Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Top-ranked Hornets knock off 16th ranked Vikings

KIRTLAND–How wide is the gap between the team ranked No. 1 in Division VI and the one ranked at No. 16? Villa Angela-St. Joseph found out on Friday night at Kirtland.

Jacob Boyd scored two touchdowns for the Hornets

The top-ranked Hornets scored 28 first quarter points to put an early end to the Vikings’ upset bid on their way to a 42-6 non-conference win at Rogers Field.

“We were excited to compete,” said Kirtland head coach Tiger LaVerde. “They’ve got talented kids; they’ve got everybody back from last year. I think they graduated two seniors. These kids look forward to that. These guys, they love competing.”

Kirtland, which improved to 4-0 and won its 49th consecutive regular season game, won the game in familiar fashion. The Hornets outrushed the Vikings, 353 yards to just 43 and forced five VASJ turnovers.

The domination started early.

Adam Hess closed out Kirtland’s first offensive possession with a one yard touchdown run and after a defensive stop Jacob Boyd’s 8-yard scoring run made it 14-0. Boyd followed that up with a 42 yard touchdown run and Hess scored from 10 yards out to make it 28-0 late in the first quarter.

“The first quarter, I don’t know that they could have executed any better on both sides of the ball,” LaVerde said. “We jumped out and then we went to the ground game a little bit and tried to run the clock off.”

Hess, who ran 25 times for a game-high 176 yards and three scores, added a two yard touchdown run in the second quarter to give the Hornets a 35-0 halftime lead.

Boyd finished the game with 143 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.

“That was the whole plan,” Boyd said. “They were shifty and we knew they were big up front. We knew we had to pound the ball down their throats play after play. I think we did that the whole first half. It wears them down. They feel it. I’m just happy with how we ran the ball and how we blocked.”

VASJ’s defense forced a pair of Kirtland punts in the third quarter and the Vikings stopped the running clock with a 45 yard touchdown pass from Tre’Von Williams to Marvelle Ross on the first play of the fourth quarter.

“They did a great job defensively in the third quarter,” LaVerde said. “We missed a few key blocks. The game comes down to blocking and tackling. We missed a tackle on the crossing route and they got their touchdown.”

The Hornets responded with a statement drive that resulted in Sam Skiljan’s 10-yard touchdown run.

“We knew at halftime that this team was not going to back down,” Hess said. “Good teams like this don’t back down. We knew that and we came out, we had a little bit of a struggle, but we picked each other up and got the ball in the end zone again after they scored. It turned out good for us.”

Williams completed 15-of-26 passes for 198 yards and the touchdown. He was picked off by Matt Grazia and Evan Madden.

Kirtland travels to Cuyahoga Heights on Friday.


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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