CANTON — After coming up short in the state championship game each of the past two years, Kirtland set the tone in the first quarter on the way to a 32-15 win over Versailles in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division VI title game. 

What You Need To Know

  • Kirtland topped Versailles 32-15 in the Division VI championship game, the school's 7th state title

  • The Hornets' got revenge from the 2021 championship game, when the Tigers ended their 55-game winning streak
  • 311 of Kirtland's 339 yards came on the ground

The Hornets methodically moved down the field on their first two drives, taking a 13-0 lead on 109 yards of offense, all rushing.

The Tigers answered with a scoring drive of their own, capped by a 31-yard touchdown strike from Michael Osbourne to A.J. Griesdorn, cutting the lead to 13-7.

However, on the ensuing kickoff, Will Beers set a new OHSAA Division VI championship game record with a 90-yard return for a touchdown and a 19-7 lead that served as the halftime score.

The Hornets ground game dictated the terms of this championship, rushing for 311 of the team’s 339 total yards. Quarterback Jake LaVerde was the leading rusher with 124 yards, followed by 94 from Rocco Alfieri and 83 from Beers.

Osbourne was excellent for the Tigers, accounting for 255 (131 rushing with a touchdown, and 124 passing with another score) of the team’s 268 yards of total offense. 

Two of the Hornets’ touchdowns were on recoveries of own fumbles in the end zone. 

Kirtland captured its seventh football state title, tied for the sixth-most in OHSAA history. Ironically, Versailles also has seven titles, the most recent coming in 2021, when the Tigers knocked off the Hornets 20-16, ending Kirtland’s 55-game winning streak, second longest in state history. 

Tiger LaVerde’s sparkling career record improves to 249-30, including 229-20 at Kirtland, which improved to 7-5 in championship games. All dozen of those appearances have come in the past 13 years. The Hornets have faced Midwest Athletic Conference opponents nine times in those 12 finals, improving to 4-5.