COLUMBUS, Ohio — Get ready for a trilogy for the ages.
For the third consecutive year, Archbishop Hoban and Massillon Washington will face off in the OHSAA football playoffs. The Knights and Tigers won their respective Division II state semifinal games Friday night, setting up a winner-take-all showdown for the state championship next week in Columbus.
Hoban (10-0) is vying for its fifth title in six years, with the most recent coming in 2018 with a victory over Massillon in the final game. On this evening, the Knights got a tough test from previously unbeaten Avon, but pulled away for a 28-14 win thanks to a late Kharion Davis interception return for a touchdown.
Massillon (10-1) beat Hoban last year for the regional championship, but ended up falling to La Salle in the state title game. The Tigers have 24 state championships in their history, but the last came in 1970, before the advent of Ohio's high school football playoff system. They did get a measure of revenge on the Lancers tonight, though, as a 48-yard touchdown pass from Zach Catrone to Martavien Johnson with 2:13 left proved to be the difference in a 14-10 triumph.
The Knights and Tigers weren't the only Northeast Ohio teams to advance to the final round on Friday: Chardon (11-0) will play for the D-III championship after thrashing Tiffin Columbian 47-7. James Pettyjohn ran for four touchdowns to help the Hilltoppers earn their first state title game berth since 1998.
Hoban and Massillon will play each other next Friday night at 7 p.m., while Chardon will battle Columbus St. Francis DeSales (10-1) next Saturday at the same time. All state championship games will take place at Fortress Obetz instead of Canton this year because of COVID-19.
Two other local squads will play in their own state semifinals this Saturday, with Lake Catholic facing Bloom-Carroll in D-IV and Kirtland playing Otsego in D-V. Both games will kick off at 7 p.m. from New Philadelphia and Parma, respectively.