EUCLID, Oh - Saint Ignatius (1-4) and Archbishop Hoban (5-0) would meet at Euclid Community Stadium for the seventh edition on the gridiron between the programs. This kicked off a gauntlet of three straight games against number-one ranked teams as the Knights are ranked first in Division II in the AP State poll. It was a dominating performance from Hoban as they would cruise to a 35-0 win over the Wildcats.
The Wildcats kicked off to start the game, as they have done in every game so far this campaign. The defense came out firing, forcing a three-and-out and the first Hoban punt.
As the theme became throughout this contest, the Saint Ignatius offense struggled to gain yards and they responded with a three and out of their own.
Hoban put themselves in a hole with back-to-back penalties and could not convert on a third and 18. Following the pattern set so far, the Wildcats had a crucial holding penalty put them behind the sticks and punted after a third down sack.
It did not take long for the Knight offense to catch its rhythm, as a Caleb Jones 28-yard run and an Elibert Hill IV 19-yard jet sweep touchdown gave them the opening lead with 5:23 left to play in the first quarter.
The Wildcats could not respond on their next offensive drive and went three and out. Hoban went on an extended seven-play 47-yard drive, and quarterback Tylan Boykin rushed in to cap it off as the Knights would extend their lead to 14-0 with 11:53 left to play in the first half.
Things went from bad to worse, as after a Josh Papesh throw to Johnathan Merimee picked up a first down, Papesh threw across his body into traffic and Tysen Campbell picked the ball off. The Central Michigan commit found a lane and worked his way to the end zone for a 42-yard pick-six with 10:17 remaining in the second quarter.
A roughing the passer penalty on the Knights moved the chains and it looked like they had picked up consecutive first downs, but sophomore Luke Simms was stripped of the ball and the Knights recovered around midfield.
On short rest, coach Dave Cicetti’s defensive unit stepped up, forcing a turnover on downs when Ben Taliak and Jayshon Thomas combined for a tackle for loss on fourth down.
Employing a new look spread, five-wide formation, the offense got the ball moving, picking up three first downs, but a penalty combined with a sack stalled the drive, forcing another punt.
With little time on the clock, the Knights had to settle for a 40-yard field goal attempt that hooked left, keeping the score 21-0 going into the break.
The Wildcat offensive unit reverted to a more traditional formation but were unsuccessful in moving the ball, as Merimee only picked up 2 yards on third and 16.
However, the defense started the half on a positive, as Ryan Roche snuffed out a bubble screen and dropped the receiver for a loss of ten on third down.
Once again, Saint Ignatius deployed its five-wide look to some success, getting three first downs from senior receivers Jordon Rodman and Merimee. Ultimately, Papesh was forced into a prayer of a throw on third and 17, and Elber Hill IV snagged it out of the air and found his way to paydirt for the second Hoban pick-six with 3:29 left to play in the third quarter and the Knights leading 28-0.
The drive stalled despite an unnecessary roughness call boosting the Wildcats past the sticks. Hoban kept the ball on the ground, running it 11 straight plays and eventually, Jones found the endzone to put the running clock into play with 6:00 left.
Sophomore Peyton Frontino played the final drive of the game at quarterback, throwing for 48 yards on four of six completions, but it was not enough to get the goose egg off of the scoreboard, and the Wildcats would head back to Ohio City with a 35-0 loss.
It was a rough night offensively for the Wildcats, as they would finish in the red for rushing yards with -12 yards. Papesh would throw for 109 yards on 14-of-25 passing and be sacked by Hoban six times.
Sophomore Jayshon Thomas would lead the defense with six tackles and 1.5 for a loss. Junior Ben Irwin stepped up for the injured Ryan Ardire with five total tackles in the linebacker position.
The Wildcats will look to avoid the program’s first four-game losing streak since the 1982 season when they travel to Toledo to take on the defending Division II State Champions, Central Catholic Fighting Irish. The Irish are now a Division III program and are ranked number one in the AP State Poll in that division.