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Akron Hoban wins its fourth straight state title

CANTON — No. 1 Akron Archbishop Hoban (15-0) used a 34-point first-half outburst on its way to claiming its fourth-straight state title Thursday night with a 42-28 win over No. 3 Massillon Washington (14-1) in the OHSAA Division II football state championship at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

The Knights are back-to-back Division II state champions after winning the Division III title in 2015 and 2016.

The two teams combined for 847 yards of total offense, surpassing the existing OHSAA Division II state championship game record by 29 yards.

Following the game, Hoban coach Tim Tyrrell was asked what made this team special compared to the previous three state championship squads.

“They went to another level,” he said. “All those teams in the past were great teams. The 2015 guys were the ones that got it started, 2016 was the group that capitalized and 2017 was a very talented group; but with this group, they went a step above and they were more consistent. This group played the whole 15 games and were very businesslike. It was a unique group and I was very lucky to coach them.”

Massillon opened the game with a promising first drive that spanned 11 plays and 59 yards, but the Hoban defense held and forced a turnover on downs at its 21-yard line.

In the next 12 minutes of action, Hoban scored 27 unanswered points.

Senior running back Tyris Dickerson opened the scoring for the Knights with a 13-yard touchdown run. The third-team All-Ohioan was the game’s leading rusher with 211 yards on 28 carries.

Less than two minutes later, Hoban reached the end zone again, as sophomore quarterback Shane Hamm scored the first of his two rushing touchdowns from 23 yards out. Hamm’s second rushing score came six minutes later, putting the Knights up 20-0. Following an interception by junior Devin Hightower on the ensuing Massillon possession, Shane Hamm connected with Tyris Dickerson on a 35-yard touchdown pass to put Hoban up 27-0 with over nine minutes remaining in the first half.

Massillon broke into the scoring column on its next possession. Junior running back Zion Phifer punched it in from one yard out to cap a four-play, 69-yard touchdown drive featuring a 42-yard pass from junior quarterback Aidan Longwell to sophomore receiver Jayden Ballard.

Hoban ended its first-half scoring outburst with Hamm connecting with junior tight end Caden Clark from 28 yards out.

Coming out of the half down 34-7, Massillon needed a spark and got it quickly with a successful onside squib kick. The Tigers quickly scored via Phifer’s second rushing touchdown from six yards out. The Tigers’ momentum carried to their defense, as they held the Hoban offense scoreless for the third quarter and over half of the fourth. A one-yard touchdown run from senior Kyshad Mack and a 67-yard touchdown pass from Longwell to senior receiver Aydrik Ford made the score 34-28 with 9:13 left in the game.

After forcing a fourth and three, Massillon was looking to gain possession and a chance to take the lead. Hoban brought out the punting unit just over the 50-yard line, but snapped the ball to the up-back who successfully gained a first down. Hoban carried the momentum into the end zone, scoring on a two-yard run by junior running back DeaMonte Trayanum, putting the Knights up 42-28.

It is Massillon’s fourth runner-up finish in as many trips to the state championship game.

Hoban joins Newark Catholic (1984-87), Cleveland St. Ignatius (1991-95), Maria Stein Marion Local (2011-14) and Coldwater (2012-15) as the only teams in OHSAA history to win four straight titles.

Attendance for the game was 16,213.

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