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Lake County Sentinel
Hornets pound Cuyahoga Hts. 35-0  

(KIRTLAND, OH) - The Kirtland Hornets are truly an intimidating team. They have reached the state finals 11 times in the last 12 years, winning six state titles in those 11 appearances. Coach Tiger LaVerde has this team ready to win year after year. After losing to an undefeated Perry team two weeks ago, they shutout Trinity last week in a blowout 56-0. The 3-1 Cuyahoga Heights Red Wolves would be no different as the Hornets would for the second week give up no points as they shut out the Red Wolves 35-0.

The first drive saw Hornets senior running back Will Beers run for a 50-yard touchdown only for it to be called back on a holding penalty. The next play sophomore quarterback Jake LaVerde threw an interception to Cuyahoga Heights junior defensive back Nick Amburst. The Red Wolves junior quarterback Fletcher Sturgill then gave one right back on the very next play as Kirtland senior defensive back Gino Blasini picked off Sturgill at the 20-yard line. A drive down the field was capped off by Will Beers on a 34-yard touchdown run, giving the Hornets a 7-0 lead.

The next drive saw the Red Wolves Sturgill take a massive sack from the blindside by Hor-nets senior Will Bates forcing the ball out for a fumble and being recovered by Kirtland on the 16-yard line. A few plays later Kirtland senior running back Rocco Alfieri punched it into the end zone from the one-yard line, extending Kirtland's lead 14-0.

Cuyahoga Heights could not get anything going against the stout defense of Kirtland. Two straight punts by the Red Wolves gave Kirtland all the opportunity they needed as Will Beers and Rocco Alfieri would score two more touchdowns on runs of 58 (Beers) and 53 (Alfieri) starting to put the game out of reach 28-0.

Hornets’ senior Will Sayle would intercept Sturgill and on the next play from scrimmage, QB Jake LaVerde would find Sayle over the middle of the field for a 20-yard touchdown, sending the game into halftime 35-0.

The second half would start with some new faces on both sides of the ball for the Hornets in-cluding junior Max Paul taking over quarterbacking duties for Kirtland.

With the exception of a Will Beers interception on the second drive of the half, the third quar-ter saw a stalemate between the Hornets and the Red Wolves as the quarter ended the same as it started 35-0.

The fourth quarter was more of the same as Kirtland's reserves held up against the starters of Cuyahoga Heights, not letting them get anything going and getting the much-deserved shutout.

Kirtland head Coach Tiger LaVerde talked after the game about the defense. "Our defense really did a great job. They didn't let them get anything going. If they (Cuyahoga Heights) could have got some first downs and some drives, it might have been different, but they real-ly couldn't get anything established on offense and that's a credit to our defense really doing a great job."

Will Beers, who had 13 carries for 191 yards rushing, two touchdowns, and an interception in the game, spoke about his big day. "Our offensive line was really great out there. I really just have to give all of the credit to the line. After that Perry loss, we've really come back with a lot of motivation. We are watching even more film and making sure we are prepared." Lastly, since Will starts on both sides of the ball, he was asked what felt nicer, the touchdowns he scored or getting the shutout. "Honestly? The touchdowns are important, but the shutout feels the best. We are always going for shutouts each game and it really feels good to get one as a team."

Kirtland looks to keep on rolling next week on the road against (1-3) Grand Valley, while Cuyahoga Heights will look to avenge its first loss of the year also on the road facing off with (0-4) Independence. Both games are scheduled for Friday, September 22nd with 7:00 pm start times..   
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​POSTED 09/15/2023 23:37
Photo by Joey Schneider