My top 5 Hoban football games

photo via Chronicle Telegram

photo via Chronicle Telegram

The Class of 2021 has seen the continuance of a dynasty during their four years at Hoban. Since 2017, the Knights have just as many state championships as losses. Personally, I have found comfort and pride in watching Hoban football. From the cool fall breeze to the rhythm of opponent’s drum lines, Hoban football played a special part of my high school experience. In the past four years, Hoban logged countless blowouts, three state championships and a handful of nail biters. 


However, five Hoban football games will permeate my high school memory book forever.


  1. Hoban 35 St. Edward 0, September 5, 2020 

Going into week two of the 2020 season, the Knights still had more questions than answers. Could the defense withstand a legitimate offense? Would we see the prime-time Shane Hamm back like we did freshman and sophomore year? How would Vic Dawson and Lamar Sperling fill Deamonte Trayanum’s shoes? In their Friday night matchup against St. Ed’s at Lakewood High School, Hoban resoundingly proved they were a force to be reckoned with. From Dawson’s 70+ yard touchdown to Luke Bauer’s pick-six, the Knights put all of northeast Ohio on notice that they were back and seeking vengeance. 


  1. Hoban 42 Winton Woods 14 , November 30, 2017

On their quest to a third straight ring, the Knights faced off against Winston Woods in the championship bout. Winton Woods, who had lost only one game in overtime during the season, appeared the dominant team at nearly every position, beating perennial title contenders Massillon Washington and LaSalle on their way to the finals. In particular, the Winton Woods defense appeared as though it might cause the Knights some trouble. Not. Played at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the venue served as a historic backdrop to my first state championship game as a student. On the first play, Shane Hamm uncorked a 73-yard-bomb to senior Garrett Houser, scoring a touchdown and setting the tone for the game. After forcing a three and out on Winton Wood’s first drive, I will never forget going crazy with friends after the late Da’Viaun Pete blocked a punt and Donny Swain took it into the end zone for six. The game was over not even two minutes after it had started. 


  1. Hoban 42 v. Massillon Washington  28 November 29, 2018

Played again at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, this game just felt different. Despite Hoban being the home team, Massillon, due to its staggering amount of fans, brought the whole city. As I walked in, I remember hearing the “TIG—ERS” cheer and feeling as though I was walking into a war zone. Sure enough, the game was a battle, highlighted by perhaps one of the sneakiest plays in Hoban history: Marcus Saahir’s fake punt conversion. Hoban walked away from that cold night with a championship trophy and what has blossomed into a newfound rivalry.  

  1. Hoban 21 v. Mayfield 17, November 15, 2019

From the icy bleachers to the bone-chilling wind, the matchup in Macedonia felt like playoff football at its core. Hoban, fighting against injuries and penalties, struggled to take a dominant lead. Late in the game, they faced their first upset in years. With no seniors leading cheers, I remember my friends and I running up and down the bleachers trying to lead the cause. At the end of the drive, quarterback Shane Hamm found Kharion Davis in the back of the end zone for a miraculous reception as the final seconds ran off the clock. That night was the first time I ever led the Hoban student section in the “I believe that we have won” cheer. 


Honorable Mentions

  • Hoban 21 at St. Ignatius 14, August 28, 2018

I was not present at this game.

  • Hoban 41 v. St. Ignatius 42,  September 28, 2019

Though I was present, I made the decision to only include wins on this list. However, no game on this list  ever came close to the atmosphere in Dowed Field when Ja’Sean Cogburn took back that kick return for a touchdown. Simply electric. 


Hoban 35 v. Massillon Washington 6, November 20, 2020

This was not the flashiest game Hoban has played nor the most exciting, but it was the last game I’ll see as a Hoban student. It was a storybook ending for the Knights, going into a rival’s home stadium to face off for a state championship. The game ensued like many Hoban routs of the past, with a dominant offense, lockdown defense and the inevitable postgame celebration. Yet, even in the excitement of the clock hitting zero and the trophy returning to the student section, I couldn’t help but recognize the bittersweet sentiment in the air. It was the Class of 2021’s last hurrah and the beginning of the end of my own senior year.