The Archbishop Hoban Knights did one better than its one-point regular season win against Walsh Jesuit, beating the Warriors 49-30 Friday in the OHSAA Division II Region 5 final at Tiger Stadium.
The regular-season double overtime thriller had nothing on the mid-November playoff grudge match, the 51st
The two sides traded scoring drives in the opening half. Hoban capitalized on an early interception when Sperling broke loose for a 17-yard touchdown run. Walsh Jesuit answered with a 17-yard score of its own by senior quarterback Matt Natale.
Hoban scored a touchdown with just over a minute before the half to make the score 21-14, but Walsh had a great return and managed to pick up enough yards for Cooper Kirda to kick a 32-yard field goal and boost the halftime score 21-17.
Hoban blew the doors open in the third quarter as Sperling put on a show to remember. A 36-yard pass from Knights junior quarterback Jayvian Crable set up another Sperling touchdown run, and after forcing Walsh to punt, Sperling had a 45-yard scoring rumble. On his next carry, Sperling went 61 yards to put Hoban up 42-17.
“He has great vision, he’s supportive of his offensive line and his fullbacks, he plays hard, he plays team-wise,” Hoban head coach Tim Tyrrell said. “He stays with his line and he stays with his blocks, and it’s hard to tackle him. He can bounce around inside that hole. It’s hard to get a clean hit on him, that’s the biggest thing, you don’t hit him square. Even the shorter yardages, he’s still falling forward.”
Tyrell added, “He’s got a lot of talent, he’s got a good offensive line. God made him what he is, but as long as he holds on to the ball I’m happy.”
Walsh Jesuit finishes 11-3. Hoban will play Avon in the state semifinal next Friday.
“We’re getting better,” Tyrrell said. “They’re playing really unselfish. Some kids that were seniors who started Week 3 didn’t start today, but they still came in and played. That’s what it’s about, it’s about being unselfish and our kids consistently have one goal when we get to the playoffs, and that’s trying to play in December.”