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The Centurians
Leigh Montville
November 14, 1994
Massillon—McKinley is always Ohio's game of the year. This one was the game of the century
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November 14, 1994

The Centurians

Massillon—McKinley is always Ohio's game of the year. This one was the game of the century

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Both teams were 8-1; both were heading toward the state playoffs. Massillon, with 677 wins alltime, was the second-most successful football school in the nation. McKinley, with 637, was fifth. The Bulldogs were a slight favorite.

The 100th game.

From the moment NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr—Bart Starr!—flipped the coin at midfield, the game was an up-and-down offensive ramble. Spencer directed Massillon to one touchdown after another, and McKinley's McDaniels answered in kind. McDaniels worked a tidy game, alternating between running his big backs, Adrian Brown and Kinta Mitchell, and hitting 14 of 20 passes for 148 yards. Spencer was a roll-out wonder, rushing for 94 yards.

The overtime—after the Bulldogs had tied the score at 35-35 with 1:18 left in the fourth period—was almost too much for the crowd to bear. Massillon won the toss and forced McKinley to try to score first. On a fourth-and-goal at the one, the Bulldogs went for the touchdown instead of the field goal, and Mitchell pounded into the end zone. Then McDaniels missed the extra point.

"The snap was good, the hold was good, the kick was not good," his father said, emotion in his voice. "It's something you have to live with."

The Tigers then scored. Pribich kicked the extra point. The sadness of McKinley—kids in tears, Thorn standing with his hand on Josh's head—was matched by the happiness of Massillon. Spencer ran to ring the Victory Bell, the game trophy that had resided for two years in Canton. Rose looked as if a cast-iron overcoat had been removed from his shoulders. One day. One point. Part now of the continuum.

The 100th game.

"We were going to print 7,500 copies of the paper," The Independent's managing editor, Kevin D. Coffey, said, "but after Massillon won, we kicked it up to 10,000. In this town, if it has to do with the Tigers, people will buy it."

The papers began to roll off the presses just before 9:30. Most of the staff headed to the front office to handle the crowd. People came to the desk to buy four or five papers at a time, 50 cents apiece, to take home to friends. To save.

The car horns still could be heard. A three-block section of Lincoln Way had been blocked off, and people were walking between the Alibi Lounge and Coppers and Benders, carrying bottled beers and wearing orange and black and still hollering. At one end of the street a woman played a calliope in the back of a truck, the special calliope purchased by the Massillon boosters club. The song was Tiger Rag.

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