In the past three years the Kirtland Hornets football team has been nearly untouchable. In that stretch, seniors Sam Kukura, Ryan Loncar and Canon Schroeder led Kirtland to a 44-1 record.
Friday marked their third straight appearance in an OHSAA state final. They played Coldwater in the Division V state championship the past two seasons. Kirtland got the best of Coldwater in 2011 with a 28-7 win. In 2012, Coldwater struck back, defeating Kirtland in a 10-9 thriller. After having a bad taste in their mouths from last year's loss the returning members of this year's team had a chip on their shoulders the entire season.
Friday at Canton Fawcett Stadium the Hornets met Wayne Trace in the Division VI state championship. Kukura ran for 196 yards and a touchdown to lead the offense to a 44-16 blowout to claim their third state championship in three years. Junior running back Adam Hess also added 177 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
The game was tied 8-8 in the first quarter, until Kirtland scored three straight touchdowns to end the half, to make the score 30-8 going into halftime. Wayne Trace quarterback Colton Speice entered Friday's game with more than 4,500 yards passing and 62 touchdown passes. Kirtland's stout defense held Speice to only 18 completions on 44 attempts and an interception.
"My reaction to that is these kids have worked hard for all they've accomplished," Kirtland head coach Tiger LaVerde said after the win. "Every year is a new year, so the younger kids are going to have to learn what these guys have done, and work just as hard if they want to accomplish that. It's been a good run."In the past three years the Kirtland Hornets football team has been nearly untouchable. In that stretch, seniors Sam Kukura, Ryan Loncar and Canon Schroeder led Kirtland to a 44-1 record.