Top Teams by Decade

Over the 120+ years of Massillon football, 23 teams finished the regular season undefeated, 24 captured the state title and nine were named as the top team in the nation.  But certain squads within each decade rose above the rest, with arguably the best teams shown below:


  • Coach: Nate Moore
  • Record: 16-0
  • Points Scored: 618-116
  • Ranking: Division II State Champion

Notes: Massillon finished undefeated for the time since 1978.  Three nationally-ranked opponents dotted the 2023 schedule and presented a formidable task for the Tigers, while a win over all three would make the season special.  It all began with a 28-17 victory over Valdosta, Georgia, which holds the mark for the most wins in the nation.  Later, the Tigers defeated Lakewood St.Edward 15-13, repeating this feat from the previous year.  The defending Division I state champion Eagles went on to win their third crown in a row.  Finally, with a 28-7 win over St. John’s College, D.C., Massillon had successfully run the gauntlet.  Following a 35-0 shellacking of Canton McKinley, the Tigers ran over five playoff opponents before facing local nemesis Akron Hoban in the state finals.  It was two great high school defenses battling it out, with each team held below 200 yards of offense.  Massillon tallied in the second quarter on a 6-yard run by Mylen Lenix, only to surrender a safety later in the period.  The Knights, however, although stymied throughout most of the game, were in position to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, following a failed fake Tiger punt near midfield.  An errant 3rd down snap led to a 4th and 8 at the 17, setting up a Hoban pass into the end zone for the win.  But Dorian Pringle, who had returned from injury for the game, closed on the intended receiver and reached him just in time to break up the pass, securing both the game and the state championship.  The title was No. 25 for Massillon and the first in the playoff era.

2019 (tie for the decade)

  • Coach: Nate Moore
  • Record: 14-1
  • Points Scored: 605-177
  • Ranking: Division II State Playoff Runner-up

Notes: Massillon finished as the Division II state runner-up for the second year in a row after losing to Cincinnati LaSalle, which captured its fourth D2 state title. In the regional finals, Massillon avenged a 2018 state finals lost to 2018 state champion Akron Hoban with a 17-14 victory.  Eleven players were awarded all-county, eight all-district and nine all-state, all school records.  Quarterback Aidan Longwell set Massillon career passing records for yards, attempts and completions.  Jayden Ballard established a new career record for touchdowns receiving.  Kicker Alex Bauer also set new season and career records.

2018 (tie for the decade)

  • Coach: Nate Moore
  • Record: 14-1
  • Points Scored: 670-232
  • Ranking: Division II State Playoff Runner-up

Notes: The Tigers averaged 45 points a game behind all-time career leading rusher Jamir Thomas and a stellar offensive line.  Quarterback Aidan Longwell coupled with the most athletic group of wide receivers Massillon has ever had to score 32 passing touchdowns.  The Tigers lost in the state finals to unbeaten Akron Hoban, 42-28.  The 14 wins set a new single-season mark.  Jamir Thomas set new career marks for rushing yards, attempts and rushing touchdowns.


  • Coach: Tom Stacey
  • Record: 13-2
  • Points Scored: 488-204
  • Ranking: Division I State Playoff Runnerup

Notes: The Tigers captured regular season wins over Cincinnati Elder, Cleveland St. Ignatius (first win in the series), but lost to Canton McKinley, 38-8.  However, Massillon turned the tables in the playoffs, defeating the Bulldog, 21-3.  In the Division 1 state playoff semifinals, the Tigers came from behind to defeat unbeaten Lakewood St. Edward, 21-17, converting a 3rd and 30 during the winning drive.  In the state finals, Massillon  lost to  Cincinnati St. Xavier, 24-17.  Running Back Brian Gamble rolled up a record 2,505 all-purpose yards.  Paris McCall had a record 95.5 total tackles.  Brian Gamble had a record 60 unassisted tackles.


  • Coach: Lee Owens
  • Record: 10-3
  • Points Scored: 464-182
  • Ranking: Division I State Playoff Semifinalist

Notes: Massillon lost to Cleveland St. Ignatius in the Division 1 playoff state semifinals, 14-13.  The missed PAT was at the Akron Rubber Bowl, which has a college-width goal post. Ignatius scored in the final minute of the game to grab the win and then captured the state title the following week with a victory over Centerville.  The Tigers had a pair of 1,000 rushers in Travis McGuire and Falando Ashcraft.  McGuire (Ohio State) set a single-season record with 1,976 yards rushing and a single-game record with 302 yards rushing against Canton McKinley.  Ashcraft accounted for 1.353 yards rushing.  The team had a record 4,074 yards rushing with 56 rushing TDs.


  • Coach: Mike Currence
  • Record: 12-1-0
  • Points Scored: 369-110
  • Ranking: Division I State Playoff Runnerup

Notes: The Chris Spielman-led Tigers rolled through twelve straight opponents before losing to Cincinnati Moeller in the Division 1 state finals in front of 31,412 fans at OSU Stadium.


  • Coach: Bob Commings
  • Record: 10-0-0
  • Points Scored: 412-29
  • Ranking: Class AAA Associated Press State Champion

Notes: Massillon recorded seven shutouts.  Only Niles McKinley gave them a game, leading 3-0 at the half, but eventually succumbing 21-3.  The Tigers beat previously undefeated No. 3 Canton McKinley 28-0 in the finale to clinch their 24th state championship.  They also handed Sharon, Pennsylvania, their only loss of the year, 28-7.  Eight opponents suffered their worst loss of the year to the Tigers, three their second worst loss and one its third worst loss.  Junior Chris Spielman (Ohio State) led the Tigers in scoring, yards rushing, punt returns, recovered fumbles, pass interceptions and tackles (both solo and assist).


  • Coach: Leo Strang
  • Record: 11-0-0
  • Points Scored: 332-64
  • Ranking: Class AA United Press International State Champion; National Champion

Notes: Massillon played eleven regular season games and won each, including  21-20 over Parma and 7-6 over Canton McKinley.  The Tigers also handed No. 4 Cincinnati Roger Bacon its first home loss in three years, 12-0.They also defeated state No. 4 Cincinnati Roger Bacon, 12-0, handing them their only loss of the season and first home loss in three years.  Ironically, Niles, which breezed through a lesser schedule, was awarded the state title by the Associated Press.  However, Massillon was named both UPI state champs and national champs.


  • Coach: Chuck Mather
  • Record: 10-0-0
  • Points Scored: 407-37
  • Ranking: Associated Press State Champion; National Champion

Notes: The Tigers defeated three Top-10 teams, including No. 3 Barberton, No. 8 Canton McKinley and No. 9 Steubenville.  Barberton was unbeaten through eight games, but in spite of scoring first was felled by the Tigers 35-6.  Linebacker Chuck Vliet recorded 42 tackles against 58 plays (42 rushing, 12 passing) in a 23-6 victory over Warren Harding.


  • Coach: Paul Brown
  • Record: 10-0-0
  • Points Scored: 477-6
  • Ranking: State Champion by Popular Acclaim; National Champion

Notes: Following nine straight shutouts, Massillon recorded its 33rd consecutive victory with a 34-6 win over Canton McKinley.  Victories also included Weirton, West Virginia, which was captured their state title, Erie East, Pennsylvania, which suffered their worst loss in 20 years, and Toledo Waite, which had a 19-game winning streak shattered.  The Tigers also rolled over Kent State University in a preseason scrimmage.  So dominate were they that the entire lineup was awarded All-Ohio.  End Horace Gillom (Nevada/Cleveland Browns) and Tom James (Ohio State/Cleveland Browns) combined to score 158 points.  Paul Brown would later debate whether this team was better than his 1942 national championship Ohio State squad.  It was Brown’s last season as coach of the Tigers.


  • Coach: Paul Brown
  • Record: 10-0-0
  • Points Scored: 460-25
  • Ranking: State Champion by Popular Acclaim; National Champion

Notes: Brown’s 5th state championship team routed ten straight opponents.  So strong was the defense that they held seven teams scoreless and surrendered an average of just 58 yards rushing and 69 yards passing.  Quarterback George Slusser led the offense that averaged 478 yards a game by scoring 18 touchdowns and passing for another ten.  Canton McKinley was the only team to give the Tigers a competitive game, losing 20-6 in front of 22,000 fans.  Alliance lost 47-0 and finished 7-1-1.  This was the third highest-scoring team in Massillon history.


  • Coach: Dave Stewart
  • Record: 10-0-0
  • Points Scored: 379-28
  • Ranking: State Champion by Popular Acclaim

Notes: The Tigers opened the season with a 31-7 victory over Dayton Steele, erasing the bitter taste of a 68-0 loss to Steele the previous year. Against Cleveland Shaw, Massillon scored a TD and converted a drop-kick for the PAT with 27 seconds remaining to capture a 7-6 victory.  Shaw was led by former Massillon coach John Snavely.  Warren Harding finished 10-3, with close losses to Youngstown South and Youngstown Rayen.  But they lost to the Tigers, 46-0.  Over ten games, Massillon outscored their opponents 379-28, including 94-0 against Akron North, a scoring record that stood for 97 years.  Edwin “Dutch” Hill scored 34 touchdowns, a performance record that stands today.


  • Coach:  John Snavely
  • Record: 10-0-0
  • Points Scored: 318-35
  • Ranking: State Champion by Popular Acclaim

Notes: The 1915 team, which finished 8-1 set the tone for the 1916 eleven, which posted its first-ever undefeated-untied season with a 10-0 record.  In a game that featured 23 punts, the Tigers 0vercame a 7-0 first quarter deficit to defeat Canton McKinley, 16-9.  Following the season, Coach Snavely tried unsuccessfully to arrange a contest against another top Ohio team to support his claim that the Tigers were the best in the state.


  • Coach: Hap Fugate
  • Record: 9-0-1
  • Points Scored: 155-13
  • Ranking: State Champion by Popular Acclaim

Notes: A scoreless tie against Akron was the only blemish that year, as the Tigers failed to score in the second half from the one-yard line.  Massillon played Canton twice, winning 6-2 and 11-6.  It was the first time the Tigers won the rivalry game twice in the same season.  Massillon wrapped up the undefeated season by defeating New Philadelphia 21-5 on Thanksgiving Day in front of 2,000 fans.