BEACHWOOD – Kirtland came in riding a school-record 53-game regular season winning streak, but for 24 minutes, the Beachwood Bisons were the best team on the field.
Beachwood (5-4) led Kirtland (9-0) the No. 1 team in Division V 18-7 at halftime, before Adam Hess and the Hornets exploded for 42 second half points to win going away, 49-24.
Hess returned after missing the previous two games with a shoulder injury, and carried the Hornets to their 24th consecutive victory overall.
The senior tailback, who already has two State Championship rings, looked motivated to bring another trophy home to Kirtland, racking up 105 yards on the ground with three huge touchdowns, all in the second half.
Quarterback Sam Skiljan led a balanced attack for the Hornets, with 250 total yards (140 rushing, 110 passing) and three total touchdowns, including two through the air.
Beachwood played an outstanding first half, scoring first on Tyler Hines 75-yard fumble recovery.
Hines also caught two touchdowns from Bisons’ quarterback Max Balazs who was under pressure all afternoon.
Trailing 18-7 in the final seconds of the first half, Kirtland coach Tiger LaVerde opted to go for it on fourth down, rather than attempting a short field goal.
The Hornets ran Skiljan on the option, but Beachwood’s defensive front read the play and stopped Jacob Boyd for a loss, and the Bisons carried the momentum and their 11-point lead into the locker room.
Beachwood is still in Playoff position in Division V, Region 15.
The Bisons could clinch a berth and possibly a home game with a win at West Geauga (4-5) on Halloween.
Kirtland will look for its 55th straight regular season victory Friday night at Independence (5-4).
A win would lock up a home Playoff game for the Hornets.
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