Avon's Mark Steinmetz walks off the field after the Eagles' loss to Akron Hoban. DAVID RICHARD / CHRONICLE
BRUNSWICK — All the heart in the world wasn’t enough for Avon on Friday night against powerful, talent-laden and unbeaten Akron Archbishop Hoban in the Division II state semifinals.
Hoban took the opening kick and drove 80 yards in seven plays to set the tone in the Eagles’ 42-7 loss in at Brunswick’s Auto Mart Stadium.
It’s the second year in a row the Knights ended the Eagles’ postseason run in the state semifinals.
“It didn’t start the way we wanted,” Avon coach Mike Elder said. “Our game plan was to shorten the game and try to maintain the football and keep this thing close going into the fourth quarter.”
Hoban had other ideas. Still, no one will question the heart and desire of the Eagles. They simply came up short of talent against a team with no fewer than six major college recruits sprinkled throughout their starting lineup. The Knights will face Massillon on Friday seeking their fourth straight state football championship.
“That first drive was huge, especially going against this strong wind,” Hoban coach Tim Tyrrell said.
“For us to be able to go and make some plays — we made some huge throws and huge catches on third-and-5. We were able to go down and get a touchdown against the wind which was huge. Avon is unbelievably coached and they have some unbelievable football players.”
The poor start wasn’t lost on Avon’s players.
“Against a team like that you’ve got to come out ready to go, have momentum and have some things go your way,” Avon quarterback Ryan Maloy said. “It didn’t happen and it paid off for them. I feel like I’m just proud of my team. I really don’t care who they have on their team. I’m proud of my guys and the effort they showed on the field.”
Last week, Avon jumped on Toledo Central Catholic, a similarly built team as Hoban, from the get-go and managed to withstand a huge third-quarter rally to win. But on Friday, Hoban scored the first two times it had the ball and made some ferocious hits on Avon’s first series.
Walter Ganous, a 350-pound junior tackle, put a huge lick on Avon’s best back, Nick Perusek, who was trying to come back after an ankle sprain suffered in the Anthony Wayne win two weeks ago. DeaMonte Trayanum made his impact felt on Joey Lance on the next play.
“We watch a lot of film,” Ganous said. “We work on our game plan to stop these kind of offenses. We made big hits and stopped their momentum.”
“They’re really good,” Elder said of the Knights. “At the end of the day, they’re fast and they’re big and they’re strong. It’s tough sledding out there but our kids battled and fought. You just have to score in the red zone and we didn’t every time. If you watched this game, there were a few times we had guys open and we had to have it or when their quarterback fumbled and the ball takes a hop right back in his hands. We had to be lucky and good. We weren’t good enough and we certainly weren’t lucky enough.”
Already down 14-0, Elder pulled out all the stops. He gambled on a fourth-and-6 from his own 44 but Maloy’s sideline pass to Jake Parker fell incomplete. The Eagles also failed on a fourth-and-3 at Hoban’s 24 when Lance came up short on a run.
There were also a couple of long pass plays to open receivers that were either dropped or thrown just a bit off.
“It was definitely a feeling out process,” said Avon linebacker/running back Mark Steinmetz. “They’ve got great coaches. They came in prepared. They definitely watched a lot of film on us. The chips just didn’t fall our way.”
Hoban’s two-headed running back monster of Tyris Dickerson and Trayanum — both headed to D-I colleges — finished with over 100 yards on the ground and two touchdowns each.
Avon tried to get back in the game with a drive to start the second half that nearly duplicated last week’s clinching drive against Central Catholic. The Eagles used 16 plays and took 6:26 off the clock before finally scoring on a clutch fourth-down toss from Maloy to Ryan Jones from 24 yards out. Nathaniel Vakos’ point-after pulled the Eagles to within 21-7 with 5:34 left in the third quarter.
But Hoban answered the drive with another TD to push the lead back to 21 then put plenty of icing on the win with two long scoring runs from Dickerson (85 yards) and Trayanum (78) in the fourth quarter.
The Knights rushed for 323 yards and 455 total yards.
“Second half, we knew they were going to come out and give everything they could to get back in the game,” Trayanum said of the Eagles. “We had to stay poised and resilient.”
“(Avon) was able to move the ball at different times,” Tyrrel saidl. “We got a little stingy when it came down to the red zone. Some huge plays on fourth down.”
Steinmetz finished a stellar career with 54 yards on the ground and another strong game on defense. Maloy threw for 122 yards.
“They’ve left a legacy and a mark on Avon football,” Elder said of Steinmetz, Maloy and the entire senior class. “Back-to-back final fours is nothing to sneeze at. Something we’re exceptionally proud of. We didn’t get that goal of winning a state championship but I’ll tell you, 12 years ago they laughed at me when I said that was our goal. No one’s laughing anymore.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Archbishop Hoban 42, Avon 7
Avon 0 0 7 0 — 7
Hoban 14 7 7 14 —42
H—Tyris Dickerson 43 run (Jacob Branham kick)
H—DeaMonte Trayanum 8 run (Branham kick)
H—Shane Hamm 2 run (Branham kick)
A—Ryan Jones 24 pass from Ryan Maloy (Nathan Vakos kick)
H—Matt Blanchard 18 pass from Hamm (Branham kick)
H—Dickerson 85 run (Branham kick)
H—Trayanum 78 run (Branham kick)
First downs 20 14
— by rushing 8 6
— by passing 7 6
— by penalty 5 2
Yards rushing 127 323
Yards passing 122 132
Total offense 249 455
Passes att./comp. 26/14 7/7
Intercepted by 0 1
Fumbles/lost 1/0 1/0
Penalties/yards 5/65 12/120
RUSHING—(A) Mark Steinmetz 20-54, Joey Lance 11-41, Ryan Maloy 14-30, Aaron Endizal 1-4, Nick Perusek 1-(-2). (H) Tyris Dickerson 11-160, DeaMonte Trayanum 8-108, Shane Hamm 3-29, Quinterius Easterling 2-16.
PASSING—(A) Maloy 14-26-122-0-1. (H) Hamm 7-7-132-1-0.
RECEIVING—(A) Lance 8-64, Ryan Jones 4-61, Joey Allen 1-2, Steinmetz 1-(-5). (H) Mason Tipton 4-78, Caden Clark 1-38, Matt Blanchard 1-18, Dickerson 1-(-2).