The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


September 14, 2013

Kirtland clobbers Edgewood

Warriors no match for Hornets

KIRTLAND — Inch for inch and pound for pound, no high school football team in Northeast Ohio has performed any better in the last few years than the Kirtland Hornets.

As a power among smaller schools, Kirtland won the Division V championship in 2011 and fell a point short of repeating that feat last year. On Friday, Kirtland showed its worth again in a 62-7 whipping of visiting Edgewood.

The victory extended the Hornets’ regular-season winning streak to 38 games, dating to 2009.

“We could go deep into the (Division IV) playoffs and end up in the State championship game, and we still wouldn’t see somebody better than Kirtland,” Edgewood coach Josh Franke said. “I believe that you could throw them into Division II or Division I, and they would still be one of the best programs there. (Kirtland coach) Tiger (LaVerde) has really done a great job of turning this program around, and he really has a powerhouse football team here. And it’s good for our kids to see that type of experience. It’s a good measuring stick.”

The contest wasn’t without other positives for the Warriors (0-3). They fought their hosts tooth-and-nail at the start, and held Kirtland to a scoreless deadlock at the end of the first quarter. After recovering a fumbled punt, Edgewood moved the ball from the Hornet 33 to a first down at the 21, but was stopped on fourth-and-four from the 15.

The Warriors had gained a pair of first downs on their initial possession.

“That drive (after recovering the fumble) killed us,” Franke said. “Everything was rolling fine for us. I would like to think that maybe the game would have been a little bit different if we could have jumped up on them, but you’ve got to give credit to their defense, and a very tough defense came up with the stop.”

“They did a nice job (at the start),” LaVerde said. “They came out, and Coach Franke does a nice job, and the kids stopped the run well. They had a nice opening drive.

“That was good for us. We want to be tested. We want to battle. I was glad to see our guys battle and have to play three quarters. That was awesome.”

The Hornets, who came out on offense primarily using their running game,  didn’t get on the board until 7:05 remained in the half, when Adam Hess (14 carries, 89 yards) took it in from 2 yards out.

But from there it was just about all Hornets. Starting with the Hess run, they scored touchdowns nine of the 10 times they had the ball. The one time they didn’t, they fumbled it away at the Edgewood 5. Two plays later, a sack in the end zone produced a fumble, which Chris Sakenes recovered for a score, making it 42-0 midway through the third period.

Behind Hess and Sam Kukura (82 yards including an 8-yard TD on 12 carries), Kirtland (3-0) racked up 290 yards rushing. It also threw for 242 yards, as Sam Skiljan (8-of-14, 212 yards) found Ryan Loncar (4 catches, 126 yards) for touchdowns of 24 and 43 yards, and Owen Lewis hit Evan Madden for a 7-yard score.

Skiljan also had a rushing touchdown of four yards. Nick Seketa and David Allchin added touchdown runs of 14 and 4 yards respectively in the fourth quarter.

“We had a great game plan coming in,” Franke said. “Tiger kind of went a little bit of spread offense on us. We hadn’t seen that on film this year; we weren’t prepared for it. And we didn’t make the adjustments quick enough.

“That’s a hell of a job (by) their coaching staff for making those adjustments. We shut down what they liked, and then they adjusted, and we didn’t adjust back to it. So that’s our coaching flaw right there.”

“They loaded the box up to stop the run,” LaVerde said. “And we needed to do something to open it up a little bit. We have a good quarterback; we have some good weapons at wide receiver, so we utilized them and made some big plays to get us going.”

The Hornets defense made it tough on the Edgewood runners, holding them to 35 yards on 32 attempts. The Warriors did pick up 150 yards via the air, including a two-yard scoring pass from Alex Wisnyai to Alex Sturgill that foiled the shutout with less than four minutes to play.

Juliana Kosik provided the other Warrior point with her kick following Sturgill’s score.

“I can’t be more proud of the kids coming in and shutting them out in the first quarter,” Franke said. “That’s by far the biggest positive. It’s a heck of a football team.”

“They got some size, they got some athletic kids, and that’s not a bad football team,” LaVerde said. “They’re gonna win some games.”

Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.

Text Only
  • Justin Butler Justin time

    It was just four short years ago that Justin Butler was spending his fall on a soccer field.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: ‘Kids’ stuff’ spurs great responses

    I’m often caught more than a bit off-guard by what stories, features or columns generate responses from you, Loyal Readers, much more so than those who do not.
    For example, the column that appeared in this space a couple of days ago regarding things yours truly and my buddies did as kids prompted more than a few responses.
    A sampling, many of which were posted on my Facebook page:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • kyle GANG GREEN

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scholastic Schedule:

    Grand Valley at Maplewood (4:30)
    St. John at Lawrence (4:30)
    Mathews at PV (4:30)
    Fairport at Perry (7:30)
    West Geauga at Madison (4:30)
    Harvey at Riverside (4:30)
    Jefferson at Harding (5)

    April 16, 2014

  • Olivia In transition

    Pymatuning Valley graduate Olivia Holt had a distinct reason she chose to play basketball for Mount Union.
    “They do have tradition,” Holt, the daughter of Gus and Michelle Holt, said. “I’m from PV. We had a tradition of winning and working hard there. I wanted to go somewhere that tradition mattered. I knew I was going to get better by coming here.”

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: Spring has sprung one big leak

    Paying a Wednesday morning visit to the variety store...

    Think spring?
    If this, um, err, uh... spring... feels a bit unusual for high school baseball and softball teams in Northeast Ohio, it is, to a point.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    St. John 4, Euclid 1
    at Pine Lake

    April 16, 2014

  • tennis Scholastic Schedule:


    PV at Ledgemont (4:30)
    North at Geneva (4:30)
    Riverside at Chardon (4:30)
    Jefferson at Lakeview (5)

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Luke Baldwin Mustang to a Quaker

    As a junior, Grand Valley’s Luke Baldwin got a shot to play linebacker for the Mustangs because of an injury to a starter.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: Kids’ stuff but, boy, was it a blast!

    I have no idea why I thought of this, just now, but I did.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Week in Review January 10 and 11
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video