The DeSales High School football team rolled through a perfect regular season, winning all but one game by double digits, and earned the Division III, Region 11 championship with similar ease.

The DeSales High School football team rolled through a perfect regular season, winning all but one game by double digits, and earned the Division III, Region 11 championship with similar ease.

However, if the Stallions make it to their ninth state final, chances are it won't come easily.

On Saturday, Nov. 26, DeSales (13-0) will face defending state champion Akron Hoban (12-1) in a state semifinal at Arlin Field in Mansfield.

The winner plays Toledo Central Catholic or Trotwood Madison in the state final Dec. 1, 2 or 3 at Ohio State.

"(Hoban is the) returning state champion and they're strong at every position," said Stallions coach Ryan Wiggins, whose top-seeded team routed third-seeded Hamilton Township 49-6 in the regional final Nov. 19 at Upper Arlington. "Their quarterback and running back combo stand out, and I know they're good up front and are tremendous on defense. They're returning state champs with a lot of pieces back.

"It's the 11th regional title in our history and I'm just real proud of these guys. Big plays, defense, run the football, that's what November is all about."

The most important piece from last year's state title team might be 5-foot-10, 202-pound senior running back Todd Sibley, who has committed to the University of Pittsburgh.

He was one of the co-Offensive Players of the Year in the Northeast Inland District and rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns in Hoban's 34-3 win over New Philadelphia in the Region 9 final Nov. 19 at Canal Fulton Northwest.

Sibley rushed 33 times for 164 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-20 win over Toledo Central Catholic in last year's state championship game.

Senior quarterback Danny Clark also is back for Hoban after starting in the state final a year ago and was another first-team all-district selection on offense, along with 6-4, 290-pound lineman Nolan Rumler.

Clark threw a 5-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of the win over New Philadelphia as Hoban reached a state semifinal for just the fourth time in program history.

The Knights' only loss came against Lakewood St. Edward, 10-7 on Sept. 2. St. Edward was a Division I regional runner-up.

Hoban is giving up just 7.8 points per game, with linemen Jabari Taylor (6-1, 265) and Daeshon Martin (6-2, 245) and linebacker Arison Sanders (6-1, 200) leading the defense.

Senior linebacker Marc Westover had 10 tackles and junior cornerback Nate Bauer had an interception in last year's state final.

"It means so much to us," Stallions quarterback Cole Silvestri said. "We know we're going for it and this is it. Now we've just got to move on to the next game."

DeSales has the Central District Offensive Player of the Year in senior running back Alonzo Booth, who rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries against Hamilton Township.

Joe Arnold also had two touchdowns against the Rangers, scoring on a 51-yard pass from Silvestri and a 58-yard run. The latter touchdown was unconventional, as running back Joey Velazquez fumbled after a 3-yard gain and Arnold scooped up the loose ball and raced to the end zone.

Silvestri completed three of four passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns, with the other score going for 50 yards to Jared Noble.

"We got (to the regional final) two years ago, but we lost to Athens, and we lost in the second round of the playoffs last year," Arnold said. "We just came back with an undefeated (regular) season and we want to keep it going and win the state championship."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

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