By CHRIS EASTERLING
Independent sports editor
CANTON The last time Massillon lined up against a team clad in red and black, Lyron Wilson put the Tigers on his back and carried them to a win.
During Week 5 at Steubenville, Wilson rushed for a career-high 234 yards. That total helped the Tigers to their first win at Harding Stadium since 1977.
On Saturday afternoon, Massillon once again faced a team in red and black.
And once again, Wilson helped to run the Tigers to a win, this time a 34-7 win over archrival McKinley at Fawcett Stadium.
“Lyron’s a tough kid,” Massillon head coach Jason Hall said. “It’s all about heart with that kid. He’s not the biggest, but he just gets in there and grinds. We have a one-two punch that we’re happy with.”
The senior running back gained 184 yards on 26 carries in helping Massillon beat its rivals on their home turf for the first time since 2007. It was his second straight 100-yard rushing performance — his only two since Week 5 —as he gained 105 yards in a loss to St. Vincent-St. Mary last week.
Wilson was part of the Tigers’ 218-yard rushing performance as a team. They posted their best per-carry average against a non-Canadian team since that Steubenville game by averaging 4.5 yards on 48 carries.
And for all of that, Wilson was willing to make room in the spotlight for a lot of other people.
“Our offensive line, I’m telling you, they blocked their butts off,” said Wilson, who now has 999 yards on the season. “Without them guys, I can’t do anything. The whole offense wouldn’t have been able to get 34 points. It runs through the offensive line.”
That offensive line did a bit of shuffling too when tackle Devin Williams went out of the game. However, one of the biggest strengths of that line coming in was the depth and versatility it possessed.
And facing a stout McKinley defensive front, that line was ready for the challenge no matter who was in the lineup.
“We just came in knowing they were pretty big up front and physical,” center Nathaniel Devers said. “They’ve done good in every game they’ve played so far. We just felt we were bigger, faster, stronger, and we had to take it to them up front.”
That line also knew that if it gave Wilson — as well as J.D. Crabtree — a hole to run through, they would get the yards as well. That’s part of the reason why the Tigers called designed run plays on 15 of the first 22 plays and 16 of the final 17 snaps.
“Lyron’s a great back,” tackle Chase Lash said. “Knowing that Lyron’s back there and knowing that he’s going to make plays, it’s just a great feeling. You love opening up those holes for him.”
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On Twitter: @ceasterlingINDE