MASSILLON — There will be players for Hoban who will be playing in their fourth state championship game on Thursday night. There will be no players for Massillon who will have played in such a contest before that night.
All of which has next to no importance for the coach boasting the team full of such title-game experience.
"I don't know if that's an advantage," Hoban coach Tim Tyrrell said this week. "Obviously, [Massillon coach Nate Moore] knows what he's doing. He's won a state championship himself and has had some great teams at a couple of different schools. I think it helps both of us, me and him, that we've done it."
Moore's title-game experience came the year before he arrived at Massillon. In his final year at Cincinnati La Salle in 2014, he led the Lancers to their first state championship.
Now, four years later, Moore is looking to lead the Tigers to their first title in the playoff era. While the title-game experience isn't something he puts a lot of credence in, he does believe there's a benefit to his current team from his previous team's run.
"Anything you're doing for the second, third or fourth time, it gets easier," Moore said. "Just because of the fact that you know what to expect, you reduce the amount of unknowns. So, from that standpoint, it's certainly good to have gone through this before. I think that will have an effect on our program, just because I'm not wasting my time and energy wondering what's next. I think that's a factor, maybe a small factor."
On that point, Tyrrell does agree about the prior experience. There are plenty of reference points in history where the "less-experienced" team in a title game has beaten the "more experienced" one.
However, it is in the days before Thursday's kickoff where the experience truly has a way of helping. For Tyrrell, it's about routine as much as anything else
"It was a simple routine, and the older kids all knew," Tyrrell said. "We watched film on Saturday and tried to fix some problems we had against Avon [in the state semifinal]. I didn't have to say anything, the kids knew they had Sunday night practice and film. That helps the routine side of things that the kids already knew what was going to happen and the parents knew, which is huge in high school."
The Sunday practices both teams had was in large part due to the fact the game is being played on Thursday night to open championship weekend in Canton. It's the third time in the last four years Hoban has been in that Thursday-night spot, including last year's win over Winton Woods for the Division II title.
Massillon, meanwhile, hasn't been involved in a Thursday-night game since a win at GlenOak in Week 2 of the 2016 season. Moore, though, said he sees that as a non-factor this week.
"Thursday doesn't both me," Moore said. "If the OHSAA said you guys are playing Tuesday, we'd show up and [Tuesday] and play. That's not really a concern for us. Whatever they put in front of us, we'll make a plan to treat that in the best ways that we can and prepare our kids the best way that we can and prepare to play the game."
That game, when all is said and done, is ultimately the only thing that matters. That's something Moore believes is the most important point to be made.
"The biggest thing is just being able to keep in the forefront that, at 7:30 [Thursday], we're going to go out and play a football game," Moore said. "The field's going to be 100-yards long and 53-and-a-third wide. It's going to be the same thing that we've done for the past 14 weeks."