Tyris Dickerson was a wide receiver for Hoban last year while Deamonte Trayanum only played linebacker.
This season the pair terrorizes defenses on the ground, combining for 2,272 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns as the focal point of the Knights rushing attack, which the Avon Eagles will have the daunting task of slowing down come Friday at 7:30 p.m. in a Division II state semifinal at Brunswick High School.
“I was very excited when coach (Tim Tyrrell) told me I was going to play running back this year because I knew I’d be able to contribute at that position,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson, a junior, gets the bulk of the work, racking up 1,596 yards and 17 touchdowns on 212 carries while also catching 16 passes for 218 yards and two more touchdowns.
That’s not to say Trayanum can’t handle a bigger load, but Tyrrell said they limit his carries because he’s one of the team’s top linebackers. The sophomore has made the most of his 99 carries, rushing for 676 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s also caught three passes for 31 yards and a score.
But it wasn’t always such a smooth situation. Both players said there was some adjusting. Dickerson said he worked a lot on his cutting and speed and Trayanum said they missed holes early, especially in their first game. It didn’t help that their Week 1 opponent was perennial state power St. Ignatius.
It didn’t take long to rebound, however, thanks to work in the film room and developing trust with their offensive line. Dickerson said he graded himself terribly after Week 1, but in Week 2 his vision got better and has only improved as the year’s gone on.
“You could tell both of them were really new,” Tyrrell said. “They looked like grade school running backs that kept trying to hit the sidelines and corners and bounce when there were some pretty big holes. They missed a lot early, but as the season went along they got better at pressing the hole and reading the blocking up front a little bit more.”
It’s safe to say that trust is rock solid because the pair has been unstoppable in the postseason. Both have hit the 100-yard mark in all three games with Dickerson racking up 167 yards against Mayfield, 195 against Brush and 126 in the regional championship against Barberton.
Trayanum has rushed for 353 yards in that same span — more than half his yearly total — with a high of 137 against Mayfield in the first round.
Both players are quick to praise their offensive line, which Tyrell noted consists of five players who were on the team’s Division III state titles the past two seasons in seniors R.J. Kelly and Cade Thomas along with juniors Jacob Petit, Jaden Baxter and Nolan Rumler.
Dickerson said the unit has strong chemistry and is very technical, making few mistakes.
“We’re just blessed with an offensive line,” Trayanum said. “The guys up front, they work hard. They don’t take a play off, they know their assignments and they give it their all. They live under the spotlight to give us running backs the spotlight. They work for us and we owe it in return to them.”