2020: Akron Hoban 35, Massillon 6
Hoban pulls away from Massillon for state title
MASSILLON The rubber match belonged to Hoban. So, too, did the 2020 Division II football state championship trophy.
Shane Hamm led Hoban to a 35-6 win over Massillon on the Tigers’ own home field Friday night.
Hoban and Massillon met for the third consecutive year in the playoffs, with Hoban winning for the second time in a state title game.
The game was played at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium because of a site change made the day before by the OHSAA. All six state title games this weekend were moved from Fortress Obetz outside of Columbus because of the Franklin County stay-at-home advisory.
That proved not to matter.
Hoban jumped on top early to run to its fifth state championship in six years. The only year the Knights didn’t win the title was last year, when they lost to the Tigers in the regional finals.
“This means everything since we lost last year,” Hoban running back Victor Dawson said. “We took that very personal. Our goal was to make it to the state championship and they just happened to be in the way. We finished our goal.”
Reaching that goal in a year where COVID-19 altered so much added to the achievement.
“With all of this, it’s crazy,” Hoban coach Tim Tyrrell said. “Coach (Nate) Moore (of Massillon) and I talked before the game and we were just hoping to get past September.
“It means a lot for both programs to be here and says a lot about how the schools and administrations work on both sides. It’s one of those years that you’re so blessed that these kids got to play high school football.”
Hamm, who has quarterbacked Hoban to three titles in his four-year career, threw four touchdown passes in the game — two to Kharion Davis. Hamm also accounted for a score rushing for the Knights, who finished the season 11-0.
Hamm finished the game 9-of-10 passing for 172 yards with the four TDs and one interception.
“You talk about Shane Hamm, you talk about the epitome of what a high school football player is and what you want a high school football player to be,” Tyrrell said on Spectrum News 1 following the game.
Massillon, which was playing in its third consecutive state title game, finishes the season 10-2.
“We didn’t a good enough job in a lot of places,” said Massillon coach Nate Moore, whose team was held to a season-low 32 net rushing yards on 28 carries and 136 total yards. “We didn’t get enough movement up front. We weren’t able to find big enough creases for our running backs in the run game, and everything really starts from there.”
The first quarter was all about Hoban’s control, starting at the line of scrimmage to allow running back Victor Dawson to get going. The Knights used that to jump out to a 14-0 lead.
Hoban’s offense was 2-for-2 on turning possessions into touchdowns in the opening 12 minutes. The Knights marched 72 yards on seven plays, capping the drive with a 2-yard touchdown plunge by Hamm with 8:01 remaining in the quarter.
After a three-and-out on Massillon’s first drive, Hoban went right back to work with another sustained march to the end zone. This time, the Knights capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive with an 11-yard Hamm-to-Davis scoring pass with 11 seconds left in the quarter.
Massillon capitalized on Hoban miscues, be it turnovers or penalties, to slice into the deficit before halftime. The problem for the Tigers was that they only managed to cash in once before the break — a 16-yard Zach Catrone-to-Caiden Woullard touchdown pass with 21 seconds left in the half.
The point-after kick, which was moved back 15 yards because of a post-score personal foul on Massillon, was missed to keep it a 14-6 deficit for the Tigers. It was the first missed PAT kick for Massillon all season after 46 consecutive made kicks.
That was one of two Massillon first-half possessions in Hoban territory. The other came thanks to an Austin Brawley interception that he returned to the Knight 25. But the Tigers gave it right back to Hoban on the next play, as Davis came up with a pick at his 8.
On Massillon’s first-half scoring drive, Hoban committed two personal fouls on hits to Catrone to keep it alive. The first was a roughing the passer on a second-and-9 play that put the ball at the Knight 27.
The second flag was for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Catrone, who scrambled on third-and-4 at the Hoban 21. Catrone remained down for a while. However, thanks to the Knights using a timeout, he didn’t miss a play.
“I got hit and I got back up,” Catrone said of the hit. “No one’s going to take me out of this game, especially in this stadium and it being my last game. I hurt a little bit, but at the end of the day, I knew my team wanted me out there. So I took it upon myself to find my inner self and get back up and get out there.”
Three plays after that penalty, Catrone hit Woullard to give Massillon momentum. That momentum didn’t last long into the third quarter, as the Tigers couldn’t advance on their first possession.
“We would’ve maybe not 100% needed that necessarily,” Moore said of not scoring on the first drive of the second half. “That would’ve put us in a really good position to come out after halftime and be able to put together a drive and score. We didn’t do it, and that’s putting our defense in a really bad position.”
Hoban turned its first second-half possession into a 21-6 lead. Hamm and Davis hooked up for a score for a second time, this one a 62-yarder with 8:48 remaining in the third.
Hamm added a 36-yard touchdown pass to Tyson Grimm on a fourth-and-7 play with 9:48 remaining in the game and a 12-yard TD to Chances Carter-Hill with 3:10 left. Tempers flared after the latter TD and a player from each team was ejected.
Hoban outgained Massillon 350-136.
Dawson ran for 145 yards on 21 carries for the Knights to compliment Hamm’s passing.
For Massillon, Catrone threw for 104 yards on 7-for-18 passing. Jayden Ballard gained 53 yards receiving on two catches. Martavien Johnson made three catches for 12 yards, while leading the Tigers with 28 yards rushing on five carries. Sophomore 1,000-yard rusher Willtrell Hartson was limited to nine carries for 24 yards.
“It was a blessing just to be here right now,” Massillon senior linebacker Xavier Andrews said. “Starting in July, we didn’t even think how far we were going to have a season. So, it was just blessing to play out the full season and get here.”
The Tigers fell to 0-6 in state title games in the playoff era, which began in 1972.