Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Hornets win 10th straight season-opener

Kirtland ran for 268 yards and limited the visiting Lakeview offense to just 63 yards of offense in a 35-0 season-opening win on Friday.

With the win, the Hornets extended their Week 1 winning streak to 10 games. Their last opening-night loss was a 32-23 setback at Geneva on Aug. 28, 2009.

“It feels amazing getting off to this kind of start,” said Kirtland senior Luke Gardner, who ran for 78 yards on five carries and scored a touchdown. “It gives us a lot of confidence going into next week.”

Kirtland did all of its damage in the first half.

Gardner opened the scoring with a 52-yard touchdown run with 9:30 left in the opening quarter. Nico Podojil-Schlesinger converted the extra point and went on to finish the night 5-for-5.

“The only reason I scored that touchdown was because of the boys up front,” Gardner said. “They opened up a great hole, then I just did my thing.”

Gardner added a second touchdown early in the second quarter when he hauled in a 27-yard pass from Liam Powers for a 14-0 lead.

One minute later, Mason Sullivan increased the lead to 21-0 with a four-yard touchdown run. Anthony DeMarco scored on a one-yard touchdown and Sullivan closed out the scoring when he hurdled a Lakeview defender at the goal line to finish off a four-yard scoring run.

Kirtland ran for 219 yards on 34 carries.

“The O-line did an incredible job tonight,” Gardner said. “They played their butts off. The holes they made allowed me to do my thing. I don’t think they get enough credit for what they do.”

Joey Grazia and DeMarco both picked off passes for the Hornets, who travel to Riverside in Week 2.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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