That’s One Way to End the Regular Season : A Closer Look With Mark Miller
Photo Courtesy of WHBC

What a way to end the 2023 high school football regular season! With league championships and playoff spots on the line, week 10 is always interesting. Friday night we saw Canton South go 10-0 for the first time in the school’s history. (They had been undefeated before but only won 9 games.)

Saturday afternoon was the annual Massillon-McKinley extravaganza. Unless you have witnessed it, you cannot explain it to somebody from out of town. The only high school game to be given odds in Las Vegas and a point of discussion on the morning news out of Cleveland. This was the 134 th time the two teams have played and the atmosphere was electric. Good crowd, balloons, bands, orange on one side and red on the other – it was awesome! Those responsible for staging the game and surrounding events
are to be congratulated. WHBC did more than their part with a pregame show beginning at 11:00a under the ferris wheel in the HOF Village.

But the game itself was all Tigers. Massillon is more talented this year than McKinley and to stay with the Tigers on the scoreboard, the Pups needed to “play clean” – minimal penalties, turnovers and mistakes. They did not. While the Tigers won convincingly on the field, McKinley did win the annual “Food Fight” to benefit the Hunger Task Force as well as best food of the day for Coach Hall’s mom Venus and the spread she provided to us in the press box. Rigatoni, sausage, salad and Mississippi Mud
Pie (all homemade). Thank you, Venus! It was awesome! PS. I must mention Venus and I are proud 1974 Canton South graduates and good friends since our freshman year at Faircrest Jr. High.
And now the elephant in the room. The fight between players after the game. This was the ugliest game I have ever witnessed. There was no flow to it at all, mostly due to the 30+ penalties the officials called. Some may blame the post game fight on the penalties during the game but most of the flags were due to reasons other than lack of sportsmanship. I personally did not see any physical altercations between players during the game. Maybe some talking but no pushing, shoving or hitting occurred until
the players were lined up across midfield to shake hands. As usual, it was only a couple players from each team that made poor decisions. Many players, and all the coaches, did a good job of trying to break up the fight and restrain the kids that started it.

Nobody, wanted this kind of thing to happen, most of all Coach Hall and Coach Moore. Both of these guys believe and preach discipline to their players. Both coach by the rules and mentor their players to be upstanding young men. This fight did not occur because of anything the coaches did or didn’t do. Any of us that have been parents will admit, teenagers sometimes do not listen to what we say and make bad decisions, especially when emotion is involved. I hope the people that did wrong on Saturday afternoon (players and fans) regret their actions and take steps to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. High school sports are too good and too pure
for this kind of behavior to seep into our behavior. Let’s put this behind us and get on with the playoffs. God luck to the many Stark County teams that will be playing this Friday!