HUDSON — On a snowy Friday night at Hudson Memorial Stadium, Archbishop Hoban found itself in an unfamiliar position.
A stagnant three-and-out by the Knights offense was followed by an eight-play, 70-yard opening drive by Garfield Heights that ended with a 24-yard touchdown run by Marlon Jordan and put Hoban in a 7-0 hole. It was only the third time this season the Knights have trailed in a game.
Enter Deamonte Trayanum.
The junior running back had just two carries in the second quarter, but they went for 39 and 13 yards, respectively, with each resulting in a Hoban touchdown. From that point on, the Knights dominated the Bulldogs for 444 yards and six touchdowns on the ground en route to a 41-7 win in a Division II regional semifinal game.
Top-ranked Hoban (12-0) advanced to play Maple Heights, a 44-14 winner over Painesville Riverside, at 7 p.m. Friday at a site to be determined.
Trayanum, who finished with 179 yards and four touchdowns on seven carries (25.6 average), wasn’t the only back who ran wild against Garfield Heights (11-1). Many of Trayanum’s big gains were set up by runs by senior Tyris Dickerson, who finished with 186 yards and two more scores.
Hoban’s two backs combined for 365 yards rushing; Garfield Heights had 159 total yards for the game. Sophomore quarterback Shane Hamm, who finished 7-of-11 passing for 86 yards, added 79 rushing yards.
“It’s kind of our forte when it comes to this time of year in this weather,” Hoban coach Tim Tyrrell said of his team’s running game. “We were going to live and die by running the football today. ... It’s special. We are very blessed to keep things fresh.”
Despite the offensive explosion from Trayanum and Dickerson after Garfield Heights’ early touchdown, Tyrrell credited his defensive coaching staff with sparking the comeback.
“I think coaches and players handled it well,” Tyrrell said. “The defensive coaches calmed down, fixed the problems and didn’t let them back in the end zone, which is huge.”
Hoban’s final drive of the night encapsulated their performance. Up big with time to waste, the Knights ran the ball eight times, with the shortest gain being 7 yards. Dickerson eventually ran it in from 10 yards out, his fourth carry of 10 or more yards on that drive.
For Garfield Heights, senior running back Isaiah Jackson finished with 69 yards on 17 carries, and Jordan added 80 total yards and a score.
Moving forward, Tyrrell said his team needs to focus on keeping its concentration during tense moments, saying the Knights had “a ton” still to work on.
“We have to focus,” Tyrrell said. “We have to shut our mouths a little bit more and play football. Celebrate together. That’s the biggest thing. We can’t let other people get in our heads, and that happened a little bit tonight.”