HOBART – 8,759 days.
That’s the span of time in which Class 4A No. 7 Hobart last played for a state championship back on Nov. 30, 1996.
Now on Nov. 20, 2020, the Brickies are going back.
Hobart (11-2) exploded for 530 yards of total offense, including 429 rushing yards, on its way to a 49-20 win over Marion (10-4) on Friday night in the Class 4A Northern Semistate.
As he welled up with a few rare tears, Hobart coach Craig Osika said that this ranks up there with a couple more of the happiest moments of his life.
“I told the team that there have only been a few times in my life that I cried when I was happy,” the usually stoic Osika said. “It was when my kids were born and my junior year when we won at semistate.”
Both units gave the coaching staff plenty to be happy about, including Brickies senior QB Riley Johnston rushing for 158 yards on 15 carries, including a 66-yard score on the first play from scrimmage.
“I’m proud as hell of them. The things we had to go through this year, the sacrifices they had to make got us to this point,” said Osika, who moved to 29-8 in his career. “I told them at the beginning of the year that the teams that handle the adversity the best are going to be the teams at the end.”
There were 41 combined first-quarter points, with Hobart landing more haymakers than the visiting Giants, who got a 79-yard kickoff return for a TD from senior Khalid Stamps on the ensuing Hobart kickoff.
On Hobart’s next drive, Johnston connected with senior WR and Western Michigan recruit Zach Vode for a 64-yard TD catch in which Vode muscled, spun and sped his way all the way to the end zone.
The next Brickies score came on a Marion punt that was blocked by Illinois State recruit and senior LB Bobby Babcock. After he blocked it, the ball traveled all the way to the end zone and Vode recovered the fumble.
The night offensively belonged to Brickies senior running back Tyler Turley, who ran for a career-high 256 yards and three scores, which all came in first half.
“Without the lineman for me, I’m getting tackled in the backfield,” said Turley.
Stamps would be heard from again in the wild first quarter, as he ran in a 56-yarder straight up the middle of the field at the 1:27 mark.
Despite scoring 13 points in the first quarter, Marion did not record a first down until 6:03 left in the second quarter.
Marion came out aggressively in the second half, as the Giants drove down to the Hobart 10, but they were stopped on a 4th-and-2.
“The defense has been huge all year for us,” said Osika. “Getting that stop was gigantic.”
Giants senior running back Malachi Silmon, who rushed for 79 yards on 16 carries, added a 10-yard score with 10:13 left in the game.
Hobart junior fullback Braydon Carlson scored the last points of the night when he recovered a fumble in the end zone after Turley was hit hard and dropped the ball at the Marion 1.
With this win, Hobart’s senior class now has 35 wins in its span at the 4A power, which is the most in school history outside of the Don Howell era that produced four state championships and 11 total state finals appearances between 1966 and 1998.
Hobart will be looking for its fifth state title and will have to beat No. 4 Roncalli (12-1), who defeated No. 2 Mooresville 42-14 in the Southern Semistate. The Class 4A state title game is slated to be on Friday at 2 p.m. CST.
“Our class has been talking about this for a long time and now we’ve only got one game to go,” Johnston said.
Hobart 49, Marion 20
Marion 13 0 0 7 – 20
Hobart 28 14 0 7 – 49
H – Riley Johnston 66 run (Miki Djankovich kick), 11:42 1st
M – Khalid Stamps 79 kick return (Kyle Coryea kick), 11:28 1st
H – Zach Vode 64 pass from Johnston (Djankovich kick), 10:32 1st
H – Vode fumble rec in end zone (Djankovich kick), 8:48 1st
H – Tyler Turley 5 run (Djankovich kick), 7:06 1st
M – Stamps 56 run (kick failed), 1:27 1st
H – Turley 5 run (Djankovich kick), 7:36 2nd
H – Turley 6 run (Djankovich kick), 0:57 2nd
M – Malachi Silmon 10 run (Coryea kick), 10:13 4th
H – Braydon Carlson fumble rec in end zone (Djankovich kick), 7:04 4th
Total Net Yards;316;530
RUSHING – MARION, Khalid Stamps 17-128, Malachi Silmon 16-79, Cubie Jones 9-37, Tyvon Coleman 1-6. HOBART, Tyler Turley 27-256, Riley Johnston 15-158, Zach Vode 2-11, Chase Homoky 3-4.
PASSING – MARION, Jones 3-7-0-66. HOBART, Johnston 5-6-0-101.
RECEIVING – MARION, Josh Balfour 2-59, Joseph Delgado 1-7. HOBART, Vode 3-80, Braydon Carlson 2-21.