Written by Massillon Proud patron: 22times
In a rivalry that dates back to 1921, and is the second longest only to Canton McKinley, the Tigers of Massillon will travel to Warren to take on the Raiders. In 76 meetings, the Tigers have won 50 of the contests', while the Raiders have 23 wins, and there have been 3 ties. Since 2000, the series has been very competitive, going 6-5 in the favor of Warren Harding, including a Semi Final playoff win by the Raiders in 2002. Massillon would finish that year 11-3, with two of those loss's coming at the hands of the Raiders. Warren would go on to play Cincinnati Elder in the State Championship game, and lose 21-19, finishing 14-1.
Most of this Rivalry was played in the days of the now defunct, AAC League. It included such teams as Steubenville, Niles McKinley, Canton McKinley, Alliance, Warren Harding and Massillon. It was one of the toughest Leagues in the State of Ohio, through the 60's and 70's. The series took a 12 year hiatius, before rekindling it old flame relationship in 2002. The last time these two teams met on the gridiron, was 2011, though, with Massillon coming out on the right side of a lopsided game. In a rain soaked game on a Thursday night, that saw an hour long delay before even starting, the Tigers jumped on the scoring wagon quick. They would end up rolling to a 24-7 victory, in front of 5,500 fans at PBTS. Neither team would make the State playoffs that year, as Warren would finish a dismal 2-8. That win gave Massillon a 7-1 record, but would go on and lose to Steubenville and McKinley in the final two games of the season, finishing 7-3 and in the 12th spot in the Computer Rankings.
This year, Warren has a lot of events planned, for their meeting at Mollenkopf Stadium.
It will be Warren Western Reserve night, and Harding will be the Panthers that night, and wearing the old Red Black and White uniforms. There will also be a statue dedication to Paul Warfield, who will also be on hand at the game that night. There have been rumors of other things planned as well, and we will only find out that night.
Harding has not started this season, the way they had hoped, losing the first week at home to Austintown Fitch, 48-0. They bounced back this past weekend, beating Warren Howland, 21-16. They currently sit 21st in the computer points, in Region 1 (unofficially) according to JoeEitel.com. Massillon has started out on an upside 2-0, beating Perry in week 1, and last week in 3 OT's, beating GlenOak. The Tigers are currently 2nd in the points, .05 behind North Ridgeville, in Region 4.
Keys to the game for Massillon:
Protect the ball- Massillon turned the ball over 5 times last weekend. This week in practice they will need to work on protecting the rock better, if they want to have any chance against Warren. Harding is not a team you can lose the ball to, and expect to come out with a win.
Make adjustments- Massillon did not make the right adjustment last week, as GlenOak keyed on the youth of Clark at QB, and blitz 90% of the game. Massillon will need to learn to make the right adjustments on the fly, to protect Clark, and move the ball better.
Finish drives- There were many missed opportunities last week, that Massillon stalled, or turned the ball over, while deep in GlenOak territory. This week, Massillon will need to finish these drives and score in order to stay in the game and not lose control.
Coach Hall has his work cut out for him this week, and the players will need to practice with intensity. Warren is not a team you can play around with, and Warren is not an easy place to go and play at. Hall has entered his 6th year as the Tiger Frontman. He has compiled a 43-18 record (through two games of 2013) and is 5-4 in the playoffs. Hall currently is 7th on the Wins list at Massillon, tied with Coach Cummings (43-6-2). He is only 5 wins behind Coach Rose (48-17) and 11 wins away from becoming the 4th winning-est Coach in Massillon history, putting him ahead of Coach Shepas (53-27).
Good Luck Tigers!!