CLEVELAND– Season 17 of FOX 8’s ‘Friday Night Touchdown‘ kicked off Friday, with highlights from more than 30 games across Northeast Ohio.
The inaugural FOX8.com Game of the Week featured 2011 Division V State Champion Kirtland, which fell a single point short in last season’s title game of repeating, against a resilient Eastlake North squad.
But the Hornets' explosive offense and suffocating defense were simply too much for the out-manned Rangers. Kirtland scored early, and often, rolling to a 62-7 win and Coach Tiger LaVerde's team showed why many expect it to be serious contender in Division VI this season. The Hornets have now won 36 straight regular season games and including Playoffs, 48 of their last 50 games overall.
Skyfox made a record four flyovers, Friday night, starting at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, where two proud programs squared off on opening night. Canton McKinley welcomed Akron Buchtel to Fawcett Stadium, where Ohio State class of 2015 recruit Eric Glover-Williams put on a show. As usual, the dual-threat quarterback did most of his damage on the ground, using his top end speed to run around, past and even through a tough Griffins' defense. The Bulldogs shook off some early turnovers to blank Buchtel 35-0.
On the East Side, Solon traveled to Kenston, where the Comets hit the ground running. Solon returned the opening kickoff the season for a touchdown and never looked back, bombing the Bombers 48-21.
On the West Side, Berea-Midpark made its debut as the merged Titans at one of 2012's surprise teams, North Royalton. The Titans battled the Bears all night, but could not dig themselves out of an early hole. The win earned Royalton some early Playoff points in the rugged, reorganized Region 1.
Perennial powers Chagrin Falls and Madison played one of the best games of the night, with the Blue Streaks blocking three Tigers' field goal attempts. But Coach Mark Iammarino's made just enough plays, including a couple long receptions from another Iammarino, Matt, to escape with a 27-21 win.
The first McDonald's 'Friday Night Touchdown' Player of the Week came from another terrific game, as Elyria ground out a comeback win over Amherst. The Comets scored first when Justin Mott returned an interception for a touchdown, so the Pioneers turned to workhorse running back Jordan Connell who ran hard all night, scoring three touchdowns, including the game-winner as Elyria held off Amherst 28-25.
For more scores from across Northeast Ohio and video highlights from John Telich, PJ Ziegler and Dan 'The Commissioner" Coughlin, CLICK HERE for more 'Friday Night Touchdown' coverage from the first week of the regular season.