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Akron Hoban advances to Division II State Championship after 17-14 win over Avon

PARMA, Ohio- On a freezing cold night up north in Ohio, Akron Hoban and Avon did not disappoint in a state semi-final matchup. You know the saying It isn’t over till it's over? Well tonight's game showcased that perfectly. Hoban ultimately won the game 17-14 after facing an uphill battle all game.

Hoban had the first chance to put points on the board. Freshman Kicker Jeremey Hammel missed a field goal that went wide right. Avon took advantage of this, scoring the first points of the game. The Eagles quarterback Blake Elder threw a pass into the back right of the end zone to wide receiver Cole Kepner for a 17 yard touchdown. Hoban later in the second quarter kicked a field goal to make things interesting.

After a slow first half full of errors and penalties for both teams each team came out fast in the second half.

“Yeah I think the biggest thing was just calming down and being able to make some adjustments offensively and defensively, we were able to keep our defense off the field more in the mid third quarter to the fourth quarter which gave them a lot of rest," said coach Tim Tyrrell. “We were able to get more of a pass rush and do some different things. You know there’s a lot we can do better, you know it’s week 16 and I rather be getting better then handing equipment in.”

Avon star running back Jakorion Caffey broke free for a 66 yard run and followed that up with a six yard touchdown to take a 14-3 lead. That would be the last touchdown of the Eagles 2023 season.

Xavier Williams for the second week in a row had a massive game. He started the game off with a 28 yard rush and then scored a 61 yard rushing touchdown that got the Hoban fans roaring. Xavier is starting to make a name for himself making big plays a regular thing for him.

“Man it just feels so good! First of all I wanna thank our O-line because they just kept pushing and pushing, we were down in the fourth quarter and they knew what they needed to do," Williams said. “I wanna thank our coaches for giving me the opportunities to show that I can do it and overall it just feels good.”

The play that helped Hoban seal the win happened when they were down 14-10 and Avon ran a trick play. Wide receiver Cole Kepner tried to throw a quick pass that was intercepted by Elbert “Rock” Hill. This play gave The Knights all the momentum they needed to get that final score for the win. Caleb Jones clawed his way into the end zone for the score that would punch them a ticket to Canton. Avon missed a potential game tying FG that clinched it for the Knights.

The Archbishop Hoban Knights will travel to Canton for a highly anticipated Clash against Massillon Washington on Thursday night. Both teams are highly ranked nationally.

The State Championship Kickoff will take place on Thursday, November 30th at 7 PM at Tom Benson Stadium.


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