Hoban Football: Leading by example


photo via Instagram

Around the country, high school football season has ended for the vast majority of athletes. Those still in pads and cleats, though, are ramping up the momentum of playoff runs on Friday nights. Supporters flock to stadiums, longing to see their teams make it to the coveted state championship games of lore. Conversation centers around little else beside the leading rusher or the final play. At Hoban, our football tradition and four consecutive state championships certainly fit into this national trend.

While Hoban’s 11-2 season was successful by any measure, it did not come effortlessly. During the last weeks of the season, many of the most influential playmakers were sidelined for a period of time, including prominent seniors Caden Clark and Demonte Trayanum. These injuries forced previously unrecognized players to step into the limelight, primarily junior Vic Dawson and senior Jared Mealy.

As head coach Tym Tyrell will attest, the football program utilized the concept of “next man up.” When a man went down, “[the team] says the word ‘next’. Tyrell stated that while it may sound inconsiderate, “it is a positive. [The team] moves on.” It indicated that one man is not greater than the family, and the greater good will ultimately prevail.

With a season filled with numerous ups and downs, Tyrell and the Knights constantly faced the dubious question “who’s the next kid in?” This continuous cycle led Tyrell to expect “the next kid in to be just as good as the kid who got hurt.”

With an injury-riddled season, the Knights still managed another NCL championship and a nine-game winning streak. Take for instance, the temporary loss of Demonte Trayanum. Junior Vic Dawson, a reserve player, took his opportunity and ran with it. Initially given playing time when “David Vincent [got] hurt,” he then “moved into the number two spot.” Trayanum’s injury forced Tyrrell’s hand again, allowing Dawson to become a 1,000-yard-rusher in only seven games. Dawson’s efforts illustrated Tyrrell’s “next man up” philosophy perhaps more than anything this season. 

While the Knights trampled playoff competition the last four years, fans were astonished with the tight 21-17 victory over Mayfield. After a season where 10 of the Knight’s wins had been by more than 25 points, such a tight game served as a shock to the system.

Tyrell believed “the biggest thing with the Mayfield game was… offensively we have just had a lot of success against them the past few years.” The players might not  have “[come] in and [taken] it as seriously as we needed to.” Like the St. Ignatius home game, the Mayfield competition served as an eye-opener for the seniors.

It came down to the last drive, a crucial play, and a necessary touchdown.  “[I] called the play, and the coaches agreed,” Tyrrell said.  He placed his faith in junior quarterback Shane Hamm and junior Kharion Davis made perhaps the biggest catch of the season.

“It was never a question if we were going for it or overtime,” said Tyrell. In a season where everything seems up in the air, the players stay devoted and their commitment deserves some recognition.

While all fans are disappointed after the Knights three point loss against Massillon at Infocision Stadium on Nov. 22, there is no doubt that the boys are looking forward to next season and setting their sights on a new streak of state championship runs.