If we played Notre Dame, I'd still expect to read in the papers that Masontown is favored,î Franks quipped.
As the 1950 season unfolded, Masontown was viewed as a dark horse for Class B honors. The front wall was strong and stubborn, but the Gunners were not a great offensive team. Still they went on to post a record of 9-1-1.
ìWe were tough defensively,î Former Gunner Max Tinti stated. ìWe rocked a few guys defensively.î
Masontown was involved in some very close games during the season including a 0-0 tie with Class A South Union in the second game of the season. That game ended with the Blue Devils stopping the Gunners Dick Glagola on the one-foot line on the final play of the game.
ìI was as much at fault as anybody was,î Glagola offered. ìI ran into my own player on the last play before time ran out, I just missed my hole.î
Masontown, with a 35 man roster, withstood some injury problems throughout the season.
ìI didn't play in four games,î Tinti said. ìLeroy Glover got hurt, Dick Glagola got hurt, Eddie Merti got hurt. We overcame the injuries, and we were a tough bunch.î
The Gunners tallied 126 points on the season and surrendered 26.
ìWe ran the single wing,î Pete Barkett said. ìAbout 90 percent was running plays, we passed very little.î
ìIt was all teamwork,î Tinti explained. ìI never heard anybody say nice going, because when we scored a touchdown 11 guys scored. It took 10 guys to get him in that end zone.î
ìWe won because of Pride,î Glagola said.
The lone loss was to Class A German 14-6. It was the first setback for Masontown in 25 games. They hadn't lost since Point Marion edged them 7-6 in the fourth game of the 1948 season.
ìWe didn't know what it was to lose,î Tinti said.
ìThat was a big rivalry,î Barkett recalled. ìThey had Buddy Ward and Jim Ford and Happy Ford scored a touchdown for German.î
ìWe really went at it with German,î Glagola said. ìWe didn't like each other.î
The architect of Masontown's success was Coach Franks who was entering his 17th season coaching the Gunners.
ìHis nickname the ìThe Old Foxî fit him well,î Barkett said. ìHe used psychology all the time, and it rubbed off what he was doing. He was very personable, and he really came across to the boys. He really stressed fundamentals. We did it over and over again until we did it to perfection.î
ìHe was tough on us, but he was fair,î Tinti said. ìYou would run through a brick wall for him, we loved him.î
ìCoach Franks was tough,î Glagola stated. ìBut as time went on you would run up against a stone wall for him. I know I would. We loved and respected him.î
Following the WPIAL Gardner points system, Aspinwall undefeated in Class B play, was awarded 139 points. Masontown finished second with 131 points, setting up a championship game showdown at Clairton. The Cavaliers came into the game as two touchdown favorites.
Things went bad for the Gunners at the beginning of the game.
ìEarly in the game, Charles Chepes centered the ball back to me,î Glagola recalled. ìHe centered it so hard that I bent my two thumbs trying to catch the ball and it hit me in the chest and went about 25 yards in the direction we were going, but they recovered and went in for a touchdown. We played hard and we came back.î
Masontown's defense shutdown Aspinwall's offense and the Gunners tallied a second quarter touchdown and scored again in the third quarter to notch the WPIAL Class B title with a 12-6 win. Coach Frank's coaching proved to be the difference as he came up with the right call when the Gunners needed it.
ìWe ran the single wing, I was a spinning fullback,î Tinti explained. ìWe ran a play called 24, it was the fullback spinner. I would get the ball and fake to the halfback and go off tackle. We must have run that play 80 percent of the time against Point Marion. Coach Franks knew that Aspinwall was there watching. We played East Beth the following week and we didn't run that play too much in the championship game against Aspinwall down at Clairton. I played the week before against German Township and hurt my back again.
ìI played three plays in the championship game; we recovered a fumble on about the 13 yard line in the third quarter. Coach sent me in and told me to run 26, which is where I gave the ball to the halfback. He said run 26 and 26 and then 45 double reverse. The first play I ran, I gave the ball to the halfback and three guys tackled me. Second play same play and three guys tackled me. They were looking for the spinning play. On third down, I gave it to Glover and he gave it to Joe Dufala and Fauster Vittone pulled out and threw one block and Dufala walked into the end zone. That was the ìOld Foxî and that's the same play he beat that coach with in 1940.î
It was the fifth WPIAL Championship for Masontown. They had won titles in 1937, 1940, 1945 and 1947.
ìWe were very proud that we won Masontown's fifth championship.î Barkett said. ìWe brought that plaque into the school and everybody was very pleased. The town really supported Gunner football.î
ìThe town always supported us, Tinti stated. ìWe had a great following.