One of the reasons the Great American Rivalry Series chose this iconic rivalry as our 1000th game is because of its rich history. Starting in 1894, the Massillon McKinley game has brought some of the most exciting games and largest crowds to high school football. In the weeks leading up to the rivalry, the communities celebrate with giant parades, spirit week festivities including blood and food drives, joint gatherings of the two teams and bonfire rallies the night before the game.
Many coaches and players have gone on to remarkable college and professional careers. From this Rivalry, 50 players have been drafted into the NFL, accounting for 13 Super Bowl championships. 5 have gone on to become coaches in the NFL and two have been enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The rivalry has roots in commerce rather than sports. In the 1800s the Ohio-Erie Canal used to transport farm goods and commodities to market was routed through the center of Massillon and thus the town became the hub for commercial activity in Stark County.