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Massillon Tigers vs. Canton McKinley Bulldogs: Previewing the 1,000th game of the Great American Rivalry Series

The rivalry lives on!
Credit: Brian Crane

CANTON, Ohio — This weekend, the Great American Rivalry Series (GARS) will celebrate their 1,000th high school football rivalry game. The milestone matchup will feature the Massillon Tigers and Canton McKinley Bulldogs..

“Our mission is to honor the heroes of the game, preserve its history, promote its values and celebrate its excellence everywhere,” said Rich Desrosiers, VP of Communications and Public Relations at the Pro Football Hall of Fame during a press conference Wednesday morning. “By everywhere, it means not only pro football, but high school football and all the values it teaches.”

Many legendary players and coaches throughout the history of GARS have played in the games, including Marion Motley from McKinley and Paul Brown from Massillon. The rivalry matchup is traditionally played on the last day of the Ohio high school football regular season.

The game will be streamed online Saturday from the Pro Football Hall of Fame Stadium. Will Osborne will be the color analyst.

“This has been a journey of over 18 years, and it is remarkable to be here with this game to talk about it,” said Rick Ford, the founder of GARS. “It is that intensity, importance and that relevance that makes the Great American Rivalry Series and the scholar-athletes we are honoring today so great.”

On Wednesday, GARS and the Pro Football Hall of Fame honored Canton McKinley’s Stefan Monahan and Massillon’s Nick Hatheway as scholar athletes for their accomplishments in the classroom and on the field.

Hatheway holds a 3.94 GPA and is involved in many extracurricular activities, including varsity wrestling and the National Honor Society. Monahan holds a 4.5 GPA and will graduate with two associate degrees from Stark State University.

“They have proven they are not only good on the field but good in the classroom,” said Ford while speaking about Hathaway and Monahan. “In fact, they are good as it gets this year for your team.”

Both Hatheway and Monahan will be honored prior to kick off on Saturday at the midfield.

They hosted a press conference Wednesday morning, which you can watch in full below:  

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In the past 15 years, nearly 1,700 athletes have been honored. 158 more scholar-athletes will be recognized this year.

Beginning Nov. 15, GARS working alongside the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will open a national voting contest to determine their 2021 Great American Rivalry Series Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame Team. This will be the second year voting is open to the public as 25 of the 158 nominees will be selected for the honors.

Voting will be open here: https://greatamericanrivalry.com/.

Those in attendance at the press conference included:

  • Rick Ford, Founder, The Great American Rivalry Series
  • Nate Moore, Massillon head coach & athletic director
  • Antonio Hall, McKinley head coach & athletic director
  • Paul Salvino, Massillon, rivalry alumnus
  • Craig McConnell, Massillon, rivalry alumnus
  • Lester Sanders, McKinley, rivalry alumnus
  • Adrian Allison, General Council & SVP of Human Resources at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, rivalry alumnus from McKinley
  • Scholar-Athletes from Massillon and McKinley high schools