By Sean Duffy
Tallmadge, OH– It is Week 4 and you know what that means, conference play begins in earnest. In the American Division of the Suburban League, the first week of conference play may actually determine the destiny of the division. The Highland Hornets (3-0,0-0) travels to take on Tallmadge (3-0,0-0) in perhaps the most important conference game of the year. Each team boasts a bevy of talent on both sides of the ball, and both teams are likely to be in the thick of the playoffs in their respective divisions. However this is about the American Division, in which the winner will likely be the favorite to claim the division title .
Each team got off to a rough start offensively, turning the ball over on back to back possessions. Highland’s Senior RB Lukas Stiles Scored on a 32 yd TD run. Highland Jumped out to 7-0 lead with 6:11 remaining in the first quarter.
Tallmadge would tie the game thanks to a 8 play drive, which was capped off with a 2 yd TD pass from Senior QB Ty Hurst to Senior WR Gino Spano. At the end of the first quarter the score was tied 7-7
The second quarter belonged to the defenses. Highland’s defense was putting constant pressure on Hurst, forcing errant throws, and multiple stops. Tallmadge’s offense did not help itself by committing multiple penalties that stalled numerous drives. Tallmadge’s would also pitch a shut out in the second quarter, Highland’s offensive game plan was clear from the outset, run the ball with Stiles and Tallmadge was able to stifle the run in the second quarter. At halftime the score was still 7-7.
Highland’s Defense picked up where they left off in the second quarter, forcing bad throws by Hurst and little to no out put in ground game, forcing a 3 and out on the opening drive of the third quarter. Highland’s Matt Ciryak would take the ensuing punt 60 yds for a score, a blocked extra point made the score 13-7 in favor of the hornets with 9:19 remaining in the third quarter. Highland’s Lukas Stiles would rumble 13 yds for his second TD of the night to end the third quarter with Highland leading 20-7.
Lukas Stiles was not done as he opened the fourth quarter with bruising 21 yd TD run, Highland’s lead swelled to 27-7, Stiles notching his third score of the night.
That score proved to be the final nail in the Tallmadge coffin, as they were simply unable to put any sustained success through the air or on the ground. Highlands defense would force another interception of Hurst which allowed the Hornets to run out the clock and secure the 27-7 victory.
The loss drops Tallmadge to 3-1 overall and 0-1 in the Suburban League American Division. The Blue Devils were led by Ty Hurst who had a TD Pass on the night to WR Gino Spano. Tallmadge will look to bounce back at home in week 5 against Revere.
Highland improves to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the Suburban League American Division. The Hornets were led offensively by Senior RB Lukas Stiles who had 3 rushing TDs on the night. Matt Ciryak also chipped in with 60 yd punt return for a TD. Highland will look to keep the winning train rolling in week 5 as they travel to face Baberton.
So long from Tallmadge!