• 39°

Massillon site hasn’t been kind to Ironton

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

MASSILLON — OK, enough with the trip to Massillon for the state championship game.
It probably didn’t have had anything to do with the outcome of Saturday’s Division 5 state championship game, but you’ll have trouble convincing Ironton Fighting Tiger football fans who are beginning to think this title game was lost on Thursday.
When the Ohio High School Athletic Association switched the site of the football state championship games from Fortress Obetz in Columbus to Massillon at the 11th hour, it meant the curse of Paul Brown Tiger Stadium was still alive.
Ironton has reached the state championship game 10 times since the playoffs began in 1972. Saturday when Ironton played Kirtland at Massillon it was the fifth time the Fighting Tigers have played the title game there.
And after a 38-0 loss, Ironton remains winless in Massillon as 2020 joins 1973, 1992, 1993 and 1999 as runner-up seasons.
Ironton played and won the 1979 state title in Akron against Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s, but lost to the same Fighting Irish program in the 1982 and 1988 finals at Ohio Stadium.
The Fighting Tigers 17-7 loss to Kirtland last season was not in Massillon, but it was held at its next-door neighbor at the Canton Hall of Fame Stadium.
The Fighting Tigers returned to Ohio Stadium in 1989 and beat Campbell Memorial for the state championship crown.
It’s time to move the championship games back to Ohio Stadium, and not just because it’s a shorter drive by more than two hours, but it’s centralized for the entire state.
And besides, Massillon’s cursed.
Ironton Fighting Tigers
State Championship Results
Year Results Site
1973 Cleveland Benedictine 38, Ironton 13 Massillon
1979 Ironton 7, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s 6 Akron Rubber Bowl
1982 Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s 21, Ironton 14 Ohio Stadium
1988 Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s 14, Ironton 12 Ohio Stadium
1989 Ironton 12, Campbell Memorial 7 Ohio Stadium
1992 Mentor Lake Catholic 31, Ironton 7 Massillon
1993 Wauseon 13, Ironton 10, OT Massillon
1999 Sandusky Perkins 16, Ironton 14 Massillon
2019 Kirtland 17, Ironton 7 Canton HOF Stadium
2020 Kirtland 38, Ironton 0 Massillon