Games like these are good measuring sticks of where a team measures up. The Kirtland Hornets are most likely the jewel of Division VI this year and are coming off a Division V runner-up finish last year.
For the Grand Valley Mustangs, the odds were stacked against them, but to see where you matchup skill wise against a juggernaut such as the Hornets, the idea to actually line up against is almost too intriguing to pass up.
Though, a 61-14 setback to a team most likely playing in November, while demoralizing, still provides some much needed experience to a team looking to make that next step.
“We knew what we were up against and what the scoreboard showed,” Grand Valley coach John Glavickas said. “I’m still proud of our kids. I went out and talked to them. They never had quit in their eyes. We were just outmatched.:
The Hornets jumped on the Mustangs from the get-go, scoring on their first five possessions of the opening quarter to quickly jump out to a 34-0 advantage.
Kirtland was as efficient as a team could be running just 11 plays, and holding the Mustangs to one first down and 15 yards of total offense.
“We saw what we thought we’d see,” Glavickas said. “Their kids just fire off. They move the pile. Their running backs are bigger in-person. They’re well coached. They have well-conditioned athletes and they just execute.
“They execute every single time. You rarely see them make a mistake. That’s the difference between a program like that and where we’re at.”
For Kirtland coach Tiger LaVerde, it’s much of what he’s seen in the past with his squad and despite being as efficient as it was, he was honest in his assessment of his team.
“Our goal is to get better each and every week,” LaVerde said. “We’re going to go in and look to get better on Monday. We go one day at a time, so we don’t look at the score so much. We have to look at each individual position and improve.”
After the Hornets extended their lead to 41-0 on Sam Skiljan’s 22-yard pass to Sam Smith, Grand Valley shot themselves in the foot again when Jake Vormelker’s pass was intercepted by Joey Bates to set Kirtland up at the Mustang 42.
Three plays, a 1-yard run from Adam Hess extended the lead to 48-0.
Vormelker’s arms and legs generated much of anything offensively against the Hornets as he accounted for all of Grand Valley’s 259 yards of total yards (120 rushing, 139 passing).
“He’s a great athlete and we’re fortunate to have him,” Glavickas said. “Jake can just make things happen out of nothing. A lot of times, when you see him, you see that he has a great mind and understanding of the game.
“He can change plays for us.”
Fortune is a freelance writer from McDonald.