linesman Eddie Howells who looked as though he was running interference.
Massillon spectators also got a kick out of Jitterbug Blunt’s fancy stepping when he took Chase’s punt in the second period and sidestepped his way for a 25-yard run. He’s only a sophomore.
Three of the Tigers’ six touchdowns came on long gains. The others were harder to get.
Offside Proves A Blessing
The Tigers launched their first drive on the opening kickoff. They marched the ball down to the Latin 39 where the Lions appeared to stop them. On fourth down, Gillom placed a beautiful punt out of bounds on the five-yard line but both sides were offside and the fans moaned the loss of such a good kick. It was fourth down and Gillom again dropped back to kick. Slusser saw his opportunity and seized it. Instead of punting the ball, Gillom faked the kick and James took the ball out of his hands on a variation of the old Michigan Statue of Liberty and ran 39 yards around right end for the touchdown.
An exchange of punts following the kickoff gave James an opportunity to return the Latin boot 22 yards to the Lion 43-yard line. He reeled off 11 more on a dash around left end and after Slusser had gained a yard, the little red head shot through his left tackle for 31 yards and the second touchdown.
The Lions tried a pass after the following kickoff, but Gillom, covering the center zone, dropped back to spear the ball and carry it past midfield before being tackled. Here the first period ended. On the first play of the second quarter, Slusser fired a 33-yard pass to Gillom for a first down on the 12-yard stripe. Slusser and Zimmerman carried the ball to the one-yard line, Slusser lugging it over.
Ten new faces entered the game for Latin. On the first play after the following kickoff, Russell pounced on a Latin fumble on the 46-yard line. Before the Lions could recover, Slusser had hurled a 26-yard pass to Gillom who caught the ball on his own 20 and raced over the goal.
A new team went into the game for Massillon and played the rest of the period. In the closing minutes of the period Prokop tossed a 15-yard pass to Zolnoski for Latin’s first first down of the game.
Zimmerman In Action
The Tiger veterans took the field for the third period and launched a drive from their
44-yard line with Bill Zimmerman as the spearhead. It was Zimmerman nine, Slusser 17, Zimmerman one and Slusser two. A pass Slusser to Zimmerman gained six more and Zimmerman again carried the leather to a first down on the nine-yard line. In two plays he was over.
That sparked the Lion to breathing fire and it came back to score a touchdown, not through the second team, but through the varsity eleven. It started from the Latin 40 with Sague getting three yards and Prokop picking up 14 in two attempts. Prokop hurled a pass to Zolnoski for a first down on the 30 and Sague, running well behind his interference, carried the ball in two attempts to a first down on the Tiger 16. Prokop was chased back for an eight-yard loss and Slusser knocked down an attempted pass to Zolnoski but Prokop kept pecking away at his target and shot an 11-yarder to Zolnoski that put the ball on the 13-yard line with fourth down coming up. Again Prokop passed the ball. Red James had Zolnoski covered, but tipped the ball into the latter’s arms and he fell on the one-yard line. Prokop dove over the line for the touchdown.
The Tigers took the kickoff on their 42 and drove straight down the field for another touchdown. Zimmerman and James gained five yards and Slusser ripped off 35 for a first down on the Latin 18. Zimmerman took the ball to the nine-yard line and Slusser in two attempts went across.
It looked as though the score would stand at 40-7, but in the closing minutes the visitors launched another aerial bombardment against the Massillon second team which started from the Latin 46-yard line. Prokop passed 14 yards to Egert for a first down on the Tiger 40 and a 16-yard toss to Chase gained another first down on the Massillon 24. Sague grounded a pass, but fired the next one on the sideline sleeper play to Prokop who got down to the one-yard line before being tackled. Prokop ran wide around his right end to score the last yard and the final points of the game.
The game was practically free from injuries despite the intense heat. Time was called out for injury to one Massillon and one Latin player, but neither was seriously hurt.
As one veteran Cleveland sports writer pointed out, it is the first time “I ever covered a football game in my shirt sleeves.”
A Good Start
Massillon Pos. Latin
Getz LE Zolnoski
Pedrotty LT Shisila
Russell LG Hersch
Martin C Fresco
Henderson RG Meter
Swezey RT Fouferousse
Gillom RE Pitts
Foster QB Vitonis
Slusser LH Prokop
James RH Sague
Zimmerman FB Chase
Score by periods:
Massillon 13 13 7 7 40
Latin 0 0 7 6 13
Massillon – St. Johns; Jansen, rh; White; Fabian; Kingham; Hill; De Hoff; Rogich, Blunt; Pizzino; De Mando; Appleby; Armour; Kester; Moody; Cardinal; Broglio; Wallace; Croop; Clendening.
Latin – Bindokas; Dillon; Egert; Gyevet; R. Hackman; Kinkopf; Lange; Mahon; Mason; Ostendorf; Paltani; Phillips; Winterich.
Massillon – James 2; Slusser 2; Gillom; Zimmerman.
Latin – Prokop 2.
Points after touchdowns:
Massillon – Getz 4 (placekicks).
Latin – Prokop (placekick).
Referee – Gross.
Umpire – Graf.
Head Linesman – Howells.
First downs 12 6
Yards gained rushing 320 68
Yards lost rushing 10 23
Net gain rushing 310 45
Yards gained passing 112 101
Total yards gained 422 146
Passes attempted 18 15
Passes completed 5 7
Passes intercepted 1 1
Times penalized 5 3
Yards lost in penalties 45 15
Lost ball on fumble 0 2
Number of punts 2 6
Average punts (yards) 48 39
Number of kickoffs 6 4
Average kickoffs (yards) 34 26