The Archbishop Hoban Knights will return to the Division Two State Championship game this year after defeating a talented but over matched Avon Eagles team 42-7 for their 28th straight victory. They used a combination of smothering defense alongside a high-octane running game to overpower the Eagles all game. The Knights will now play the Massilon Tigers in what should be one of the greatest high school football games in the history of the OHSAA.
All season long, they have used a powerful running attack and well-balanced defensive style to outmatch any team they face. Tonight, was no different as it was Tyris Dickerson rushing for 174 yards on 12 carries, scoring twice to catapult the Knights back into the State Championship game.
His running mate in the backfield Deamonte Trayanum was every bit as good, going for 104 yards on just 6 rushes, also scoring twice. Trayanum also leveled countless huge hits on the defensive side of the ball as well. This kid is a junior and it being scouted by almost every major division one college out there, and for good reason.
In the second half, the Knights only needed 8 total plays from scrimmage to put up 21 points. To get a game to a running clock in a State Semifinal’s, is nearly unheard of. They were that efficient, that good, and it is no wonder why they are going back to the big dance next weekend.
The Knights started the game from their own 25-yard line and wasted no time marching down the field to score. A 7 play 75-yard drive was capped off by a 43-yard burst by Eastern Kentucky commit Tyris Dickerson to open the games scoring. A two minute, fifty-six second masterpiece by the Knights. They had two key 3rd down conversion pass completions of 10 yards each from Shane Hamn to Mason Tipton.
After forcing an Eagles punt, the Knights went right back to work. This time, a huge 39-yard pitch and catch from Hamm to Tipton moved the ball deep in Eagle territory. Moments later it was Deamonte Trayanum rumbling in from 9 yards out to score. His 24th touchdown of the season on the ground, and it capped a 5 play 80-yard drive to increase the lead to 14-0.
The score would remain that way after one quarter of play was concluded. For the season through 14 games, they have outscored their opponents by 162 points in the first quarter. They have been that strong, that fast, that extremely good.
Shane Hamm kept the ball rolling along the next time the Knights touched the ball with another impressive drive. Hamm did it all with his arms and feet as they had no issues piling up the yardage. Hamm busted out runs of 9 and 12 yards on the drive, before pounding it in from 2 yards out. For Hamm, that was his 9th rushing touchdown of the season. The drive was a swift 6 plays in a little over 2 minutes. Hamm also hit Tipton for a 19-yard strike on that drive as well, to improve the score to 21-0.
The Knights would take a commanding 21-0 lead into the break. For the season, in 14 games, they only allowed a total of 94 first half points. An incredible average of 6.7 points allowed per game, in the opening half.
The Avon Eagles opened up the second half with the ball and looking to get back into it. It was a seven-minute drive covering over 70 yards. A beautiful scramble by Ryan Maloy to get out of the pocket led to him finding a wide-open Ryan Jones in the back of the endzone for a 24-yard touchdown pass to get the Eagles on the board. Maloy hit Jones earlier on the drive for a 16-yard strike as well.
The Knights wasted no time responding with a 50-yard bomb from Hamm to tight end Caden Clark to start the drive. That was helped by a 15-yard personal foul to follow. Two plays later the drive was capped off by a leaping 18-yard touchdown catch by fullback Matt Blanchard. All in all, three plays, one minute four seconds, total domination to extend the lead to 28-7.
Down by 3 scores with the clock doing them no favors, the Eagles refused to give up and began to mount another drive. The entered deep into Knight territory as the game moved into the fourth quarter. A 10-play drive saw them advance to the Knight 14-yard line. It would fizzle out however as Devin Hightower picked off Maloy in the back of the endzone, effectively ending any doubt.
The Knights decided to put their own exclamation mark on the game when Tyris Dickerson took the next play 85 yards to the house. Ending any and all question as to just how dominant this team truly is. At 35-7, fans and family headed for the exits. Those fans and family would miss another Trayanum touchdown strike, as he sped in from 78 yards a few minutes later to cap the scoring at 42-7.
Shane Hamm finished 7 of 7, for 147 yards with a touchdown. Hamm would also run for 33 yards and a touchdown as well. Hamm was the steady force tonight that kept the Eagles defense guessing, allowing huge holes to develop for his two star running backs.