Tag: <span>Wade Watts</span>

Massillon vs. McK - Throwback (Large) History

1957: Massillon 25, Canton McKinley 7

Massillon Dazzles Bulldogs With Air, Ground Attack And Herculean Defense
Tigers Boast Lots of Stars As They Get Revenge Before 22,000 Fans



Desire plus blocking plus tackling.

That was the formula for success – the sweetest victory of the 1957-football season. The formulators were those supercharged peerless Massillon Tigers.

That 25-7 triumph they ran up over old rival Canton McKinley Saturday afternoon was the salt of the earth. Scrumptious…fetching…masterful…sensational…terrific…great.

These and many more superlatives are needed to tell the story of the lion-hearted lads who beat McKinley. And how they beat them!

They ran through, over and around the erstwhile state champs. They kept the Bulldogs gasping with a whale of a passing attack. And they added insult to injury with a rugged defense that on only three occasions allowed more than nine yards.
* * *
YES, IT’S OUR turn to howl and rightfully so today the city of champions is living it up.

Program Cover

Getting revenge for those last two setbacks, the Tigers struck for four touchdowns and one extra point.

Something like 22,000 fans saw an awesome offense which powered to 234 yards on the ground and 125 in the air; a net of 359. McKinley made 212 yards on the ground with an 83-yard gainer on an end-around giving the Bulldogs, who failed in their only two aerial attempts, their biggest lift. The Tigers hit on nine of 14 passes and carved out 16 first downs to McKinley’s seven.

And it could easily have been more than an 18-point difference at the finish.

Leading by 18-0 late in the first half, the Tigers saw an electrifying 26-yard pay dirt prance by Ivory Benjamin erased by a penalty. Late in the third period, with the score at 18-7, the blazing Bengals were pounding at the touchdown door when a fumble cost them the ball at the Bulldog 10.

Outside of the 83-yard gallop by End Charley Reeves, the closest the host team got to the Tiger goal was the 23. The first time they had the ball the Bulldogs went on the march from their own 40 and they got down to the 23 before a field goal attempt failed. Consider it a break that they got past the Tiger 43.

From that point, with fourth down and four yards to go, sub Dave Sitzman went back to punt. It was a low pass from center and Sitzman dropped the ball but picked it up and was able to move 21 yards before being grassed.
* * *
BEFORE BENJAMIN’S second period jaunt was called back it looked like the Tigers were headed for a fourth touchdown of the half. End Clyde Childers got behind the McKinley secondary at the 21 but the pass was thrown short and Reeves, racing toward his own goal, leaped high into the air for an eye opening interception that momentarily slowed up the orange and black express.

A mental lapse cost the Tigers a shutout as Reeves, finding a hole off the right side, simply outran would be tacklers. After he got past the line of scrimmage there was nobody in front of him as the defenders on the left side were “suckered” to the opposite side of the field.

So there you have it. Massillon had a big statistical advantage and with a break here and there might have punched out a six or seven touchdown margin.

But nobody is beefing. Beating McKinley by one or 41 doesn’t make much difference.

We would have settled for even a one-point win Saturday.

McKinley was no slouch. Some coaches, players and fans rate them on a par with Cleveland Benedictine, only team to up-end the Tigers this year. That the Bulldogs were a bunch of hard-hitters will be attested by the Tigers.

The Canton club, whose only previous loss was inflicted by Warren, gave ground begrudgingly. They were in there battling all the way. But the odds were too great.
* * *
COACH LEE TRESSEL moved his backs like chessman. Halfbacks ran from both left and right posts and fullbacks ran from halfback slots. Five different boys threw passes with one of them, Halfback Corky Pledgure, getting off the first of his scholastic career.

Defensively, the Tresselman certainly lived up to their reputation. Offensively, a major factor was the blocking by the linemen.

The coaches knew the weak points of the Bulldogs and the Tigers concentrated on those spots.

The highly cherished victory was the eighth in nine games for the Tigers and No. 30 for Massillon in the long, colorful series. McKinley has won 27 but only twice in the last 10 meetings. The win snapped a 25-game win string for the Bulldogs at friendly Fawcett stadium.

Still very much alive and kicking are Massillon hopes for a state championship.

The official Associated Press poll will include Thanksgiving Day games – meaning the local boys could get a big assist from Cleveland St. Ignatius.

If Benedictine loses to St. Ignatius in the senate championship fray Nov. 28, Massillon apparently would have the inside track on the gonfalon.

The Tigers really played like kings Saturday. They virtually ran the Bulldogs off the premises.

One big reason was the whirling dervish named Ivory Lee Benjamin.
* * *
THE BULLDOGS found out why Massillon thinks so much of the mercury-footed

He scored the first touchdown of the game, capping an 80-yard drive with a 17-yard foray that really was a beaut. He sparked the drive with runs of 11, 3 and 20 in that order.

In the second stanza he ran for 11 and Gene Stewart passed to Ronnie Williams for
22 yards to help put the pigskin on the McKinley 26. From that point Ivory came up with the best individual effort of the sunny afternoon.

He hit off left tackle and turned on the gas, spinning away from three red-shirted defenders and the last 10 yards he was strictly on his own. He began dragging tacklers with him at the 10 and the last five yards it looked like practically the whole McKinley team was trying to pull him down. He fought his way in but a clipping penalty was called at the 15.

His other long run was for 23 yards in the third quarter. On that one he was aided by Dave Dean’s fine fake.

Benjamin again led the Tiger leather-luggers as he racked up his 17th touchdown of the year and made 96 yards in 14 carries. That’s an average of 6.1 yards per try.
* * *
FOR THE ENTIRE season Ivory accounted for 1,564 yards with 1,138 of that total coming on 146 trips with the mail.

Scott Kanney averaged 6.4 yards in seven tries while Anthony and Dean, who will be back next year, averaged 5 yards each.

Co-Captain Chuck Beiter was slowed by a leg injury but the Tigers got a hard- nosed effort from the senior fullback. He averaged 3.5 yards a try.

In the passing department the Bengals staged on of their better productions.

The nine completions were good for 125 yards and two touchdowns. The receivers worked their way into the clear and the passers, Anthony, Joe Sparma and Gene Stewart, threw the ball on target – and at the right time.

McKinley had Tiger fans on edge shortly after the tussle got under way. Massillon received, gained eight yards in three plays, and had to punt with Sparma’s short, wobbly boot going out of bounds at the Bulldog 40.

After making one first down the hosts got to the 43 before going into punt formation. It was at this point that Sitzman picked up the low pass from center and ran right for 21 yards to the Tiger 22.
* * *
THE MASSILLON defense got tough and three plays later McKinley had lost a yard.

With the ball on the 23, McKinley tried a field goal at 5:40.

Guard Jesse Chenault’s boot from the 32 just missed. The ball struck the crossbar and fell harmlessly to the turf in front of the goalpost.

Apparently all this served as a shot in the arm to Massillon’s spirit.

The Tigers showed class and precision as they marched 80 yards. Benjamin started the ball rolling with an 11-yard sweep and then winged off 20 yards after he picked up three and Scott Kanney churned for five.

A sideline pass, Anthony to lanky Clyde Childers, was good for 20 yards and Tiger followers were blowing their top as the ball moved to the 17.

Then Benjamin, tearing out of the grasp of tacklers twice, showed his heels and went into the end zone standing up at 2:40. Sophomore Jim Hershberger’s placement on the extra point try sailed to the left but everybody from Tigertown was happy indeed.

And it wasn’t long until the Tresselmen again had their rooters raving.

Hase McKey kicked off twice. His first went out of bounds and on the second, the twisting leather hit at the 27 and as a couple of McKinley players watched helplessly, end Al Pierce came in to cover.
* * *
IT WAS MASSILLON’S ball on the Bulldog 25 and the Tigers were off to the races.

Benjamin fumbled and recovered for a gain of one, Beiter picked up three, Anthony hit Benjamin on a short running pass for three, Benjamin got some sharp blocking and went for five, Anthony rammed for six and Beiter came back with two as the first period ended.

On the first play of the second canto Dean got three and a first down before Sparma, on an option play to the left, just had room to get over the final stripe. At 11:16 Hershberger’s kick was wide but few fans were worrying. It was 12-0.

After the kickoff McKinley made one first down as Bob Kettlewell and Bob Cook collaborated for 12 yards but at the 43 the red and black was forced to punt.

Defensive end Leaman Williamson, a tower of strength for the Tigers all season, barreled in to block Sitzman’s kick and second string defensive tackle John Donat pounced on the pighide at the McKinley 40.

Another touchdown play was pulled off by the Bengals as Sparma, given beautiful protection, threw down the middle to Anthony, all alone at the 23. Mark chugged in at 7:08 and still it was 18-0 as a bad pass from center ruined the extra point try.

There was no further scoring the first half but late in the second chapter the Tigers were pounding hard.
* * *
STEWART THREW like a pro to Williams for 22 yards and Benjamin, cutting back off the left side, fought his way for 11 yards before the same kid zipped 26 yards – but to no avail.

McKinley’s score in the third period came after an exchange of punts. On the first Massillon series Kanney got off a 20-yarder but at the McKinley 40 Sparma had to punt with Jordon Fronimo being smeared at the 13.

Cook gained two and Fronimo two before Reeves carried on an end-around. He had just enough room to get through the right side and was gone. Sub back John Fontes made it
18-7 at 4:20.

That was McKinley’s last chance to stand up and cheer.

After the kickoff Benjamin got loose for 23 yards and Dean, on a dive play off the right side, blasted for 13 before a fumble gave the Bulldogs possession at their 10.

After an exchange of punts in the final round the Tigers added another clincher. They used air and ground maneuvers to go 65 yards with the choice bits being a 15-yard pass from Anthony to Childers, an 11-yard pass from Anthony to Benjamin and a 12-yard jaunt by Kanney.
* * *
THE DRIVE WAS climaxed at 2:20 when Williams made a terrific catch of a Sparma pass in the end zone. This time McKey tried the extra point and made it. Five plays later Massillon’s revenge victory entered the record books.

Jubilant Massillon players and fans cut loose as soon as it was over. Coach Tressel was carried from the field and the Tiger locker room, close to 30 minutes afterward, was a mass of hysterically happy humanity.

Besides Childers, Beiter, Williamson, Williams, Getz, Benjamin, Stewart, Anthony and Kanney, the seniors are Harold Slabuagh, Joe Brownlee, Tom Heine, Pete Heimann, Al Slicker, Paul Lawson, Noah Taylor, Jesse Steele, Dan Swartz, Maury Snavely, Jim Cook, Bobo Hagan, Roger Reese, and John Halter.

The summary:
ENDS – Childers, Williams, Hagan, Zorn, Mitchell, Wood, Steele, Pierce, Snavely.
TACKLES – Slabaugh, Slicker, Brownlee, Halter, Donat, Karrenbauer.
GUARDS – Heine, Heimann, McKey, Bendar, Taylor, Cook.
CENTERS – Williamson, Swartz.
QUARTERBACKS – Getz, Sparma.
HALFBACKS – Benjamin, Pledgure, Anthony, Allen, Snively, Lawson, Clark, Stewart, Hershberger.
FULLBACKS – Kanney, Beiter, Dean, Reese.

ENDS – Reeves, Bowes, Tolson.
TACKLES – Swimmer, Patterson, Guedel.
GUARDS – Chenault, Bender, Connor, Rossetti.
CENTERS – Bridges, Hodge.
QUARTERBACKS – Cook, Sitzman.
HALFBACKS – Fronimo, Kettlewell, Fontes.
FULLBACKS – Martin, Turner.

Massillon 6 12 0 7 25
McKinley 0 0 7 0 7

Massillon scoring:
Touchdowns – Benjamin (17-run), Sparma (2-run); Anthony (40-pass); Williams (10-pass).
Extra points – McKey (placement).

McKinley scoring:
Touchdown – Reeves (83-run).
Extra point – Fontes (placesment).

Mass. McK.
First downs, rushing 11 7
First downs, passing 5 0
First downs, penalties 0 0
First downs, total 16 1
Yards gained, running plays 254 235
Yards lost, running plays. 20 23
Net yardage, running plays 234 212
Passes attempted 14 2
Passes completed 9 0
Passes had intercepted 1 0
Yards gained passing 125 0
Total yardage, running, passing 359 212
Number of kickoff returns 2 4
Yardage, kickoff returns 24 77
Average length of kickoff returns 12 19
Number of punt returns 1 0
Yardage, punt returns 19 0
Average length of punt returns 19 0
Number of punts 4 5
Total yardage on punts 100 137
Average length of punts 25 27
Number of penalties 4 2
Yards lost on penalties 50 10
Number of fumbles 4 1
Own fumbles recovered 2 0
Ball lost on fumbles 2 1

Ivory Benjamin
Massillon vs. McK - Throwback (Large) History

1956: Massillon 7, Canton McKinley 34

McKinley Has Too Many Guns For Tigers
Martin Ball Of Fire Against Tresselman


A COMBINATION OF the irresistible force and the immovable object.

That would be an apropo description for Canton McKinley’s Bulldogs who, before over 23,000 fans at Tiger stadium Saturday afternoon, provided proof that they are worthy of the title, “1956 Oho state football champions.”

The best ball club to face a Massillon team in many a year and probably the best of all McKinley arrays without a doubt played its best game of the season and proceeded to paddle the out-manned but always-fighting Tigers by a stunning 34-7 count.

Let’s give McKinley credit. It had the horses as it:
1. Went undefeated for a second straight year and extended the school record to 20 triumphs in a row.
2. Beat Massillon for a second season in a row, the first time this trick has been pulled since 1933.
3. Handed the Tigers their first loss on home sod for the first time since Mansfield turned the tide in 1949.
4. Gave a Massillon team its worst beating since the 35-0 thrashing of 1942.
5. Registered 34 points to hike its school record to a season total of 490 points in 10 games. The old mark was 487 points in 11 contests.
6. And captured the state title for a second straight year, another first for a Bulldog team.

Program Cover

According the Bulldogs the championship and the Rutgers Hall of Fame trophy that goes with it is only a matter of formality.

The loss for the Tigers was the sixth over the last 10 campaigns and it marked the first time since 1947 the Bengals dropped two in one year. The Tiger record of eight wins, two setbacks, is the school’s worst since the 6-4 mark of 1947.

McKinley thus scored as many points in one game as it did against the Bengals in the seven previous years combined. And the win was the Bulldogs’ 27th in the ancient and colorful rivalry. Massillon, which has been the victor 29 times (five battles ended in ties) now has won 22, lost 12 and tied three over the last 36 years.

It was the ninth straight year the Tigers and Bulldogs had met with the state title riding on the outcome. Up until last season the locals had grabbed the brass ring seven consecutive years.

And now let us give credit to the local team, the more inexperienced and immature of the two.
* * *
LEE TRESSEL’S aggregation might have folded after being hit so hard early in the game but the Tigers never gave up trying. And when they realized they were a beaten ball club they fought back even harder.

But some bad breaks, their own mistakes and the stout McKinley defense left them a cropper.

Coach Tressel said the fumble on the first play after the kickoff following McKinley’s initial touchdown hurt his team immensely and who is there to disagree? There was another fumble after the second Bulldog TD and the Tigers were in a hole they were never able to get out of.

Three fumbles lost to the enemy and two pass interceptions stalled the Tiger attack and Tressel attributed the local defense to a “good McKinley offense.”

“They were a great ball club Saturday but I felt we were better than we showed. We certainly could have done a better job,” he said.

That sterling McKinley offense was centered around Quarterback Ron “Ike” Grimsley, the magician who directed the Bulldogs in his usual fine fashion; All-Ohio Bob Williams, who was simply great on defense and plucked two Massillon passes out of the air and also pounced on a Tiger fumble, all in the third period; little Phil Martin, a will-o-wisp who wrecked the Tigers with his sensational running in the first half; and Wayne Fontes, his running mate at halfback who ran equally as well inside as he did outside.

The mercury-footed Martin tallied on runs of five, 57 and 77 yards in that order and finished up the day with 191 yards in 15 carries – an average of 12.7 yards per trip. Fontes made 95 in 16 runs and Grimsley gained 81 in 14. The latter’s passing wasn’t anything to brag about but the Bulldogs were hardly pressed into going to the sky.

Mike Hershberger, the boy with a man-sized heart, led the Tiger attack despite the fact he was hampered by his bad knee. He carried 13 times for 68 yards, blocked with abandon and turned in an outstanding defensive game. Speedy Ivory Benjamin collected 74 yards in 15 carries and “Chuck” Beiter, took over for Chester Brown at fullback and picked up 43 yards in eight trips. Even for a losing cause, there were other Tiger stats.
* * *
THE BULLDOGS, who did very little wrong, went on the prowl after they won the toss of the coin and elected to receive. They pounded off the tackles and skirted the end like demons for 14 plays.

Fontes too Tim Krier’s kickoff on the 22 and got back to the McKinley 35 from which point Grimsley went on the air. Big Williams got behind the defenders at the Tiger 35 but the pass sailed over his head and the invaders then decided to hoof it.

Fontes had a hole at the left side for 10 yards and four plays later, on a fourth and two situation, blasted through center for four yards as he kept his team rolling at the Tiger 43. Only Hershberger kept Grimsley from going all the way and after Ike’s 16-yarder the Bulldogs chopped off short yardage to reach the five. At 6:01 Martin, with the aid of a nice block by Fontes, raced around the right flank for the first Bulldog TD and Grimsley followed with the first of his three conversions.

This had happened to the Tigers on many other occasions in the past and usually the Orangemen retaliated with a bang. But after Brown returned Williams’ kickoff 13 yards to the Massillon 38, Benjamin fumbled after dashing eight-yards.

Linebacker Jesse Chenault covered the pigskin at the Bulldog 38 and McKinley was in business again. After Fontes and Fullback Arnold Lewis made two a piece, Martin wowed the crowd and stunned the Tigers again. He got off a 56-yard pay dirt jaunt by going off right tackle, working himself loose from three would-be tacklers and cutting away from two more. In the clear at the Orange 40, he raced to the end zone without too much effort. Grimsley again converted with (text unreadable) the period.

Less than a minute later Rinehart fumbled and McKinley had a break again, this time at the Tiger 18. After a 15-yard holding penalty, Grimsley tossed to End Bob Burchfield for 15 yards and from the 13, Grimsley threw again. Martin made a beautiful catch as he fought off two defenders but he was out of the end zone and the Bulldogs were stymied, temporarily anyway.
* * *
IN THE SECOND period, following a punt exchange, Benjamin recovered his own fumble on a punt and from their own 19 the Orangemen picked up steam. They made one first down on the ground and another via the airlanes as a reverse pass, Gene Stewart to End Don Elavsky, netted 19. But from the Bulldog 40 the Tigers had to kick. Hershberger’s kick was taken by Fontes, hit immediately by Benjamin and the ball was on the eight.

Mr. Martin made it 20-0 in a jiffy. After he lost two, Fontes picked his way for 17 yards to the 23 to set the stage for Martin’s third touchdown dash of the half. On a 77-yarder, the scatback went to his right, faked two defenders out of the way and sped to the end zone.

The Tigers came up with their first real thrust after Washington returned the kickoff to the Bengal 36. Benjamin did a neat bit of running for 19 and Hershberger spun and fought his way for 20 and a first down at the Bulldog 26. Tiger fans were yelling for a score but Massillonians were to be denied this time. Hershberger made three and Benjamin five to make it third and about two at the 18.

Then the Tigers, trying to catch the enemy by surprise, decided to take to the air. Rinehart intended to slip the oval to lanky Clyde Childers but Childers slipped and fell and the smooth Tiger quarterback was forced to “eat it.”

Coach Tressel later explained that the coaches had noticed the McKinley halfbacks coming up fast as the Tigers stayed on the ground. The strategy called for a long throw to Childers but things went haywire as Childers fell and the other eligible receiver, Benjamin, was covered. On the next play Tackle Harry Sylvester knifed in to throw Beiter for a six-yard deficit and the locals’ bid was stopped.

Williams was the fly in the Massillon ointment during the third period. The Tigers had possession four times but twice Williams intercepted a pass and on anther occasion be recovered a fumble.

At the outset of the canto he hauled in a Rinehart pitch and ran back to the Massillon 32. In just six plays the Bulldogs tallied again. Fontes started the drive with a 17-yard sprint and from the four he bulled over to make it
27-0 at 7:41.
* * *
THREE PLAYS after the kickoff Williams covered the Tiger fumble at the Bengal 18 and soon McKinley hit the jackpot for the fifth time. From the 13 Grimsley went back to pass, decided he had to run with it, and run he did. He ran to the left, then cut back toward the west sidelines and wasn’t hit until he crossed the final stripe.

Near the end of the period Fontes punted into the west stands and the Tigers began to percolate from their own 48. Hershberger made eight, Beiter seven and Benjamin made 11 yards on the last play of the session.

Benjamin sandwiched five yards between five by Hershberger for a first down at the 16 and the Tigers weren’t to be shutout even though they lost four on a fumble. Hershberger came back with five before Beiter tallied from the 15. The junior fullback ploughed through right tackle and had good blocking as he scored at 9:40. Davie Richardson converted for the 21st time this season – his 11th one in a row.

After an exchange of punts the Bulldogs began to move again. Hershberger punted, with his beauty going out of bounds at the eight, and the McKinley lads advanced to the Tiger 30 before the game came to a close.

The 22,993 paid admissions brought Massillon’s total attendance for seven home games to 98,159. This was the third largest number to see Tiger teams play at home in modern history.

It was the last football game in a Tiger uniform for 16 boys – Elavsky, Krier, Rinehart, Hershberger, Richardson, Washington, Chester Brown, Bob Brown, Dick Brenner, Joe Wells, Tom Mays, Dick Whitfield, Jim Mercer, Bruce Bixler, Tom Meldrum and Bob Kiplinger. McKinley will lose 12 by graduation, including such boys as Grimsley, Fontes, Bob Williams, Phil Martin, Dick Martins, Dick Roknich, and Burchfield, plus Guard John Ifantides, who will be too old for scholastic competition next fall.

The summary:
ENDS – Elavsky, Brenner, Hagan, Childers, Wells, Mays.
TACKLES – Mercer, Whitfield, Halter, Bixler, Brownlee.
GUARDS – Meldrum, B. Brown, Heine, Herimann.
CENTERS – Krier, Kiplinger.
QUARTERBACKS – Rinehart, Stewart.
HALFBACKS – Hershberger, Benjamin, Bivings, Washington, Richardson.
FULLBACKS – C. Brown, Beiter, Reese.

ENDS – B. Williams, Burchfield, Reeves.
TACKLES – Roknich, Paul Martin, Koeliner, Sylvester, S. Williams, Patterson.
GUARDS – Ifantides, Bender, Chenault.
HALFBACKS – Phil Martin, Fontes.
FULLBACKS – Lewis, D. Martins.

McKinley 14 7 13 0 34
Massillon 0 0 0 7 7

McKinley scoring:
Touchdowns – Phil Martin 3; Fontes, Grimsley.
Extra points – Grimsley 3 (placements).

Massillon scoring:
Touchdown – Beiter.
Extra point – Richardson (placement).

Massillon McKinley
First downs, rushing 10 17
First downs, passing 1 1
First downs, penalties 0 0
Total first downs 11 18
Yards gained rushing 207 396
Yards lost rushing 32 6
Net yards gained rushing 175 392
Yards gained passing 19 28
Total yards gained 192 420
Passes attempted 4 9
Passes completed 1 2
Passes intercepted by 0 2
Times kicked off 2 6
Kickoff average (yards) 35.0 43.3
Kickoff returns (yards) 86 29
Times punted 2 2
Punt average (yards) 31.7 18.5
Punt returns 9yards) 1 -2
Had punts blocked 0 0
Fumbles 6 2
Lost fumbled ball 3 0
Penalties 2 6
Yards penalized 6 60

Mike Hershberger
Massillon vs. McK - Throwback (Large) History

1955: Massillon 7, Canton McKinley 13

Bulldogs Beat Tigers 13-7 On Breaks
Two High Passes Give Canton 2 Touchdowns And Likely State Title


The Washington high school Tigers “passed” the state championship eight miles eastward Saturday afternoon when they handed the Canton McKinley Bulldogs a 13-7 victory before a chilled crowd of 21,000 fans.

Two high passes from center that went over the Massillon punter’s head, enabled McKinley to score its two touchdowns. One was covered in the end zone, the other only required a three-yard effort to get the score.

The Tigers got their touchdown the hard way – a 79-yard drive. They made more first downs, 12-4 and gained twice as many net yards, but lost the game.

In short, they beat the Bulldogs everywhere but on the scoreboard. But it is the score that counts and in years to come, the score, not the statistics will be remembered.

Program Cover

The Canton victory narrows Massillon’s edge in the 60-game series to three games. The Tigers have won 29, the Bulldogs 26 and five have ended in tie scores.
* * *
THE TRIUMPH brought Canton its first undefeated season since 1934 when a Bulldog team coached by Jimmy Aiken whipped Massillon 21-6 to hang up a string of 11 wins for the season which entitled it to a just claim to the state title.

McKinley was highly elated over its victory and had every reason to be. It was the first time the Bulldogs had beaten the Tigers since 1947, and the victory will undoubtedly gain them the state title.

The counting of ballots cast in The Associated Press poll tonight should only be a mere formality since the game was billed as one in which the state title was to go to the winner. As a result the Hall of Fame trophy, which Massillon has won the last seven years, will likely be awarded to Canton McKinley.

There’s a possibility a campaign by a couple of other undefeated teams will wrest some ballots from the Bulldogs.

Two out-of-town reporters with ballots in their pockets, who had watched the game on the television screen, indicated to us Sunday they were going to desert the Bulldogs and cast their votes for one of the other undefeated teams because of Massillon’s superior showing in statistics.

However, we cannot see their logic in denying the Bulldogs the title in that none of the other undefeated teams has played a comparable schedule or has beaten Massillon, the defending champ.
* * *
WE SHALL VOTE for Canton, although we shall do so with tongue in cheek, believing the Tigers are as good if not the best in the state.

But their 8-1-1 record is against them in the poll. We don’t know where they will finish in this week’s balloting.

Some writers may seize the opportunity to knock the local team far down in the ratings, particularly in view of the clamor for first place.

The Massillon gridders had nothing to be ashamed of Saturday and that helped to temper the loss. Our only criticism, and about the only criticism we heard of Massillon’s play, was a bit of dilly-dallying in the huddle in the last three minutes of the game. It took them 35 seconds to get off next to the last play of the game.

The game, which was supposed to have been a tremendous offensive contest, actually resolved itself into more of a defensive game, and the Tigers had nothing to be ashamed of.

They were superior to McKinley on both offense and defense.

The locals who rolled to nine first downs the first half only got three the second half, but still out-gained McKinley in net yardage from running and passing plays the last two periods, 54 to 52.
* * *
CANTON McKINLEY’S vaunted offense, which had been rolling along at an average of over 400 yards a gained, was held to a net gain of 62 yards, while the Tigers rolled up 194 net yards rushing and passing. Deduct 52 yards on two passes from center that went over the punter’s head and you still have 142 net yards from scrimmage to the Bulldogs; 69 – and Canton called the game a defensive victory for the Bulldogs.

Actually the victory was a gift to McKinley for both touchdowns were donated. No blame should be placed on the centers responsible for the passes. Both felt the world had fallen in on them at the end of the contest. It should be pointed out that they were handling a slippery ball and that a center in modern T football has little opportunity to actually pass the ball 10 yards or more under game conditions.

They practice it often but get little actual game experience because the Tigers seldom punt more than once or twice.

In fact, we saw two poor center passes, one of which resulted in a blocked kick, in a recent professional football game.

The breaks just came at inopportune moments and although the decision of the contest rode on them we haven’t heard anyone criticize either player.

Furthermore, an examination of movies of the game failed to substantiate a report that on both occasions a McKinley player had bumped the ball or put pressure on the centers. McKinley in no way contributed to the play.

The first touchdown was presented in the opening period of play with the Tigers in possession of the ball on their own 36-yard line, fourth down and nine to go.

Dave Archibald dropped back to punt and Tom Spicer’s pass from center soared over his head. Archibald took after the ball and it rolled to the three-yard line before he could get on it.
* * *
IT TOOK NAP Barbosa three whacks at the line to get over but he made it on the third attempt and Nate Harris kicked the extra point to put McKinley ahead 7-0.

The Tigers tied it up by taking the kickoff and gallantly marching 79 yards on 18 plays to score. While doing so they were helped along by 20 yards in penalties which actually were more than nullified by 25 yards in penalties assessed against them.

Don Duke scored the T.D. from the two-yard line with eight minutes and 10 seconds remaining in the second period John Kasunick kicked the extra point a high boot that tied the score at 7-7.

The Bulldogs got their second touchdown without effort in the second minute of the fourth quarter. The Tigers had gotten themselves into a hole when Ivory Benjamin fumbled a punt and Canton covered it on the Tigers’ 45.

Dave Archibald got the ball back for Massillon when he intercepted a Barbosa pass and was downed on the 20.
* * *
THROWN BACK a yard by the Bulldgos in three downs, Archibald again tried to punt. This time Jim Dowd was centering the ball. His pass, like that of Spicer’s was high and soared over Archibald’s head and into the end zone. Archibald dove for the ball and so did two Canton players. Bill White got on it for a touchdown. Harris missed the extra point and that ended the scoring.

Except for the Tigers’ long touchdown drive, neither team threatened seriously from scrimmage.

The Tigers came within striking distance on only two other occasions. The first time they got the ball in the second half they worked to the Bulldog 32-yard line where they surrendered the pigskin to Canton on a fourth down incompleted pass.

McKinley and Massillon both got into each other’s territory in the second period.

The advances were the result of good punt returns. Benjamin ran brilliantly to the Canton 39 before being knocked out of bounds but a 15-yard clipping penalty put the ball way back on the Massillon 31, an actual loss of 30 yards and a real blow to the Tigers who were hot at the moment for it was the first time they had gotten the ball after scoring their touchdown.
* * *
EVEN SO they marched with it from their own 31 back to the Canton 35 where with two yards to go and fourth down coming up they punted.

Ike Grimsley, returned brilliantly, lugging the ball back to the Massillon 47. Two five-yard penalties against the Tigers and a six-yard gain by Don Garman produced a first down on the 31. Barbosa passed seven yards to Jackson, who fumbled when hit hard by Bob Tracy and Dave Schumacher pounced on the ball for the Tigers on the 24.
* * *
CANTON MADE one other effort the last time it had the ball in the game. The Bulldogs aided by a 22-yard run by Barbosa, the best Canton gain form scrimmage, worked the ball into Massillon territory but lost it on downs on the 27.

Charlie Brown, Tiger safety man, had a possible opportunity to tie the score on this series when he almost intercepted a pass by Barbosa with what appeared to be a clear field ahead of him. He juggled the ball while going full steam ahead and dropped it.

That just about sums up the offensive maneuvers of the day.

The Tigers succeeded in stopping the highly vaunted McKinley offense with a special defense cooked up for the game.

They called it an eagle defense. The three men in the center of the five-man defensive line had the responsibility of taking care of five men in the McKinley line, tackle to tackle. Bob Cocklin, who has been a linebacker, and Jim Houston, who has been the defensive left end, changed positions. Tracy’s assignment was also switched. The ends and the two wing linebackers had the responsibility of holding in Bob Williams and Herman Jackson, the Bulldog ends, and they did a good job of it. McKinley didn’t dare to try its end around stuff and the ends had difficulty getting downfield for passes. Only three were attempted. One was intercepted, one was almost intercepted and the receiver fumbled the only one completed when tackled.

Likewise the three men in the middle of the line did excellent work. Ken Fisher started on defense as a linebacker for the first time this season but was knocked out in the second quarter and didn’t play any longer. He was replaced by Jack Butcher who played well.

Fisher was taken to the Massillon city hospital where he has recovered from a slight concussion and was to be released today.

His experience undoubtedly was missed by the Tigers offensively in the second half.
* * *
THE TIGER DEFENSE stopped Ron Carnahan, the Bulldogs’ leading ground gainer for the season, with a net loss of nine yards for his ball carrying efforts.

They had all the other backs bottled up until late in the third period when Barbosa began running from short punt formation. He gained 61 of McKinley’s 78 yards rushing.

His longest run of 22 yards was exceeded only by a 26-yard dash reeled off in the first period by Willie Long in the process of the Tiger’s touchdown drive.

Top ground gainer of the day, however, was Duke with 66 net yards on 20 carries.

The Bulldogs actually got off only 21 running plays, three pass plays and three punts from scrimmage (exclusive of penalty plays) during the game, while the Tigers got off 54 running, three pass and four punt formation plays.
* * *
CHIEF REASON for McKinley failing to get off more plays was inability to move the ball the first half and the Tigers controlling the ball for 10 minutes and 14 seconds while marching to their only touchdown.

In that drive they got the ball through a punt on their own 20. Brown made two yards and Duke four. McKinley drew a 15-yard penalty which put the ball on the 41. Brown hit for seven, Duke one and Long picked up five yards for a first on the Canton 48. Duke made two and James, running on an option, raced 13 yards to a first on the 33.

The Tigers were penalized five yards back to the 38 for offside. Long made two yards and the Tigers drew a 15-yard clipping penalty. A four-yard pass to Brown gained four yards but another five-yard penalty was slapped on the Tigers for offside, moving the ball back to midfield. There Long, running from fullback, sent 26 yards and Archibald in a two-yard plunge made it a first down on the 22.

Archibald carried two more times in a row, getting four yards on each try and putting the ball on the 14. The Tigers drew a five-yard penalty when Jim Houston jumped offside on the next play, but got it right back when a delay of game penalty was slapped on McKinley for a substitution.

Duke plunged to a first on the 11 and James went seven yards to the four.

Duke in two tries went over for the touchdown, getting two yards each time.

The play on which James did his running in this series was especially cooked up for the game. He flared out as though to pass but had the option of running if the defense dropped back. He gained 56 yards in the game and lost 15 for a net of 41.

The line-up and summary:
ENDS – Canary, Houston, Welcher, Cockling, Nagle.
TACKLES – Graber, Maier, Whitfield, Schumacher, Hofacre, Allen.
GUARDS – Fisher, Roan, Ertle, Tracy, Kasunick.
CENTERS – Spicer, Dowd, Gentzler.
QUARTERBACKS – James, Brenner.
HALFBACKS – Brown, Duke, Long, Radtke, Butcher, Benjamin, Washington.
FULLBACKS – Archibald.

ENDS – Williams, Jackson, Jack, Bryant.
TACKLES – Patterson, Rocknich, Infantides.
GUARDS – Clawson, Bell, Martin, Bender.
CENTERS – Perdue, White.
QUARTERBACKS – Barbosa, Grimsley.
HALFBACKS – Carnahan, Garman, Phil Martin, Martins, Fontes.

Score by quarters:
Massillon 0 7 0 0 7
McKinley 7 0 0 6 13

McKinley – Barbosa, White.
Massillon – Duke.

Points after touchdown:
McKinley – Harris (placekick).
Massillon – Kasunick (placekick).

Jim Houston
Massillon vs. McK - Throwback (Large) History

1954: Massillon 26, Canton McKinley 6

Tigers Win Battle For State Title
Massillon Gridders Smash McKinley 26-6; Await Final AP Poll


Having surprised their most loyal fans by the manner in which they lashed Canton McKinley 26-6 before an overflow crowd in Tiger stadium Saturday afternoon, the Washington high Tigers today awaited the result of the final press polls which determine the Ohio high school champion. The game had been billed as a battle for state title.

Ohio sports writers and radio commentators cast the ballots, and judging by last week’s voting (and despite organized efforts of one or more other high schools to lure votes) the Tigers are expected to be proclaimed state champs a seventh consecutive year.

The Massillon gridders ranked second, (behind Canton McKinley) in all three major news services last week, and should move into the No. 1 spot as a result of their convincing triumph over the state’s top ranked team.
* * *
THE VICTORY leaves Massillon with a 9-1 record which is the same status as that of Mansfield and Alliance high schools. The Tigers handed Mansfield its only loss, an 18-0 defeat and Alliance handed Massillon its one defeat 19-7. But Massillon also whipped the Bulldogs, the team that mauled Alliance 26-6. It was Canton’s second loss.

The Rutgers Hall of Fame trophy will be awarded the winner of the Associated Press poll, biggest of them all.

The Tigers were magnificent in their triumph over the Bulldogs.

Entering the game a seven-point underdog, the Massillon gridders tore into their Canton adversary with a determination that could not be stopped.

“They played like a team that wanted to be state champion,” Canton Coach Wade Watts, deeply disappointed, said after the game. “Homer Floyd was the difference,” he stated as he complimented the Tiger halfback for his great exhibition.

And Tiger Coach Tom Harp, with a lock of hair hanging over his forehead and a smile from ear to ear, said, “We thought we could do it all along. We knew we were playing a great football team and we prepared accordingly.”
* * *
THE MASSILLON line played almost flawlessly and the backs blocked well. The vaunted Bulldog ground attack was grounded and the Canton aerial fireworks stopped.

The 26-6 scored hardly tells the superiority of the Massillon team. You will find it better in the statistics which show the Tigers with 21 first downs to Canton’s six (two of the six came on a penalty and pass interference) and 446 net yards gained to 135.

The Tigers scored one touchdown in the second period, two in the third and one in the fourth. Canton’s only score came in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers actually lost what could have been three other touchdowns when a pass was dropped in the end zone, and the ball lost on fumbles as the locals were on the seven and three-yard lines while in possession of a first down.

It was a personal triumph for the youthful Harp who took over a tough assignment this summer without benefit of spring practice, and won nine of his 10 games.
* * *
HARP STEPPED into the big footprints left by Chuck Mather when he walked off to the University of Kansas last winter after winning the Ohio championship six consecutive years.

None dared to expect the ex-Carrollton high coach with only three years of experience behind him to win nine of 10 games and a possible state title in his first year.

He installed his own system at the start of fall practice and saw his team slowly catch on as the autumn progressed. By mid-season he pulled his first upset by downing Mansfield high, which had been favored to win by at least a touchdown. He got his squad up for that one, and he had them up again Saturday – and how.

Seldom have we seen a Massillon line play as the Tiger line did Saturday, or the blockers lower the boom on opposing tacklers with as deadly timing.

You can praise the backs for their hard running, but the guys who made it possible were, Robert Williams, Dave Canary, Ken Lorch, Bob Williams, Chuck Hill, Joe Holloway, Russ Maier and Tom Spicer.

They hit hard on offense and bolstered by Ronnie Moore, Jim Schumacher, Jim Houston, Tom Stephens, Bob Cocklin and Dick Fromholtz, plugged all leaks on defense.

As Floyd said after the game when asked how he felt: “Fine. The boys sure blocked swell for me today. I couldn’t have run without them.”

And how he ran!

He personally carried the ball 28 times, and gained 263 net yards, scored two touchdowns and intercepted two Canton passes.

His longest run, a 55-yard dash, went for naught as he fumbled when tackled on the
three-yard line, the ball rolling into the end zone, where Bulldog Horace Harris recovered for a touchback.
* * *
WHILE FLOYD put on a great show, the surprise to Canton was the hard running of Jerry Yoder. The Bulldogs had expected trouble from Floyd but Yoder made as much yardage as Floyd the first half and ground out the Tigers’ first touchdown. He carried 19 times for a net gain of 125 yards. Ronald Boekel was used sparingly. He carried only seven times and gained 38 yards. Rich Crescenze and Andy Stavroff each carried once, Rich gaining a yard and Andy losing one.

It all adds up to 426 net yards gained on the ground. Add to that 20 yards made on two completed passes, one of which went for a touchdown, and you have 446 net yards gained for the Tigers.

In containing the Bulldogs the Tigers allowed them but 86 net yards on the ground and 49 in the air.

The personal duel between Canton’s flashy halfback, John Goodrich, and Floyd which had been ballyhooed in some papers and by some radio commentators was a fizzle. Floyd was so far in front there was no comparison. Goodrich carried nine times for 43 net yards gained. His longest run went for 21 yards in the third quarter which followed a 40-yard bootleg play by Canton’s Ronnie Carnahan. The two plays netted 61 of the yards gained by McKinley.

The Tigers knew they had to stop Goodrich to win for he was the Bulldogs’ high point man with 119 points for the season.
* * *
McKINLEY never could get its offense rolling properly. Coach Watts said a head injury to Quarterback Jim Dreher on the very first play from scrimmage which forced him out the rest of the game hurt to some extent since he counts the cadence of the Canton team, but Watts hastened to say that he did not want to take anything away from the Massillon victory. Dreher got jolted by Floyd’s knee when he tackled him.

The Bulldogs’ only effort in the first half came on a long pass to Herman Jackson following a 15-yard penalty slapped on the Tigers for unnecessary roughness. Canton was offside on the pass play, however, and lost what would have been a first down on the 17-yard line.

The Tigers on the other hand were a threat virtually every time they got the ball in their hands but still failed to score until only 55 seconds remained of the first half. Then they shoved over the first of their four touchdowns, Jerry Yoder going across from the one. Floyd scored both of his touchdowns in the third period and Robert Williams got the final in the fourth period on a five-yard flip from Crescenze.

Herman Jackson scored the Bulldogs’ lone touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 13-yard pass from Goodrich.

Andy Stavroff almost went to the Promised Land on the kickoff when he was clear at midfield, but lacked the speed to keep ahead of the pack and was felled on the Canton 43.

Floyd and Yoder smashed to a first down on the 31 but the attack fizzled out and the Tigers lost the ball on the 25.
* * *
McKINLEY quick-kicked on third down to the Massillon 21 and the Tigers got one first down before being stopped in midfield and forced to punt, Tom Stephens kicking to the 23.

The Bulldogs gained but one yard in three attempts and kicked out on the Massillon 38.

Yoder race 18 yards to the Canton 44 but Floyd lost the ball on a fumble, Goodrich recovering for Canton on the latter’s 38. Three plays would have ended in a net loss of a yard had not the Tigers been called for unnecessary roughness and McKinley given a first down on the Massillon 47 with a 15-yard penalty.

Then followed the long pass to Jackson for what would have been a first down on the Tiger 17 but McKinley was offside and penalized five yards. Three plays gained seven yards so Goodrich punted to Floyd on the eight who was nailed by Sheeler when he tried to cut after catching the ball.

Momentarily in the hole, the Tigers worked out as Yoder and Floyd got a first down on the 21 and Floyd ripped off 13 for another first on his 34. He gained sic more and then caught a pass from Crescenze that produced 15 yards and a first down on the McKinley 45. Floyd and Yoder carried to a first on the 30 but, after Yoder gained two yards, three Massillon passes were wasted and Canton took over on its 28.

Again the Bulldogs were forced to punt and the ball went out of bounds on the Canton 41.

This time the Tigers were not to be denied. Floyd, Yoder and Boekel, in that order made a first down on the 27. Floyd ripped through to a first on the four with a beautiful 23-yard run. Yoder crashed for three. Crescenze moved it almost to the goal and Yoder whammed over for the six points.

Morrow missed the attempted point and the clock showed 55 seconds left to play.
* * *
FOLLOWING the kickoff, Sheeler tossed 15 yards to Goodrich for the Bulldogs’ only earned first down of the first half. They tried it again but this time Holloway intercepted and ran back to the Canton 27.

With only five seconds left, Crescenze shot the ball toward Robert Williams in the end zone. It was on the tip of his fingers, but he couldn’t hand on to what would have been the back-breaking touchdown.

Williams was almost despondent in the dressing room during intermission. Coach Harp grabbed him as he headed for the locker room and told him to forget it, and every player slapped him on the back with the encouraging remark, we’ll get some more next half, while he sat weeping, head in hands.

And get some more they did.

They changed several blocking assignments the second half designed to free Floyd and Yoder, and they worked out just as hoped for.

On the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff Floyd almost got away, going 32 yards to the Canton 43. And Yoder in two attempts went to the 30, Floyd picked up two more, and when Canton spread its defense to meet the Tigers’ new blocking pattern, Floyd shot through the middle on a quick opener for 28 yards and the second T.D. of the game.
* * *
FLOYD GETS credit for the touchdown, but he was probably thinking of Maier and Hill on this play when he said, “I got some good blocking today,” for it was Maier and Hill who opened the gap in the Bulldog line that allowed Floyd to speed through for the points.

This time Morrow kicked the extra point and it was 13-0.

Floyd stopped Canton after the kickoff when he intercepted Goodrich’s long pass and came back to his 45.

Yoder startled the folks by immediately racing to a first down on the Canton 27 and Floyd in two carries had another first down on the seven. A lateral toss to Yoder was wide and Jerry couldn’t hand on to it, Canton ending the threat by covering a fumble on its 13.

Three McKinley plays only gained four yards so Goodrich booted to Floyd who was downed on his 43 with no return. Yoder on the first play went 21 yards to the Canton 31 and Boekel headed through center for 18 more and a first on the 13. A pass over the line was grounded but Floyd circled his right end for the third touchdown and Morrow kicked the 20th point.

That made the Bulldog snarl a bit.

Frasker Jackson returned Morrow’s kickoff well to his 31 and Carnahan on a bootleg fooled the Massillon team as he headed around his left end and went 40 yards before Fromholtz somehow or other shifted through a wave of Canton blockers and got him.

Now it was Goodrich’s turn to show what he could do and he went 21 yards for his best run of the day to the eight. But that was it.

Goodrich took it two more times, made three and wound up back where he had started. Carnahan tried to sweep his end and was thrown for another loss of 10 yards. A grounded pass finished the threat and the Tigers took over on their 18.

Boekel got a yard and Floyd three as the third period ended.
* * *
WHEN FLOYD failed to gain, Stephens dropped back to punt and got a high pass from center. He picked up the ball dropped it to his foot and gave a feeble kick after being all but down. The ball didn’t cross the line of scrimmage, just going to the 17. That gave McKinley another chance.

A pass to Sheeler was good for three and Jackson wiggled loose to reach the end zone where he caught a 14-yard toss from Goodrich for the Bulldogs’ only points. Canary broke through to block the attempted point.

Floyd got to his 42 with the following kickoff and on the next play went all the way to the three where he was overhauled by Bob Williams of McKinley. He fumbled when tackled, the ball rolling into the end zone where Horace Harris hopped on it for a touchback.

McKinley was given the ball on its 20, couldn’t get anywhere in two downs and for some unknown reason quick-kicked into the wind on third down.

The ball only went forward five yards, the Tigers taking it on their own 25.

Floyd in two carries got to the 13, and then to the five where Crescenze pitched over the line to Williams for the final touchdown of the game. Johnny James couldn’t get the ball down for Morrow so he tried to run for the extra point but didn’t make it.

Canton came back after the kickoff to move the ball to the Massillon 39 where Cocklin intercepted a pass and was knocked out doing it to end the threat with the ball on the 28. Two plays later the game ended.

The line-up and summary:
ENDS – Lorch, R. Williams, Houston, Canary, Francisco.
TACKLES – B. Williams, Hill, Blocher, Moore, Schumacher.
GUARDS – Maier, Holloway, Fisher.
CENTERS – Spicer, Morrow.
QUARTERBACKS – Crescenze, James.
HALFBACKS – Floyd, Yoder, Stavroff, Stephens, Fromholtz.
FULLBACK – Boekel.

ENDS – Sheeler, H. Jackson, Jack, Williams, Lancaster.
TACKLES – Kompara, Graham, Martins, Blackmon, Fohel.
GUARDS – Patrick, Bell, Clawson, Speroff.
CENTERS – Perdue, Fach.
QUARTERBACKS – J. Dreher, F. Jackson.
HALFBACKS – Goodrich, Carnahan, Garman, Grimsley, H. Harris.
FULLBACK – N. Harris.

Score by periods:
Massillon 0 6 14 6 26
McKinley 0 0 0 6 6

Massillon – Floyd 2; Yoder; R. Williams.
McKinley – H. Jackson.

Points after touchdown: Massillon – Morrow 2 (placekicks).

Referee – Dan Tehan, Hamilton.
Umpire – Jim Lymper, Mansfield.
Head Linesman – C.W. Rupp, Cuyahoga Falls.
Field Judge – Ted Jones, Chagrin Falls.

Individual And Game Statistics
Mass. McK.
First downs 21 6
Passes attempted 8 13
Passes completed 2 4
Had passes intercepted 0 4
Yards gained passing 20 49
Yards gained rushing 437 105
Total yards gained 457 154
Yards lost 11 19
Net yards gained 446 135
Times punted 2 6
Average punt (yards) 11 31
Yards punts returned by 4 0
Times kicked off 4 3
Average kickoff (yards) 41 51
Yards kickoffs returned by 97 22
Times fumbled 3 1
Lost ball on fumble 3 0
Times penalized 2 2
Yards penalized 20 10

Ball Carrying
Carried Gained Lost Total
Floyd 28 266 3 263
Yoder 19 132 7 125
Boekel 7 38 0 38
Crescenze 1 1 0 1
Stavroff 1 0 1 -1
—- —- —- —-
Totals 56 437 11 426

Goodrich 9 46 3 43
Carnahan 5 47 11 36
N. Harris 5 10 5 5
Sheeler 1 0 0 0
Garman 1 2 0 2
—- — —- —-
Totals 21 105 19 86

Homer Floyd
Massillon vs. McK - Throwback (Large) History

1953: Massillon 48, Canton McKinley 7

Tigers Smash Canton McKinley 48-7
Victory Should Bring Sixth Consecutive Ohio Title To Local School


Massillon today awaited the outcome of the final Associated Press poll which is expected to name the Washington high school Tigers state champions for the sixth consecutive year.

Writers among the 16,500 people who saw the Massillon gridders slash Canton McKinley to pieces in the first half of their traditional game in Fawcett stadium Saturday afternoon and win 48-7 are convinced the local team deserves the state crown.

The triumph was the Tigers 23rd in a row and completed two consecutive undefeated seasons. It was the 57th victory for Coach Chuck Mather and his staff since they took charge of Tiger football in 1948. They have lost but three games, one each in the 1948, 1949 and 1951 seasons. They also were undefeated in 1950. The win over McKinley likewise was Massillon’s 28th of the 58-game series that started in 1894. McKinley won 25 and five ended in tie scores.
* * *
THE TIGERS were terrific.

Program Cover

Their first half offense was the most devastating, most perfect we have ever seen.

You have probably heard and read most of the figures by now, but they are worth repeating here.

In the first four plays from scrimmage the Tigers got three touchdowns. It took them six plays to get their fourth, two their fifth and one their sixth. In other words, their remarkable offense produced six touchdowns in 13 plays from scrimmage. Anyone want to dispute their claim to state champions.

They rolled up a 42-0 lead in one and one-half periods, after which Coach Chuck Mather opened the gates of mercy and began giving his senior substitutes as much action as possible in their final high school game.
* * *
McKINLEY recovered a fumble inside the 15-yard line in the last two minutes of the second period and scored in the last second to produce its only points of the game. There wasn’t even time left for a kickoff.

Mather kept a flow of senior subs in his lineup throughout the last half. This and an improved Bulldog defense, coupled with fumbles and three penalties, held the Tigers to one touchdown the last half, that coming on a blocked McKinley punt.

The Tigers devastating play is revealed in their long runs and long passes for touchdowns and a vicious defense that kept Bulldog ball carriers nailed to the turf throughout most of the first half.

Offensively, there was an 80-yard T.D. run by Homer Floyd, three passes, all for touchdowns, (that’s all he threw the first half) by Dick Crescenze and some remarkable catches by Jim Letcavits, Tom Boone and John Traylor, good for 44 yards, 51 yards and 73 yards respectively. We can still see Wade Watts, Canton McKinley coach, bury his head in his hands after the last one that hoisted the score to 42-0.
* * *
IT TOOK just 32 seconds to get the first T.D. and perhaps we had better take time out right here to account for the six in 13 feature.

Massillon fans were the most surprised lot in the place to see the Tigers win the toss and then elect to kickoff. They always receive when they win the toss. But Saturday at Canton it was different. Coach Chuck Mather informed his Co-Captains, John Traylor and Bruce Schram that if they won the toss they should kickoff because he figured McKinley was better defensively than offensively and he would rather meet them in their weakest department.

It was the right decision.

Ron Boekel gave the ball its hardest boot of the season right into the hands of Nat Harris, the Bulldogs’ ball carrying ace. But Nat was hit so viciously he fumbled and Traylor pounced on the ball on the four. McKinley jumped offside before a play could get under way from scrimmage and the Bulldogs were penalized to the one-yard line. On the first play Crescenze sneaked through from his quarterback spot for six points and Tom Boone kicked the seventh.

The Tigers next got the ball through a punt that rolled dead on the 15. John Francisco put it on the 20 in a slash at right tackle. On the second play of the series, Homer Floyd broke through on a trap play, cut to his right and raced 80 yards down the sideline to score. That made two touchdowns in three plays.
* * *
THE TIGERS kicked off, then took the ball away from the Bulldogs on downs on the Canton 44. On the first play Crescenze shot the leather to Letcavits who made a brilliant catch, almost fell down, but steadied himself with one hand to keep on his feet and race the rest of the distance with Tom Boone removing the first Canton tackler from his path. That made three touchdowns in four plays.

It took a little longer to get the fourth. The Tigers started from their own 25 where they got the ball on a punt.

Traylor made three at left end, and Floyd ran for a first down but a 15-yard penalty was assessed for clipping. Traylor went for 13, Francisco for 10 and Crescenze made it a first down on his 48. Francisco got a yard and Crescenze whipped the ball 51 yards to Boone for the touchdown. That and the point that followed made it 28-0.
Only two plays were needed to get the fifth T.D. Joe Holloway crashed through to block Ken Bandi’s punt and Boone pounced on the ball on the six-yard line. Traylor carried it to the one, going over, but his knee touched a yard short before he laid his arms across the goal. Francisco smashed through with the score and it was 35-0.
* * *
ONE PLAY was needed to get the sixth. A quick kick by Harris rolled to the Tiger 27. Crescenze immediately winged the ball to Traylor who never broke stride as he caught up with it in midfield and raced the rest of the distance to give his team a 42-0 lead.

That just about wraps up the Massillon tale of victory.

In it you have all four backs and the two ends, scoring a touchdown each and with five minutes and 20 seconds of the period still remaining to be played.

Mather began pouring in substitutes, seniors and some juniors. Roy Johnson, a senior, who hasn’t gotten in a whole lot this year, took over the quarterbacking of the team, replacing Crescenze who did not return to the game until the last four minutes of the fourth quarter.

The Tigers fumbled the ball away to the Bulldogs the next time they got it, Canton covering inside the 15. With Sophomore Horace Harris doing most of the running, the Bulldogs marched to the one yard line where Harris went over just was the half ended. John Kompara kicked the extra point and that ended Canton’s scoring for the day.
* * *
THE TIGERS got one more touchdown when Ron Gardner blocked a McKinley punt late in the third period on the 16-yard line. He picked it up and ran across for the six points to end his football career in a blaze of glory. Ronnie has played mostly on defense. The touchdown, the only one he has scored, was just about the biggest thing that could happen to him.

The Tigers had other chances in the third and fourth quarter but penalties, substitutions and an improved Canton defense locked them out.

They were well on their way the first time they got the ball in the third period when McKinley covered a fumble on second down on the 14-yard line. They had what would have been a first down on the 15 had not the ball been called back because of a clipping penalty called against the Tigers and a personal foul against McKinley. The two nullified each other. Then Traylor ran to a first down on the five, but back came the ball again and another 15-yard penalty for clipping that necessitated the only Massillon punt of the afternoon.
* * *
THE TIGERS lost the ball to the Bulldogs on a fumble on the 38 early in the fourth quarter to end another drive. Then again they drove to what would have been third down on the four-yard line with a yard to go for a first down, but the ball was called back and a five-yard penalty slapped on for offside. That put it on the 18 and they lost it on downs on the eight. It was their last effort, for Canton held the pigskin the rest of the way.

So you can see where penalties and fumbles helped throttle the Tiger offense the last half.

The Tigers were just as impressive in the statistics as on the scoreboard. First downs were 13-10 in their favor and they gained 447 net yards to McKinley’s 114 net yards. They completed five of 10 passes for 205 yards. McKinley completed 8 of 13 passes for 49 yards.

The game had its heroes – plenty of them we would say – the 11 offensive starters and those who jumped in for defensive chores – all were in the contest up to their necks. The backfield boys have already been mentioned, but without the line in front of them they could not have shown so brightly. The Tiger forward wall literally tore the Bulldogs to pieces the first half. Give credit to a pair of great ends, Letcavits and Boone; to Bruce Schram and Ronnie Dean, the tackles; to Joe Eaglowski and Russ Maier, who filled in for the injured Ronnie Agnes at guard; and to Tom Fisher, center. And don’t forget Willie Longshore, Gardner, Joe Holloway, Bob Williams, Eddie Fletcher, Chuck Lentz, Ken Lorch, Andy Stavroff, Bill Stone, Carl Porter, Johnson, Jerry Yoder, Ray Byrd, Boekel, Dick Fromholtz, Al Shilling, Jim Woolley, Chuck Hill and Joe Lopez, all of whom had a part in the victory.
* * *
LIGHTS BURNED late in Massillon Saturday night as citizens and students celebrated the victory. The students held a victory dance at the school, citizens celebrated at parties about town and at country clubs.

Everywhere credit was given the team and Coach Mather and his assistants; Carl Schroeder, Paul Schofer, Lauri Wartiainen, Elwood Kammer and Dave Putts.

The questions most asked of them were why they didn’t pour it on; what was the argument over the ball; and was this your best team.

You have Mather’s answer to the first question – he wanted to give all seniors as much action as possible.

His face was red on the second. Crescenze came out of the game shouting, “They are using a rubber ball in there.”

Mather bristled: “They can’t do that,” and shouted to the referee, “Let me see that ball.”

He was shown the ball.

“It was leather,” said Chuck, telling of the incident. “There wasn’t much I could say.”
* * *
WE AGREE with Mather’s answer to the third question that it is difficult to say any team is the best in high school history, but we also agree that this year’s eleven certainly ranks with the greatest on the basis of its 10 straight victories. And we hasten to point out that its opposition has likewise been unusually good as a whole.

It you want to look at it this way, six of Massillon’s opponents only dropped a combined total of five games to teams other than Massillon during the season.

Fremont Ross was beaten only by the Tigers: Warren was beaten only by Massillon and Hamilton; Alliance by Massillon and Youngstown Urusline; Mansfield by Massillon and Warren; Steubenville by Massillon and Warren; and Toledo Waite by Massillon and DeVilbiss. Canton Lincoln lost but two other games in addition to that to Massillon. It was beaten by Alliance and Barberton.

Certainly, the Tiger eleven was one of the most poplar with Massillon fans. The ability of Floyd, Francisco and Traylor to break loose for a touchdown at any moment and the constant threat of Crescenze tossing a touchdown pass provided fireworks every night.

The team is in every sense of the word, a deserving champion.

The line-up and summary:

ENDS – Letcavits, Boone, Lorch, Lentz, Lopez.
TACKLES – Schram, Dean, Williams, Hill, Woolley.
GUARDS – Eaglowski, Maier, Holloway, Gardner, Shilling.
CENTERS – Fisher, Fletcher.
QUARTERBACKS – Crescenze, Johnson, Porter.
HALFBACKS – Traylor, Francisco, Longshore, Yoder, Stavroff, Fromholtz, Byrd.
FULLBACKS – Floyd, Stone, Boekel.

ENDS – Roman, Carter, Jackson.
TACKLES – Kompara, Crawford, Cerwinsky.
GUARDS – Wilds, Patrick, Graham.
CENTER – Perdue.
QUARTERBACKS – Dreher, Killians.
HALFBACKS – Bandi, Garman, Matthews, H. Harris
FULLBACKS – N. Harris.

Score by periods:
Massillon 21 21 6 0 48
McKinley 0 7 0 0 7

Massillon – Crescenze, Floyd, Letcavits, Boone, Francisco, Traylor, Gardner.
McKinley – H. Harris.

Points after touchdown:
Massillon – Boone 6 (placekicks).
McKinley – Kompara (placekick).

Mass. McK.
First downs 13 10
Passes attempted 10 13
Passes completed 5 8
Had passes intercepted 0 0
Yards gained passing 205 49
Yards gained rushing 244 122
Total yards gained 440 171
Yards lost 2 57
Net yards gained 447 114
Times kicked off 9 0
Average kickoff (yards) 42 —
Yards kickoffs returned by — 82
Times punted 1 8
Average punt (yards) 30 30
Yards punts returned by 7 3
Had punts blocked 0 2
Times Fumbled 3 3
Lost ball on fumbles 3 2
Times penalized 5 5
Yards penalized 65 22

Jim Lectavits