Tim Rogers

PERRY TOWNSHIP: At times, Archbishop Hoban looked like the reigning state champion it is.

And at times, Canton McKinley resembled a team good enough to reach the playoffs, which it was.

Hoban dominated the early going and most of the second half and posted a 42-14 victory in a game that was as disjointed as it was filled with big plays, mostly by the Hoban offense.

The game was played at Canton Central Catholic’s Lowell Klinefelter Stadium because of the renovations taking place at Tom Benson Stadium.

On the plus side for McKinley, it was a darn sight better than last year when it was humiliated 49-0 in Dan Reardon’s first game as head coach and shortly after the merger between McKinley and Canton Timken.

The Knights have now won 15 of their past 16 games heading into next week’s matchup with Lakewood St. Edward, the reigning Division I state champ.

Hoban, the reigning Division III state champion, got off to a torrid start as quarterback Danny Clark completed a 46-yard pass to Garrett Houser on the Knights’ first play from scrimmage. Three plays later Clark, an Ohio State recruit, threw a 6-yard scoring pass to Nate Bauer. The scoring drive took less than two minutes.

Hoban looked as if it was on its way to another 49-0 win when it took a 14-0 lead on its second possession behind the running of Pitt recruit Todd Sibley and junior William Collier, and the Bulldogs looked discombobulated on both sides of the ball.

After Hoban stifled a McKinley fourth-and-1 play by dropping McKinley quarterback Dominique Robinson for a 5-yard loss in Hoban territory, Sibley and Collier took turns gashing the Bulldogs’ defense and marched the Knights 38 yards in nine plays with Clark covering the final two yards.

McKinley’s offense got untracked at the outset of the second quarter after forcing a Hoban punt and eventually got to within seven points.

With Josh Chandler and Javon Lewis carrying most of the load, the Bulldogs went 46 yards in nine plays with Chandler, a transfer from GlenOak, going the final five yards to cut Hoban’s lead to 14-7.

Clark and Houser answered that with 52-yard touchdown on a third-and-10 play that boosted the lead back to 14 points following the third of five conversion kicks by senior Grant Kersh.

Undaunted, the Bulldogs regrouped and put together an 11-play, 80-yard march with Chandler again capping the drive with a 19-yard run in which he broke a few tackles at the line and scored with 2:14 to go.

McKinley had a chance to tie the score at the end of the first half after an interception by senior Zay’Breyon Perry put the ball at midfield with about one minute to go. The Bulldogs reached the Hoban 2-yard line, but Chandler was stuffed on a fourth-down play and time expired.

That was the last time McKinley threatened.

Clark completed 14-of-23 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound senior also ran for three scores.

In a workmanlike performance, Sibley finished with 170 yards on 31 carries and put the game out of reach with a 48-yard scoring run against a weary McKinley defense with 3:25 to play.

Houser finished with four receptions for 111 yards and Blake Bishop caught four passes for 29 yards.

The game turned on the opening possession of the second half when the Bulldogs forced a Hoban punt from its 32.

Hoban junior Kentrell Stovall forced and recovered a muff and the Knights were back in business, this time at the McKinley 37. Eight plays later Clark scored from the one, making it 28-14. McKinley never recovered.

With 3:09 remaining in the third quarter the stadium lost one bank of lights but the game resumed after a short delay and was played in reduced lighting. It didn’t seem to bother the Knights.