Massillon Head Coach Nate Moore on March 26th released the 2020 football schedule, all except for Game No. 1. Details of that one are currently being finalized by the organizers of a weekend classic that will be played at Canton’s Tom Benson Stadium, with the locals slated for a Saturday evening contest. Once again a challenging slate awaits the Tigers as it includes formidable powers Warren Harding, Austintown Fitch, Cleveland Benedictine, Cleveland St. Ignatius, Barberton and Canton McKinley, in addition to an expected national power for the opener.
Coach Moore holds a 50-15 overall record during his 5-year tenure at Massillon (28-2 over the last two seasons), including an 11-4 playoff mark in four appearances. The Tigers currently have a 21-game regular season winning streak and have recently advanced to consecutive Division 2 state finals games, losing to Akron Hoban in 2018 and Cincinnati LaSalle in 2019. Massillon was nationally ranked in the Top 50 during both of those years.
Here is a rundown of Games 2 through 10:
Week 2 – at Canton GlenOak – The Golden Eagles have fallen on hard times recently and hope to return to past success this year. Last season they finished 1-9 and have only won five games in the past three years. In 2019 the Tigers ran away with a 55-13 victory, scoring all of their points in the first half and rolling up 466 yards of total offense by game’s end. GlenOak has now lost four straight to Massillon and trails in the series 12-4.
Week 3 – Warren Harding – The Raiders made the playoffs last year and finished with a 7-4 record. But they lost to Massillon the regular season 47-7 and 55-0 in the first round of the playoffs. In the first game Aidan Longwell completed 15 of 25 passes for 200 yards, including a pair of touchdowns to Jayden Ballard. In the playoff game, the Tigers opened up a 27-0 halftime and never looked back. Running back Terrence Keyes led the way with 13 carries for 188 yards and three touchdowns. Warren is 35-19 over the past three years with two playoff appearances. They last beat the Tigers in 2015 and 2016, with quarterback Lynn Bowden, Jr. (Kentucky) leading the way. Massillon is ahead in the overall series 56-25-3.
Week 4 – Cleveland Benedictine – Massillon has played many games against the Bengals, mostly in the middle of the previous century. The Tigers own a 22-4-1 series edge, but Benedictine got the better of them in 2003 and 2004, the last time the two teams met. Benedictine was 10-2 last year, losing to Avon 49-28 in the second round of the playoffs. But most of their players are expected to return this year. Over the past five years they were 25-20 with a pair of playoff appearances.
Week 5 – Cleveland St. Ignatius – The Wildcats struggled last year to an uncharacteristic 5-5 record, but are expected to rebound to their state-power self this year. Ignatius last faced the Tigers in 2009 and has dominated the series by winning 12 of the 13 games played. They have a 42-16 mark over the past five years, with three playoff appearances. Included in that was a state runner-up in 2016, when they lost in the finals to Cincinnati St. Xavier.
Week 6 – Austintown Fitch – The Falcons were 5-5 last year, with a 55-7 loss to Massillon. This was yet another game that was over by halftime, with the Tigers leading 48-7. Terrence Keyes was the catalyst, rushing 16 times for 185 yards and four touchdowns. Fitch is 31-20 over the past five years with one playoff appearance. Massillon leads the series 18-8.
Week 7 – Bloomfield Hills, MI – The Black Hawks are a new addition to this year’s schedule. A member of Michigan’s large school division, they have not achieved success recently, with 2-7 marks in each of the past two years. Over the last five seasons they are 20-28, although they finished 9-1 in 2016.
Week 8 – Barberton – The Magics travel to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium for the second of a 2- game series. The Suburban League plans to restructure next year to fill out Barberton’s division, so this will probably end the series. Last year Barberton finished 7-3, but failed to make the playoffs. Included in this was a 49-24 loss to Massillon in one of the more competitive games the Tigers had last year. Terrence Keyes had a big night, rushing 30 times for 255 yards and five touchdowns. The Magics are 44-11 over the past five years with three trips to the playoffs. In 2017 and 2018 they produced undefeated regular seasons. Massillon leads the series 38-7-1.
Week 9 – at Wooster – The Generals return to the Massillon schedule for the first time since 1933. An odd number in their league produced an opening for the game, which is contracted as a 2- game series, the first at Wooster and the second at Massillon. Like Barberton’s league, the Cardinal Conference is also looking to add an eighth team, which will most likely end the series after next year. Wooster finished 7-4 last year, but lost in the first round of the playoffs to Avon 33-13. The Generals have a successful program, with a 36-17 mark over the past five years and three trips to the playoffs. But they lost in the first round each year. It is believed that by playing Massillon they will be better prepared for the postseason. The Tigers own a 14-5 advantage in the series.
Week 10 – Canton McKinley – The Bulldogs gave Massillon their sternest regular season test last year, losing 24-14. Terrence Keyes rushed for 141 yards and Aidan Longwell passed for 206, with nine passes going to Jayden Ballard for 114 yards and two touchdowns. McKinley did, however, advance to the playoffs, where they lost to state semifinal participant Mentor 34-13, and finished with a fine 9-3 record. McKinley is 39-17 over the past five years with four playoff appearances. However, Massillon has beaten them in eight of the last nine years and owns a 72-53-5 edge in the long-running series.