This Saturday at 2:00 pm Massillon and Canton McKinley will renew storied rivalry for the 133rd time in one of the longest high school football rivalries of the country.  The Tigers currently hold the all-time win-loss advantage with 74 victories against 53 defeats and five ties in a series that began in 1894.  The Bulldogs held the edge throughout the early history, but Massillon pulled even in 1950 with a 33-0 win.  Since that time, the Tigers have a record against the Pups of 49-28-0.  They have also won ten of the last eleven meetings.  This year match will be held at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, where the Tigers hold a 26-14-1 edge.  The last McKinley win at PBTS was in 2010.

The Book on Massillon

The Tigers dropped their opener against state power Cincinnati Moeller, 49-31, but have since reeled off eight straight wins.  Their signature win came in Week 5 against defending Division 1 state champion Lakewood St. Edward, which was ranked No. 1 in the state at that time.  After falling behind 14-0 early, Massillon rallied to take a 21-19 lead into the locker room.  After the Eagles went ahead in the fourth quarter and were in position end the game, linebacker Dorian Pringle stripped the St. Eds running back of the ball to give the Tigers a final chance.  Eight plays later quarterback Jalen Slaughter connected with Braylyn Toles on perfectly thrown 24-yard pass to secure a 31-28 victory.  The following week Massillon handed Austintown Fitch their only loss of the season, 49-28.  Nate Moore is in his eighth season as head coach of the Tigers and while there has compiled a record of 78 wins and 21 loses (.788), including a 6-1 mark against McKinley.

Massillon’s season:

  • Cincinnati Moeller (9-1): 31-49 L (lost to Lakewood St. Edward, 6-0)
  • Canton GlenOak (3-6): 35-7 W – (lost to Canton McKinley, 40-7)
  • Mansfield (7-2): 33-0 W (defeated North Canton, 42-9)
  • Warren Harding (2-7): 41-12 W
  • Lakewood St. Edward (8-1): 31-28 W (defeated Cincinnati Moeller, 6-0; currently ranked in the National Top 50 by calpreps.com)
  • Austintown Fitch (8-1): 49-28 W
  • Middletown, DE (3-3): 42-28 W
  • Canisius, NY (4-3): 42-7 W

Individual statistics leaders:

  • Rushing: Willtrell Hartson – 177 carries for 1,197 yards (150/game) and 18 touchdowns; leading scorer with 122 points
  • Passing: Jalen Slaughter – 83 of 158 (53%) for 1,295 yards (162/game) and 16 touchdowns, 3 interceptions
  • Receiving: Ardell Banks – 23 receptions for 510 yards and 7 touchdowns
  • Receiving: Kyler Wiggins – 20 receptions for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns
  • Receiving: Braylyn Toles – 19 receptions for 249 yards and 3 touchdowns
  • Defense: Dorian Pringle – 46.0 tackle points, 13 tackles-for-loss, 5 sacks
  • Defense: Cody Fair – 32.5 tackle points, 6.5 tackles-for-loss
  • Defense: Brandon Carmon – 9 tackles-for-loss, 5.5 sacks

Team statistics

  • Offensive points: 38 per game
  • Rushing offense: 198 yards per game (5.4/attempt)
  • Passing offense: 162 yards per game (8.1/pass attempt)
  • Total offense: 360 yards per game (6.4/play)
  • Run/pass ratio: 65%
  • Defensive points: 19 per game
  • Rushing defense: 80 yards per game (2.6/attempt)
  • Passing defense: 189 per game (8.2/pass attempt)
  • Total defense: 269 per game (5.0/play)
  • Run/pass ratio: 58%

Rankings

  • Computer Poll: Division II, Region 7 – 1st
  • Associated Press Voting Poll: Division II – 3rd
  • Calpreps.com computerized rating system: Ohio Division II – 2nd; National – 63rd

The Book on Canton McKinley

The Bulldogs started the season slowly, dropping their first four games, including losses to Mentor and Austintown Fitch.  But they then rebounded with five straight victories to take command of the Federal League standings.  During the winning stretch, they outscored their opponents by an average of 42-17.  The difference was the insertion of sophomore running back Nino Hill, an early season transfer from Alliance, and marked improvement from quarterback Keaton Rode.  McKinley’s signature win came in Week 7 when they defeated pre-season Federal League favorite Uniontown Lake, 36-26.  In that game, the Bulldogs were adept at maintaining possession of the ball with time-consuming drives and taking advantage of several Blue Streak mistakes.  Antonio Hall is in his second season as head coach of the Bulldogs and while there has compiled a record of 13 wins and 9 losses (.591), including an 0-1 mark against Massillon.

McKinley’s season:

  • Mentor (5-3): 21-34 L
  • Austintown Fitch (8-1): 14-38 L
  • Dublin Coffman (6-3): 26-28 L
  • Perry (4-5): 28-38 L
  • Green (4-5): 51-19 W
  • North Canton (6-3): 42-9 W
  • Lake (8-1): 36-26 W
  • Jackson (5-4): 40-23 W
  • Canton GlenOak (3-6): 40-7 W

Individual statistics leaders:

  • Rushing: Nino Hill – 119 carries for 971 yards (8.2/attempt) and 16 touchdowns; leading scorer with 98 points
  • Passing: Keaton Rode – 76 of 152 (50%) for 1,143 yards (127/game) and 12 touchdowns, 4 interceptions
  • Receiving: Cynceir McNeal: 31 receptions for 572 yards and 8 touchdowns
  • Defense: Kylier Jenkins – 7 tackles-for-loss; 6 sacks
  • Defense: Dante McClellan: 3 interceptions

Team statistics

  • Offensive points: 33 per game
  • Rushing offense: 211 yards per game (6.4/attempt)
  • Passing offense: 121 yards per game (7.2/pass attempt)
  • Total offense: 332 yards per play (6.6/play)
  • Run/pass ratio: 67%
  • Defensive points: 26 per game
  • Rushing defense: 185 yards per game (4.9/attempt)
  • Passing defense: 134 per game (6.5/pass attempt)
  • Total defense: 319 per game (6.4/play)
  • Run/pass ratio: 75%

Rankings

  • Computer Poll: Division I, Region 1 – 4th
  • Associated Press Voting Poll: Division I – unranked
  • Calpreps.com computerized rating system: Ohio Division I – 25th; National – 665th

Summary

Both teams have shown the ability score points with dominant rushing attacks and effective passing.  Defensively, Massillon appears to have the stronger rush defense, while McKinley holds a slight edge in pass defense.

For Massillon, they need to establish the run like they have in previous games.  Willtrell Hartson has shown that he can carry the load for the entire game and has become a bruising runner, while also having the ability to break the long one.  Also, the Tigers have been quite successful with their 2-back alignment by inserting 225 lb. Dorian Pringle or 205 lb. Peytton Mitchell along with Hartson in short yardage situations.  If McKinley decides to load the box, something they have not been prone to do over the past several years, the burden may then fall on Jalen Slaughter and his talented receivers to move the ball.  The bottom line is that the Bulldogs will absolutely need to stop the run if they hope to win.

For McKinley, they need to show a balanced attack.  Few teams have had success running the ball up the middle against the Tigers and only moderate success to the edge.  But Nino Hill has proven to be an exceptional runner, one who is fast and has the ability gets those extra yards in traffic.  But he alone will not win this game.  The Bulldogs also need production from quarterback Keaton Rode, who is adept at both passing and running.  That’s where Massillon’s devastating blitz package comes into focus, something that can take away the big play.  The defensive front is sufficiently big and talented to draw double-teams from the offensive linemen, which frees up the linebackers to put tremendous pressure on the quarterback.  In fact, this group is on pace to establish a new Massillon record for tackles-for-loss.   They currently have 64 TFLs along with 19 quarterback sacks.

Look for this game to once again be close at halftime and then decided in the second half.

dengelhardt