The longest football rivalry game in in the state of Ohio is set for Saturday afternoon.
Despite the chilly temperatures and the rain, the Massillon Tigers and the McKinley Bulldogs will take the field at the new, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.
This will be the first time the teams will face off on the new turf since the original Fawcett Stadium was completely torn down, rebuilt, and renamed.
Last year the Tigers took the ‘W’, 21-19 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
Fans sporting black and orange and black and red will make their way to Canton to fill the 20,000 seats at Tom Benson HOF Stadium as the 6-3 Tigers look to take a win from the 8-1 Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs have fallen to the Tigers in three of the last four meetings.
The rivalry bleeds into both communities for a week of events leading up to the ‘big game.’
Canton Superintendent, Adrian Allison, told Newsymom.com the game represents so much history and means so much to both Canton and Massillon.
“Two communities with great history, two communities that are about eight miles apart,” explained Allison.
He added Bulldog pride floods the Hall of Fame City, “You see signs up along the streets, ‘beat Massillon,’ store fronts and businesses put signs up and a pep rally and parade through the city.’
Massillon Superintendent Rick Goodright explained Massillon pride can also be found everywhere you look.
““It’s a big deal to both communities. Certainly, our whole community waits around for this all year. Massillon is like a kid again at Christmas.”
The game, like every year before, is sure to bring fans from around the country as it continues to find national prominence.
Not to mention, a documentary detailing the history and significance of the matchup was recently released titled, “Timeless Rivals.”
While the competition is fierce, both communities have found a way to use the passion from both sides to help others.
From a blood battle, to a reading challenge and even a food fight, the communities go face-to-face any way they can.
“When you put all that together it really just talks about how these two communities have pride, how these two communities come together for a common goal and it exemplifies what we can do together when we work hard and have a common goal,” explained Allison.
Superintendent Goodright added his appreciation for getting to be a part of it all. “It’s an honor,” he explained. “Not too many people get to do it and I’m just glad I’m a part of it for the time that I’m here. It’s just always fantastic.”
But, as one could expect, the district leaders have very differing opinions when it comes to predicting a victor.
“Our plan is to reopen our new home Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium with a victory,” said Allison.
Meanwhile “We expect a victory, we’ve done pretty good as of lately and we expect to continue that,” added Goodright.
The teams will take the field at 2:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
Michaela Madison Reporting