Over the past three years, Kirtland has won two state championships and have only lost one football game.
Villa Angela-St. Joseph found out exactly why on Sept. 19 in a 42-6 loss to the Hornets at Rodgers Field.
"They are strong, they run the ball right at you. They are very good. They have been doing it for years," Vikings coach John Storey said.
"We will watch the film, pick out what we did well and go from there. We will bounce back."
This is the second time in three weeks that VASJ will have to bounce back, having lost to rival Euclid in Week 2 before rebounding to beat East Tech on Sept. 13.
Against undefeated and defending Division VI state champ Kirtland, VASJ could not withstand an early surge by the 4-0 Hornets.
The 28-0 first quarter by Kirtland, in which the home team outgained the visitors, 241-0, was far too much to overcome for the Vikings.
"They run hard," Storey said. "Base fundamental football – they run well, they tackle well, that's what state-caliber teams do."
Behind its hot start, Kirtland ran its regular-season winning streak to 49 consecutive games. The Hornets have not lost prior to the playoffs since a 2009 game to Cuyahoga Heights.
Adam Hess ran for two touchdowns in the first 12 minutes of play for Kirtland. Fellow running back Jacob Boyd ran for two more. By game's end, the two backfield mates combined for 319 yards and five touchdowns, but the tone-setting first quarter was where the Hornets made their statement against a VASJ team that fell to 2-2 after being a Division VI playoff team a year ago.
Vikings All-Ohio running back Marvelle Ross was held to 10 yards rushing on three carries upon his return from missing the first quarter due to a coach's decision, though he did shake loose in the fourth quarter on a 45-yard touchdown reception from Tre'Von Williams. That narrowed the margin to 35-6. On the ensuing drive, Kirtland quarterback Sam Skiljan ran untouched from 10 yards out on a bootleg run.
VASJ's running game was swarmed under by Kirtland, gaining 43 yards on 24 carries. Williams completed 15 of 26 passes for 198 yards.