Tigers Top Bulldogs 23-13 in the 133rd War of 1894
Massillon quickly took a 21-0 lead and never looked back, knocking out Canton McKinley for the 7th straight time in the storied rivalry. After scoring on their first three possessions, the defense locked down and the Tigers outlasted the Bulldogs.
Massillon received the kickoff and wasted no time in making his presence felt. At third and nine of the McKinley 40, QB Jalen Slaughter teamed up with Ardell Banks to put the Tigers up 6-0 halfway through the first. The Bulldogs would get their first chance on offense and failed to land a first down. Massillon had possession of the ball for 11 of the 12 minutes of the first quarter.
Much like their first practice, the Tigers put together another 12-game practice on their second possession. After converting two fourth downs, Massillon handed the ball to Wiltrell Hartson, who ran a yard across the line for the score. A two-point conversion from Dorian Pringle extended Massillon’s lead to 14-0.
For the second straight possession, McKinley’s offense stalled and couldn’t land a first down. Slaughter found Hartson out of the backfield for 30 yards on their first play after the punt. Two plays later, Hartson netted one from five yards for another Massillon touchdown, putting the Tigers up 21-0.
McKinley eventually managed to break through a bit on offense but was still forced to clear. Then, for the first time of the day, the Bulldogs defense came through when Da’Vontz Lewis took out Jalen Slaughter. The two teams would trade punts, but McKinley would get one more possession in the half.
With time running out in the half, QB Keaton Rode was finally able to put the Bulldogs in the end zone. Rode was 4-5 on the drive for 63 yards, finding Alex Vazquez for a 40-yard touchdown with just five seconds left in the half. After 24 minutes, Massillon led McKinley 21-7.
The story of the second half was defensive, on both sides. Both teams managed to string together a few first downs on their opening possessions, but were eventually forced to punt. On Massillon’s punt, the Bulldog returner decided to try to make a play but was knocked down on his own one-yard line.
McKinley managed to push the ball towards the five but that was it. On fourth down, the center threw the ball well over Keith Quincy’s head, giving Massillon the two-point safety. With less than two minutes left in the third quarter, the score was 23-7 Tigers.
Massillon would take his next possession deep into Bulldogs territory but stop at 11. McKinley would go three and back against his own end zone. After botching their final kick attempt, Quincy launched a rocket that brought Massillon back to his own 14-yard line.
When they really needed it, the Bulldogs defense came in strong and forced a Tiger punt, keeping hopes alive for a comeback. With just under three minutes to go, Rode got the better of Quincy who brought him in for the five-yard touchdown.
McKinley would get several onside kick recovery attempts after several penalties, but Massillon was able to recover. Things would get very turbulent between the two teams towards the end, but the Tigers managed to miss time for the win.
The keys to the game
Massillon absolutely dominated the time of possession in this game. In the first quarter alone, they held the ball for 11 minutes. In the game, the Tigers doubled the Bulldogs in time with the ball. Wiltrell Hartson broke the century mark again and the offense won the battle at the line of scrimmage.
Defensively, the Tigers forced McKinley to throw the ball seven times on nine possessions, including three three-and-outs. Other than the blocked punt, they couldn’t force any turnovers, but kept the Bulldogs within 200 yards of offense. A stingy defense paired with a ball control attack could be important for Massillon going forward.
Despite dropping three points early on, the Bulldogs held on and kept him within striking distance late. Things got a little rocky towards the end, but McKinley stayed close and kept the Tigers out of the end zone in the second half.
The regular season is officially over and the Bulldogs finish 5-5. Despite the loss, McKinley will open the playoffs at home next weekend. McKinley will host Crosstown foe Canton Glenoak on Friday night at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
After losing their Week 1 battle with Archbishop Moeller, the Tigers have won eight straight and are the top seed in Region 7. Next Friday, Massillon will host his own Crosstown nemesis, Massillon Perry, at Paul Stadium. Brown Tiger.
Keaton Rode: 11-24 173 yards 2 TD
Alex Vazquez: 3 catches 60 yards 1 TD
Jalen Slaughter: 10-14 157 yards 1 TD 1 INT
Wiltrell Hartson: 35 carries 131 yards 2 TD
Massillon 5:50- Jalen Slaughter to Ardell Banks, 40 yards (not good shot)
Massillon 11:17- Wiltrell Hartson, 1 yard run (Dorian Pringle 2 pt. good)
Massillon 9:03- Wiltrell Hartson, 4-yard run (Nolan Hendricks kicks good)
McKinley 0:05- Keaton Rode to Alex Vazquez, 40 yards (Giancarlo Hernandez kicks good)
Massillon 1:44- Snap out of end zone, Safety
McKinley 2:41- Keaton Rode to Keith Quincy, 5 yards (2 pts not good)
Follow me on Twitter @devinlowe123 for more high school football coverage!