Tallmadge, OH- Tallmadge Football Field was the site for the Highland Hornets and Tallmadge Blue Devils. It was a big matchup between two undefeated teams, both who were 3-0 heading into this one.
It was an ugly start to the game for both teams, as on the third play of the game, Highland Quarterback Andrew Lurtz threw an interception, but would have been a pick six if it was not for a flag on Tallmadge.
Quarterback Ty Hurst gets a nice seven yard pass to start the drive for Tallmadge. But, the very next play Hurst threw an interception to Matt Ciryak and that was just the start for a big night from the Highland defense.
Highland starts off on offense and gets a few good plays going. It only took until the fourth play of the drive, and running back Lukas Stiles took off for a huge 32 yard touchdown run and that would put the Hornets up 7-0.
Tallmadge would get their next offensive drive all the way down to the goal line but fail to get in. As the Hornets defense would come up with a goal line stance by stuffing the run and tipping the final pass to force the turnover on downs.
The Blue Devils woke up on offense and finally put a full drive together. It started by Hurst getting connected with Wisconsin commit Collin Dixon for the first time all game. Hurst then had many more completions and kept the drive going.
Finally at the end of the drive, Hurst found wide receiver Gino Spano for the one yard touchdown pass and that would help tie the game for the Blue Devils. It would also be the final play of the first quarter.
The second quarter began with a three and out by the Highland offense. Tallmadge then got the ball back after a punt and the first play Hurst threw his second interception of the game to Creed Hill.
Highland got some momentum to start their drive with some nice runs from Stiles and Noah Robinson. After those runs, Lurtz gets sacked for a six yard loss but then Stiles bounced right back for the team with a 24 yard gain. Unfortunately, the drive would come to a stop with a fumble by Johnny Siliko.
The rest of the first half was a dud to say the least. Besides a few flashy runs from Stiles, both teams just went back and forth exchanging punts and neither offense could get going. Tallmadge would go on to run out the clock to go to the half tied at seven.
Tallmadge started off with the ball in the second half hoping for a fast start but it did not go that way. After a big run by Hurst and then a pass after that to pick up the first down, the drive quickly stalled out when Logan Marquis was brought down for a 12 yard sack. Hurst then had an incomplete pass and Tallmadge was forced to punt.
That is when Highland’s returner Matt Ciryak turned on the burners and ran the punt all the way back for a touchdown to put the Hornets up 13-7 early in the third quarter.
The next couple of drives both teams started to exchange punts again before Highland finally put a big offensive drive together towards the end of the quarter.
It all started with Lurtz connecting with Robinson who brought it in one handed for a 22 yard gain. Robinson then kept going right after with an 11 yard run for another first down. After a first down, Stiles took it into the end zone from 13 yards out for his second touchdown giving the Hornets a 20-7 lead.
The third quarter came to an end with the Blue Devils having some momentum on offense but that quickly stalled out in the fourth thanks to the dominant Highland defensive line who had been over Hurst all night long.
The strong run game for Highland continued to keep going with big runs from Stiles, Robinson, and Siliko. Of course it was no other than Robinson who finished the drive with his third touchdown on the night and iced the game for the Hornets.
As if they needed anything else, Sahvon Hollis came up with an interception on Hurst who had a very rough night throwing three interceptions total.
The turnover would go ahead and let Highland run the clock all the way down and the Hornets would go on to win without ease 27-7.
The dynamic running duo of Lukas Stiles and Noah Robinson along with the combination of amazing play from the defense helped lead Highland to the big win and improve to 4-0. I talked with Highland coach Mike Gibbons after the game about his team’s performance.
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