Archbishop Hoban coach Tim Tyrrell and Avon coach Mike Elder know all about what the other guy’s football team looks like on film and in person.
Hoban and Avon met last year in a Division II state semifinal at Brunswick, with the Knights winning 30-6 en route to a third state title in a row on the heels of back-to-back championships in Division III.
The Knights (13-0) and the Eagles (12-1) will tangle for the second year in a row at the Brunswick Auto Mart Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday night with another spot in the Division II state final at stake.
Hoban is led by senior offensive lineman Nolan Rumler, senior running back Tyris Dickerson, junior linebacker-running back DeaMonte Trayanum, senior defensive back Matt Salopek, senior two-way lineman Jacob Petit and sophomore quarterback Shane Hamm.
Avon counters with senior quarterback Ryan Maloy, senior linebacker-running back Mark Steinmetz, junior running back Nick Perusek, senior offensive lineman Michael Bergen, senior defensive lineman Jack Roesch, and junior offensive lineman Joe Svec.
“Offensively, I think they are definitely better than they were last year,” Tyrrell said of Avon. “The majority of their players on offense came back this year. They graduated two linemen, but they always have linemen. I definitely think they are better than they were last year, and they were good last year.
"The Maloy kid at quarterback is playing at another level and the linebacker who plays running back for them, No. 39 [Steinmetz], is a very good player, too. They are running the ball a lot better this year. They are not just all passing like they were last year. Against a big Toledo Central Catholic team, they just physically beat them up [and won a regional title 37-22 at Clyde]."
The Eagles are solid defensively as well, Tyrrell said.
“Defensively, they run around very well. They have got three really good linebackers who are all back from last year. ... They are very strong and stout. The defensive end, No. 65 [Roesch], is going to the Air Force Academy. We thought he was a senior last year, but I guess he was only a junior. We thought he was the best D lineman we saw last year and unfortunately he is back.
“I think they are very, very comparable and on the same level as [Cleveland St.] Ignatius. I would think them and Ignatius would be about an even match.”
Hoban beat Ignatius 21-14 in Week 1 at Byers Field in Parma.
“They’re one of the best — if not the best — teams in the state of Ohio,” Avon coach Mike Elder told the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram earlier this week regarding Hoban. “And, I think nationally, they’d be one of the top teams. When it comes to players and personnel, they can line up and just bully people, and that’s what they do in a sense of being faster, stronger than the opponents. It’s nothing fancy. They just line up and believe their kids are better than your kids and push people around.”
Rumler is a Michigan recruit, Dickerson is headed to Eastern Kentucky, junior tight end-linebacker Caden Clark is an Alabama recruit, senior fullback-linebacker Quan Easterling is an Akron commit and Trayanum is fielding scholarship offers from schools such as Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame.
Hoban has outscored its playoff opponents — Mayfield, Garfield Heights and Maple Heights — this year 142-13.
“Their defense is physical and fast,” Elder said. “They feast off negative plays and turnovers. There’s never been a better collection of players on a team we’ve faced or played against.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com.