Chris Easterling|The Independent
MASSILLON Marcus Wattley hadn't even been hired as McKinley's head coach last year when he first had the rivalry with Massillon mentioned to him. In fact, it almost seemed like the Tigers were as much a topic of conversation to himin those early days as the Bulldogs themselves were.
Wattley, though, found out why soon enough.
"It's funny, I tell people all the time, The Game kept coming up during the interview process," Wattley said this week. "When I got hired, it came up in the first meeting I ever had. I was like, 'Why are we talking about all this stuff now? It's six months away.' Then you get to the game and you're like, 'Oh. That's why.'"
The "why" for both Massillon and McKinley arrives for the 131st time this Saturday afternoon at 2,at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. It may be earlier than normal,by roughly a month,and it may have a significantly smaller crowd, by almost 90 percent, than normal.
None of that will remove the one thing that arguably the greatest rivalry in high school football carries with it every time it's contested. That's the gravitas and emotion of a heavyweight fight for all of those involved. No one may feel that more than the individuals who are at the top of the organizational chart for both programs.
In either community, the results of that one Saturday afternoon can dictate perception as much as reality. Those who make winning the game a regular occurrence are lauded; those who don't, well, it become like a scarlet letter.
"The weight of The Game is heavy, and it's heavy all the time," said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose team has won the last four in the series. "You can either, you know, pray for lighter burdens to bear, which you just need to tap out and not show up. Or you can pray for the strength to bear the burdens that you're given. The Game is heavy. You have to learn how to deal with that."
It's a lesson that both coaches had to learn, in many ways the hard way. Both Moore and Wattley suffered losses in their first appearance in The Game, and both could easily point to a play or two which literally separated victory from defeat.
Moore's debut in 2015 saw Massillon take a 28-23 lead on Dakota Dunwiddie's interception return with 3:50 remaining. Three-and-a-half minutes later, the Tigers were on the wrong side of a 30-28 loss thanks to Dominique Robinson's heroics.
Wattley's debut a year ago ended up a wider margin, with Massillon winning 24-14. However, with three minutes left, McKinley had the ball at the Tiger 17 trailing by three, but a fourth-down pass was batted down ending McKinley's last, best chance to win.
Moore's debut was followed up by four consecutive wins. Wattley has his first chance to rinse away the taste of defeat Saturday, as well as learn from the experience of that game.
Wattley was a veteran of Akron's "Holy War" between St. Vincent-St. Mary and Hoban, as an assistant and then head coach of the Irish. Yet, that didn't prepare him entirely for what awaited him.
"I tell people, whatever you think your rivalry is, this is that on HGH and steroids together because it's just so different," Wattley said. "I think what makes it so special is that we're so close, the tradition's so back and forth. It's two towns, you're stuck with each other. You can't Google McKinley and not find something about Massillon. You can't Google Massillon and not find something about McKinley. For me it was, you're trying to prepare and you're trying to prepare, but you don't realize there's a lot of stuff that comes up that week that doesn't come up any other week or in any other rivalry I've been a part of."
That, however, is part of the growing process a coach must go through as they grow in The Game. It's a balancing act that doesn't limit itself to just one week a year, but exists all 365 days.
It's there in the dead of winter when the teams are just starting their offseason training. It's there in the heat of August when they're just starting their preseason practice.
And it's most certainly there at 2 p.m. on the Saturday of The Game.
"You've got to perform under that pressure," Moore said. "You can't minimize it. You can't pretend it doesn't exist. It's there and it's heavy. You have to play great football with that and in spite of that. You have to play with great strength of will and great strength of character."
Reach Chris at email@example.com.
On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE
- Why Celebs and Athletes Are Embracing Blood Flow Restriction Training - menshealth.com - September 23rd, 2020
- How Much Time Will HGH Takes to Work in Your Body - Newswire - July 30th, 2020
- What is intermittent fasting and what to actually eat while intermittent fasting - Lifestyle Asia - July 4th, 2020
- Nutrionist Non-Confidential: what to actually eat while intermittent fasting - Lifestyle Asia - July 4th, 2020
- Cung Le looks back on drug-testing fiasco with UFC: They threw me under the bus - BJPENN.COM - June 20th, 2020
- Reasons Those Last Five Pounds Are So Hard to Lose - Gilmore Health News - June 20th, 2020
- The Basics of Intermittent Fasting - YouBeauty - June 2nd, 2020
- Why you Should Buy Clen and Kickstart your Weight Loss - The African Exponent - May 24th, 2020
- Hrithik Roshan fasted for 23 hours; here are its health benefits - The Indian Express - May 19th, 2020
- HGH Replacement Clinics of Florida: Choose Only the Best - South Florida Reporter - May 7th, 2020
- 3 Hormones That Can Help Speed-Up Your Weight-Loss - Men's health UK - May 6th, 2020
- Growth hormones have their use, but theyre no fountain of youth - ZME Science - April 30th, 2020
- Is HGH is Beneficial for Weight Loss? - April 22nd, 2020
- Can Growth Hormone (HGH) Make You Lose Weight? (FAQ ... - March 22nd, 2020
- Growth Hormone Benefits: Should You Take HGH Injections to Build Muscles and Lose Weight? - Globe Stats - March 9th, 2020
- Health Supplements Still Popular Even With Controversy - Gilmore Health News - February 29th, 2020
- Steroids? Cheds Love Island journey already has fans chins wagging on Twitter - Reality Titbit - Celebrity TV News - February 6th, 2020
- Want your kids to grow tall? Feed them with these foods - Pulse Nigeria - January 10th, 2020
- HGH A Natural Cure for Boomer Belly and Reversal of Somatopause - Fitcommerce - December 9th, 2019
- HGH Dosage For Weight Loss & Bodybuilding | HGH Vallarta - November 11th, 2019
- HGH For Weight Loss Cycle - Before And After | HGH.to - September 10th, 2019
- HGH For Weight Loss | HGH Injections For Sale In Vallarta - July 11th, 2019
- HGH for Weight Loss: How to Use It? | WorldHGH.com - May 3rd, 2019
- 9 Benefits of Human Growth Hormone (Along with Side ... - April 30th, 2019
- Infrared Sauna Weight Loss - What's the Skinny? | Jacuzzi ... - April 26th, 2019
- HGH for Weight Loss - hcgplatinum.com - April 15th, 2019
- HGH Weight Loss: Reviews, Deals, Discounts & Where to Buy. - March 12th, 2019
- HGH Weight Loss Package - 3 Month Supply - hgh.com - February 20th, 2019
- Soma Spray For Long Term Weight Loss | HGH.com - February 7th, 2019
- Does SeroVital hGH Work? A Sales-Free Review (Updated for ... - February 1st, 2019
- Weight Loss Supplements - Fat Blockers | HGH.com - December 26th, 2018
- Truth About Rapid Weight Loss - hgh.com - December 22nd, 2018
- HGH - Human Growth Hormone For Weight Loss And Muscle ... - November 27th, 2018
- HGH 30000 Nanos Spray For Long Term Weight Loss | HGH.com - November 11th, 2018
- Are HGH Side Effects As Serious As Diabetes, Cancer And ... - May 11th, 2018
- HGH for Weight Loss: How to Use It? | Jintropin.US - December 26th, 2017
- HGH Injections for Weight Loss in Women - Wellness MGT - December 26th, 2017
- How to Naturally Raise Your HGH Levels - mensfitness.com - November 27th, 2017
- Hydrox Slim For Rapid And Healthy Weight Loss | HGH.com - November 27th, 2017
- Help Me Lose Weight - HGH Doctors Prescribe HGH ... - November 2nd, 2017
- How Long Does It Take to Lose Weight on HGH - November 2nd, 2017
- HGH Benefits: Can HGH make You Lose Weight And Look Younger? - November 2nd, 2017
- HGH Weight Loss: The Shocking Truth Fullerton Personal ... - August 28th, 2017
- Seven Reasons To Engage In HIIT Workout - Guardian (blog) - August 18th, 2017
- Samuel Sanchez positive for hGH-stimulating peptide - VeloNews - August 17th, 2017
- Proventil inhaler coupon - Ventolin weight loss dosage - Bournville Village - August 17th, 2017
- 3 Week Rapid Weight Loss - HGH.com - August 1st, 2017
- HGH.com - Natural Human Growth Hormone Supplements - August 1st, 2017
- Charlie King on the hottest workout of the moment and why you should be doing it - Gay Times Magazine - August 1st, 2017
- Health & Wellness: 3 no-nonsense ways to kickstart a fitness routine ... - Williston Daily Herald - August 1st, 2017
- Weight Loss Patch, Burn Body Fat Patch, HGH ... - AgeForce - July 9th, 2017