MASSILLON: It didn’t look like it for the much of the day, but “The Game” eventually lived up to its name in Massillon’s 37-29 win over Canton McKinley on Saturday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
Massillon (9-1) took advantage of early mistakes by McKinley and turned three lost fumbles into a 24-0 lead. Senior Brody Tonn threw a 7-yard touchdown pass on a fake field goal on the game’s first drive, and senior Kyle Kempt twice threw long touchdowns on the first play from scrimmage following a McKinley turnover.
Led by sophomore quarterback Eric Glover-Williams, McKinley (7-2) slowly bridged the gap.
After a Kempt pass went through Tonn’s hands late in the fourth quarter and was intercepted by McKinley senior Jeff Richardson, the Bulldogs stood 31 yards from the end zone trailing 37-29 with just over four minutes left.
Tonn redeemed his mistake by intercepting a Glover-Williams pass in the end zone while covering Richardson. The Bulldogs barely got another shot.
“It was just Brody being Brody,” Massillon coach Jason Hall said. “He’s our Mr. Everything.”
McKinley got the ball back with 41 seconds left but couldn’t get past midfield. Glover-Williams’ pass sailed harmlessly into the end zone as time expired.
Tonn, who like his fellow seniors, hadn’t beaten McKinley after the Bulldogs got the better of them three years in a row, raced for the game ball and was later named Player of the Game.
“I think I ran a 4.3 [40-yard dash],” Tonn joked. “The Bell has been in Canton for three years now. Our slogan all year has been ‘15 weeks,’ but this whole week was getting the Bell back and beating McKinley.”
This is a multigenerational rivalry with as much family history as any. In Tonn’s instance, Saturday was his chance to bring home a Senior Night win over McKinley that his father, Michael, couldn’t get in 1984.
“It’s almost unreal,” Tonn said. “My dad always told me growing up, ‘Your senior year, you’ll play McKinley at home.’ He always told me growing up, do it for me. Tonight was for my family.”
In addition to his interception and touchdown pass, Tonn also had three catches for 44 yards and a receiving touchdown.
Kempt completed 16-of-32 passes for 285 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. All three touchdowns were for at least 35 yards.
McKinley struggled holding on to the ball, but Hall wanted to keep airing it out and build as big a lead as possible. As it turned out, it was just enough.
“We wanted to keep the momentum,” Hall said.
“We were getting the looks we wanted in the secondary. They took some chances on their coverage and we were able to hit on them.”
McKinley coach Todd Filtz knows his Bulldogs couldn’t afford to give Kempt any more ammunition than he already had.
“You can’t give them one extra opportunity, let alone three of four,” Filtz said. “We gave them too many extra opportunities. They’re too explosive for that.”
Massillon senior receiver Gareon Conley had three catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Ryne Moore ran for 98 yards on 28 carries.
Glover-Williams ran for 141 yards and a touchdown and threw for 196 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Richardson had seven catches for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at https://ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.