A look back at champs Kirt­land, Ken­ston

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By John Kampf [email protected]­ald.com @NHPreps on Twit­ter

Re­live the glory one more time with a look back at the state cham­pi­onship sea­sons of Kirt­land and Ken­ston.

Week 1, Kirt­land 43, Cha­grin

Falls 0: Armed with an ex­pe­ri­ence roster still smart­ing from a 34-11 loss to Marion Lo­cal in the 2017 state cham­pi­onship game, Kirt­land got its sea­son off to a rous­ing start with a 43-0 win over Cha­grin Falls. Jake Neibecker ran for 66 yards and two touch­downs, Joey Torok ran for 130 yards and a score, and both Luke Gard­ner and Ma­son Sul­li­van scored on the ground. Week 2, Kirt­land 49, Columbia 7: In a game that fea­tured two teams with big play­off goals, Kirt­land buried vis­it­ing Columbia. Jake Neibecker ran for 121 yards and two scores, while Joey Torok ran for 113 yards and two scores. Columbia’s all-Ohio run­ning back Bran­don Cole­man was held to less than 30 yards rush­ing. Week 3, Kirt­land 35, Geneva 0: With the Ea­gles’ de­fense stack­ing the box against the run-ori­ented Hor­nets, Kirt­land QB Tommy Pow­ers com­pleted 11 of 14 passes for 198 yards and two touch­downs. Kirt­land did man­age to run for 228 yards in the game, but it was the pass­ing that opened many eyes. Pow­ers hit Ma­son Sul­li­van and Jake Neibecker for touch­down passes. Week 4, Kirt­land 58, Car­di­nal 6:

Six dif­fer­ent Hor­nets scored touch­downs as part of a 510-yard

of­fen­sive out­burst. Joey Torok and Ma­son Sul­li­van each scored a pair of touch­downs. The Hor­nets av­er­aged 12.8 yards per play in the game.

Week 5, Kirt­land 13, Rich­mond Heights 0: In one of the more bizarre hap­pen­ings in area foot­ball his­tory, Rich­mond Heights departed Kirt­land’s Rogers’ field mid­way through the first quar­ter and went home, giv­ing the Hor­nets a 13-0 win. Kirt­land scored on its first two pos­ses­sions of the game be­fore Rich­mond Heights de­cided it did not have enough healthy play­ers to con­tinue play­ing the game. Week 6, Kirt­land 42, Cuya­hoga Heights 6: In a game that was billed as the po­ten­tial CVC Val­ley ti­tle game, it wasn’t a game. Joey Torok scored the first three times he touched the ball, with touch­down runs of 72, 63 and 63 yards in the first quar­ter. He fin­ished with six car­ries for 274 yards and four touch­downs. Week 7, Kirt­land 42, Fair­port 0:

The Hor­nets topped the Skippers and gave up neg­a­tive-24 yards rush­ing, but the high­light of this game was a 43-yard touch­down re­cep­tion by 6-4, 300-pound of­fen­sive line­man Jack Bai­ley. Luke Gard­ner ran for 100 yards on three car­ries, while Joey Torok ran for 96 yards on three totes. Pow­ers threw for 80 yards and a pair of scores. Week 8, Kirt­land 43, Berk­shire

6: only Af­ter time fall­ing this sea­son be­hind, the 6-0, Hor­nets the trailed, Kirt­land scored 43 unan­swered points for an easy win. Joey Torok ran for 204 yards and three touch­downs. Jake Neibecker ran for 74 yards and two scores. Week 9, Kirt­land 50, In­de­pen­dence 0: The Hor­nets clinched at least a tie for the CVC Val­ley ti­tle with a strong per­for­mance against In­de­pen­dence. Joey Torok touched the ball four times and scored three touch­downs be­fore ex­it­ing the game early. He ran for 91 yards on three car­ries. Luke Gard­ner ran for 83 yards and a score. Jonathan Ridge­way led the team with 64 yards pass­ing. Week 10, Kirt­land 34, Wick­liffe 7: The Hor­nets wrapped up a per­fect reg­u­lar sea­son with a win over Wick­liffe, which could have forged a tie for the CVC Val­ley ti­tle with a vic­tory. Kirt­land got 153 yards and three touch­downs from Joey Torok, with Jake Neibecker run­ning for 130 yards and a score. Tommy Pow­ers threw for 112 yards. Week 11, Kirt­land 59, Steubenville Catholic Cen­tral 0 :

Kirt­land got its post­sea­son off to a rous­ing start by ham­mer­ing Catholic Cen­tral in a game that saw the Hor­nets score five times in the first quar­ter alone. Se­nior Joey Torok ran for 132 yards on only six car­ries, scor­ing four times. Tommy Pow­ers threw for 123 yards and a score, and also ran for 56 yards and a score. The Hor­nets

out­gained the Cru­saders, 435-93. Catholic Cen­tral’s QB en­tered the game with more than 1,000 yards rush­ing and 1,000 yards pass­ing, but was held to less than 50 to­tal yards.

Week 12, Kirt­land 35, Nor­wayne 0: The Hor­nets flexed their mus­cles in a run­ning-clock win over Nor­wayne in a game that fea­tured two high-pow­ered of­fenses. Nor­wayne’s never ma­te­ri­al­ized. Kirt­land swarmed Nor­wayne’s of­fense, hold­ing the Bob­cats to 124 to­tal yards and only 26 yards rush­ing. The Hor­nets piled on the rush­ing yards, as usual, with Jake Neibecker run­ning for 132 yards and Joey Torok run­ning for 122. Torok scored twice on the ground, as did QB Tommy Pow­ers. Week 13, Kirt­land 20, Mo­gadore

14: The Hor­nets won the re­gional cham­pi­onship with a tight win over Mo­gadore, with Joey Torok scor­ing a late touch­down to put Kirt­land in the fi­nal four for the sev­enth time in pro­gram his­tory. Mo­gadore had no an­swer for Torok all night. He ran for 166 yards and two touch­downs, and also caught a 47-yard touch­down pass. Kirt­land out­gained Mo­gadore, 346-233. Mo­gadore be­came the first team this sea­son to score a rush­ing touch­down against the Hor­nets. Week 14, Kirt­land 35, Fort Frye 18: Kirt­land con­tin­ued its dom­i­nance in state semi­fi­nals, de­feat­ing Fort Frye to im­prove to 7-0 all-time in state semis. Jake

Neibecker ran for 154 yards, Tommy Pow­ers ran for 121 and Joey Torok ran for 89 to lead Kirt­land’s 390-yard rush­ing at­tack. The Hor­nets (14-0) out­gained Fort Frye, 447-291. Kirt­land only led, 21-18, at the half, and strug­gled at times against Fort Frye’s pass­ing game. But led by de­fen­sive line­man Jack Bai­ley and de­fen­sive back Con­nor Gron’s key in­ter­cep­tion, Kirt­land out­gained Fort Frye, 14-0, in the sec­ond half. Pow­ers’ 50-yard run late in the fourth quar­ter sealed the win over the Hor­nets. Week 15, Kirt­land 16, Marion

Lo­cal 7: In their most dom­i­nat­ing per­for­mance of the sea­son, the Hor­nets lim­ited the de­fend­ing state cham­pion Fly­ers to 34 yards rush­ing to clinch their fourth state ti­tle in pro­gram his­tory. Luke Gard­ner’s end-around near the end of the first half gave Kirt­land a 13-7 lead. The only score of the sec­ond half was Mario Rodin’s 32-yard field goal, but the Kirt­land de­fense took over from there. Three times Marion Lo­cal was turned away deep in Kirt­land ter­ri­tory, the fi­nal time com­ing on Jack Bai­ley’s blocked field goal that al­lowed the Hor­nets to take one fi­nal possession and run out the clock. Jake Neibecker ran for 107 yards and a touch­down. Joey Torok ran for 94 yards, but ex­ited the game in the sec­ond half with a con­cus­sion and did not re­turn. He fin­ished seven yards short of Kirt­land’s all-time rush­ing to­tal held by Craig Svend­sen.

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