Throughout Kirtland’s six-year playoff run one thing has become clear, it’s bad to play the Hornets in Week 11.
Berlin Center Western Reserve found that out the hard way on Saturday as Joey Bates ran for four touchdowns and returned a fumble for another and the Kirtland defense pitched its fourth shutout of the season in a 49-0 win.
“The defense played very well,” said Kirtland coach Tiger LaVerde. “Turnovers gave us some short fields and the kids took advantage. It was a good start to the postseason.”
Kirtland has now outscored its last six Week 11 opponents, 289-22.
Bates, who carried 13 times for just 53 yards, scored on first quarter runs of 2, 1 and 6 yards to give the Hornets an early 22-0 lead. He added a 1-yarder in the second quarter then returned a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter before giving way to Vinny Mattticoli, who ran for touchdowns that covered 57 and 29 yards in the fourth quarter.
“For the seniors, this was our last home game ever and it's our last chance to leave a legacy here,” Bates said. “We knew we had to come out quick and set the tone for the playoffs. Our coaches prepare us every week and put us in the best positions for us to be successful. Everyone did their jobs and it was a great team win.”
Bates credited teammate Evan Madden for his scoop and score touchdown.
“That play was all Evan,” he said. “He made a great play on the ball and knocked it out. The ball bounced right into my hands and I just saw the open seam.”
Kirtland (10-1) will play Brookfield (10-1) on Saturday at a location to be announced. The Warriors defeated Lisbon David Anderson, 39-28, in the first round.
The Hornets and Warriors have played one common opponent. Kirtland defeated Berkshire, 39-7, back on Sept. 25 while the Warriors knocked off the Badgers, 42-7, on Sept. 11.