Rivalry week means make-or-break for some area teams


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As we approach the latter part of October in the calendar, that means that rivalry week in high school football is here. 

This year, bragging rights, trophies, and even league championships are on the line throughout the area.

Here’s a look at the biggest high school football games in Week 10.

Massillon vs. McKinley

We had to start off by talking about the greatest rivalry in not only the area, but in the nation. Massillon-McKinley dates back to the 19th century and 2021 will mark the 132nd meeting between the Tigers and the Bulldogs. Massillon comes into this weekend at 7-2 and winners of their last four games with their two losses of the year coming from Pickerington Central and St. Edwards. The Bulldogs enter the matchup against their arch-rivals one game behind the Tigers at 6-3 and winners of their last three in a row. Their losses came from the likes of Mentor, Austintown Fitch, and league opponent Hoover. Thanks to the expanded 16-team playoff format, both Massillon and McKinley both are sitting comfortably when it comes to making the postseason, but there is a little extra motivation in this edition of “The Game”. Whoever wins will guarantee the victor a top four ranking in their region, meaning home field advantage through at least the first two playoff games. Massillon may come in as the favorite record wise and winners of four in a row, but with the matchup being played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and with the home team being led by a coach in Antonio Walker, who not only has his team firing on all cylinders the last three weeks, but is making his first career head coaching appearance in the rivalry, you better believe there is going to be a fired up Bulldog locker room. When it comes to the Tigers and the Bulldogs on Saturday, anything can happen.

Jackson vs. Hoover

When it comes to high school rivalries in the area, a lot of people put Massillon-McKinley at number one and Hoover-Jackson at number two. This one might be the biggest meeting of them all. The Polar Bears and Vikings were two teams that no one believed would come out of the Federal League. But with Jackson going 7-0 to start the year and Hoover winning their last six in a row, shutting out opponents three times in the process, they definitely have proven themselves to be a force in the area. So much so, that whoever wins on Friday at Memorial Stadium in North Canton will win the Federal League outright. Expect two things Friday in this game, two teams that will be playing their best football all year and for North Canton to be rocking. 

Lake vs. Green

The Blue Streaks and Bulldogs will battle in Green Township as a pair of Federal League teams will fight for playoff positioning. Lake came into last week’s matchup against Perry losers of their previous three games, but with the Blue Streaks beating the Panthers in Blue Streak Stadium, they come  into their date with Green on Friday night with confidence. If they win that game, the Blue Streaks will have something that is oh so important going into the postseason, momentum. For Green, it’s all about defending home turf. They’ll look to their play makers such as quarterback Trevor Van Horn and wide receiver Trey Martin. 

West Branch vs. Salem

The West Branch Warriors are having a year that will go down in the record books. They come into the matchup with the Quakers at 9-0 and they aren’t just looking to win tonight and go undefeated. The boys from Beloit are looking to do something that hasn’t been done since 1994, win the state title. Standing in the way of the Warriors’ pursuit to perfection are the 7-2 Salem Quakers who are looking to spoil the fun on their home turf. 

Malvern vs. East Canton

In the battle of the hornets, Malvern comes in with the better record at 7-2 as they’ve won their last four in a row. They will take on an East Canton team who have won their last three in a row and are trying to pull off a huge upset in Hornet Stadium. Whoever comes out on top in this one, will have a momentum boost into the playoffs and could use that to carry them a few rounds into the postseason.

New Philadelphia vs. Dover

The biggest rivalry in Tuscarawas County and one of the biggest high school football rivalries in the nation will be a big matchup in 2021. Everything has been coming up roses for the Dover Tornadoes this season as they will host the rivalry this year and come into the game at 8-0. It seems as though they have all the momentum in the world. However, standing in the way of regular season perfection for Dover are the New Philadelphia Quakers. New Philly comes into the matchup winning four of their last 5 games and will be a little bit more fired up than usual to try and give Dover their first loss of the season. In a rivalry that is so rich in history, when this one is all said and done, expect the 118th meeting between the Quakers and Tornadoes to be a classic. 

Garaway vs. Ridgewood

Some of the best teams in the area record wise will battle in West Lafayette as 9-0 Garaway will take on 9-0 Ridgewood. The winner will take home the IVC title as the biggest matchup to watch for in this one is when Ridgewoods offense takes the field against Garaways defense. Ridgewood has put up 50 points or more on the scoreboard 4 different times this season and the Garaway defense shutting out the opposition 5 times. Expect a packed house at Ridgewood Generals Stadium and for the game to go down to the wire.