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Kirtland football makes more history with state semifinal victory

The Hornets passed St. Ignatius for the longest winning streak in Northeast Ohio history.

KIRTLAND, Ohio — Five Northeast Ohio schools and a total of 12 teams will play for state championships this weekend at Fortress Obetz near Columbus.

But only one team will look to extend a record-setting winning streak.

Kirtland defeated Otsego, 39-13, Saturday night to win its 40th game in a row. The win vaulted the Hornets past Chuck Kyle's legendary St. Ignatius teams-- who won 39 consecutive games from October of 1987 to November of 1990-- for the longest winning streak in Northeast Ohio history.

According to MaxPreps, Kirtland holds the fourth-longest active winning streak in the country. 

Just don't ask them about it.

"Honestly, we don't really think much about the 40-game win streak," senior running back and linebacker Mason Sullivan said. "We just want to go through game-by-game, winning it all."

"Honest to God, we don't talk about it. Tomorrow we're going to talk about Ironton and all week we're going to talk about Ironton," head coach Tiger LaVerde said of Kirtland's state championship opponent, who the Hornets beat in the title match last year.

"These kids want to finish off their senior year with winning the state championship."

Maybe not worrying about the streak is exactly how Kirtland has kept it alive, adding to what has already been a decade of dominance through pure consistency. The Hornets will look to win their third state title in a row and sixth in 10 years on Saturday. Even after getting bumped up from Division VI to Division V before the start of last season, LaVerde's team can't stop winning.

"Going to the state championship, it used to be a dream. But now these kids get to do it, it seems like more often than not. 

"But we do not take it for granted," LaVerde added. "It's a special, special thing."

Forty wins in a row might not mean much for Kirtland now.  But 41 sure would.

"(Winning the championship) is important to them and we're going to get after it this week," LaVerde said.