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Ursuline ousted | Kirtland rallies from 24 down

By Matthew Peaslee

mpeaslee@vindy.com

AURORA

Ursuline didn’t allow a first down, held Kirtland to 23 total yards, recovered two fumbles and was solid on offense in the first half of a regional final Saturday night.

The Fighting Irish’s dominance didn’t last, though, and they dropped the Division V, Region 21 final to the Hornets, 38-37 at Aurora Veterans Field.

“That’s our fault there,” Ursuline head coach Larry Kempe said. “We did it to ourselves.”

The luck didn’t run out. The Hornets just ran it up.

Adam Hess ran for 99 yards on 18 carries after getting it just twice in the first half. He scored on Kirtland’s first two possessions of the third quarter as it quickly made the score 24-16 after trailing 24-0 at halftime.

“We all got it together and figured out what we needed to do,” Hess said. “The offensive line was unbelievable.”

The big deficit didn’t faze Kirtland head coach Tiger LaVerde. His message at halftime was simple. But maybe hard to believe at the time.

“I said I got three two-point conversions that are going to work,’ LaVerde said. “We’re going to tie this thing up. “We’re going to go for two and we’re going to make them.”

The Hornets (13-0), who have won 28 straight games, converted four two-point conversions in the second half and earned their first lead, 32-31, at the 8:45 mark of the fourth quarter.

“We knew that they were going to come out and try some stuff early and we fell asleep in the secondary,” Kempe said.

But Kirtland threw just three times in the second half. One was a 45-yard pass from Scott Eilerman to Sam Kukura.

The game was won on the ground, though, with skilled blocking. Eilerman added the go-ahead touchdown with a 39-yard score and Hess pounded in a 2-yard run to go up, 38-31, with 4:59 left in the fourth.

The senior QB had 134 rushing yards on just six carries.

“[Eilerman] did a great job faking the ball and taking it,” LaVerde said.

So, with just under five minutes left, and 66 yards to go, Ursuline drove for the comeback.

Ten plays got the ball to the Kirtland 21-yard line and on third down, Irish QB Chris Durkin threw to Shannon Hightower as he fell out of the end zone for an incomplete pass. A pass interference call on the Hornets gave Ursuline the ball on the 10-yard line with four more chances. On an eventual fourth-and-8, Durkin hit Hightower again, for a touchdown this time, and the Irish trailed, 38-37.

With Tramain Thigpen and Jermaine Williams flanked to his left and right, Durkin tried to run in the two-point conversion attempt but was dragged down on the 1.

“No doubt,” Kempe said of the decision. “I’d do it again.”

The Irish surrendered 355 yards in the second half and were forced to punt four times.

“We probably became a little bit undisciplined in our assignments, but we did not get tired,” Kempe said. “In the first half we stopped them, in the second half we didn’t.”

Thigpen opened the scoring early in the first quarter with a 13-yard TD run. He finished with 61 yards on 19 carries. Vince Yurcho added a 41-yard field goal and Tannor Berry received a reverse run play before going 6 yards for a score. Durkin’s 49-yard pass to Hightower just before halftime built Ursuline’s 24-0 lead.

Thigpen and freshman Marcus Mosley recovered first-half fumbles.

“We had the momentum,” Kempe said. “Once momentum shifted — we lost it.”

Durkin led the Irish on the ground with 109 yards and threw for 74, completing 6 of 14 passes. He was on the receiving end of a 67-yard TD in the third when Williams hit him with a screen pass before tip-toeing down the sideline for a score.

Ursuline was flagged 15 times for 156 yards. Kirtland was penalized three times for 30 yards.

“Strange,” Kempe said.

In his first year as Ursuline head coach, Kempe went 8-5 and brought the Irish back to the playoffs after a rare one-year hiatus.


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Comments

(6 comments)

They didn't oust the Irish.. the refs helped them win..PointBlank... It should not take refs to help win a game.. What are they teaching these children?. It's not okay to cheat...Yes Kirkland didn't give up..and yes they played hard but they were cheap shotting..blocking from the back.late hitting...but the Irish received all of the penalty calls...horrible officiating.....do not be alarmed if that game is contested... .due to unfair officiating.....

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(6 comments)

Sounds like someone is a SORE LOSER!!! I can remember in games past when the mighty Ursline team did the same thing late hits, helment to helment hits in fact one game comes to mind where they put three players of the team they were playing in the hospital, one with a concussion and one with brused kidneys. But that was alright they can do nothing wrong. I don't understand how a team with a 8-2record gets to the playoffs while teams with 9-1 don't make it. Oh i forgot they play a so-called tougher schedule. Playing them is like playing cards where the other player as all the face cards and the higher number cards and all you have are the cards 1-8 whose going to win???

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(149 comments)

jdrn94...you are the "sore loser"...your missive is mean-spirited and irrational. Ursuline didn't petition to be in D-5..they were assigned...

Now, to the rational...when one team has 15 penalties for 159 yards and the other has 3 for 30 yards, eyebrows should be raised. If anyone out there is a statistition go back to 2007 when Ursuline was assigned to D-5 and look at each regular season game and each playoff game through the Kirtand game. Look at Ursuline's penalties in the regular season and look at Ursuline's penalties in the postseason. Compare Ursuline's "holding" penalties to their competitors in the playoffs and take note if the opponent was a passing team. Compare the tally and what you will find will be a startling revelation. Ursuline's holding penalties shoot up very high during the playoffs compared with the regular season and their penalties for holding are much greater than their foes in the playoffs, even against primarily passing teams who would be expected to hold more often. Why? "Phantom-holding" penalties are great equalizers.

Well several reasons. The teams in D-5 are primarily from small, white rural areas. Ursuline is a very diverse inner-city team. Ursuline is also a parochial school. The factors that lead to the disparity in "phantom-holding" penalties may have more to do with bias than anything else.

Regardless, when a team is winning 24 to 0 in the 3rd quarter, they should win the game. No matter what.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(7 comments)

I was at the game and I have to say it was very disappointing. First let me answer jdrn94 statement. Your Mooney Cardinals play the same schedule as Ursuline and was irrevelant this year. Suck it up!
As for the game lets talk about what Ursuline could control. The 2nd half they came out cocky and cold. The offensive wasn't clicking and the defense didn't show up. There were no adjustments made by the coaches and at the end of the day
Rockyroad, UHS should have fought for the win. It shouldn't be a slam dunk. Kemp should have kick the extra point and beat them in overtime.
As for the officials, how can they sleep at night knowing they won the game for Kirtland. Let's be honest. Ursuline had 3 touchdowns called back, multiple questionable penalties and was playing the #1 team in the state. There were no flags when the Kirtland TE pulled the Ursuline linebacker down on that 80 yard run. Or what about the clipping call they miss right in front of the ref on the other long run in the 3rd quarter. I don't care what team it is, no one should lose in that manner. I know personally how they select the officials and there's more politics in that than the government.
At the end of the day, kick the extra point and play it in overtime! Better luck to my Irish next year!

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(6 comments)

Well said jg52fresh...and to add to that..our son counted on defense how many times he was held and blocked from the back still no penalty calls were made against Kirkland..The defense was there but adjustments should have been made to take home the win....

The children started to lose momentum when the adult refs were cheating ....

Irish will be back next year and hopefully the officials will come from a totally different State....

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(1169 comments)

What goes around comes around Irish. Take your loss like the "Champions" you claim to be. You lost. Be humble and congratulate the victors. Teach your "Diverse Student Athletes" about sportsmanship in the long Ursuline tradition.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(524 comments)

What a major choke job.Some of you are very sore losers,trying to make excuses.They blew a 24 point lead, game over.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(1 comment)

DSquared, I am glad to know at least one adult posts. Your post is the only one that shows any rational thought.

I went to the game as neutral observer to see two great teams play and see if Kirtlands state championship last year was for real or simply the luck of not having UHS in the playoffs.

What happened: UHS played a great first half, Kirtland played an awsome second half. UHS, there where some questionable calls (that is NOT the reason you lost). UHS lost because they did not make second half ajustments, played the second half not to loose (except for the flea-flicker, thats how you should have played the entire half), and most of all lost their composure and focus.

The real story of the game to me was the fans. They cheered hard but where not there to support their team, only to see them win. If they where there to support their atheletes they would have stayed and cheered them and saw how graciously they accepted their trophy.

I guess the attitude in these posts explains UHS fans actions last night.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(397 comments)

Dear God. Mighty Ursuline loses so it has to be the refs fault. Half of you complainers don't even know what a hold or block in the back is and yet yell from the stands like you've been officiating all your life.

I applaud the post of mik81 above. How shameful if its true the fans didn't stick around for the awards presentations. Very poor sportsmanship.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(2 comments)

It's a shame that such a hard fought game is sullied by the unsportsman-like behavior exhibited by the Ursuline fans and players. And nice comments, Coach Kempe--Kirtland didn't beat you, you lost. No wonder your boys acted the way they did after the game. The culture on your team is very different from the culture on ours. In the end, all that matters is WE beat YOU.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(1337 comments)

You all can see the lack of class on the part of Ursuline. It's been that way since the '60's. Absolutely no class. To blame this on the refs when you had a 24 point lead is just unbelievable. Like someone stated earlier, maybe next year you can move down to D VI so you have a chance.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(15 comments)

As a supporter of all valley teams once the playoffs start I would have loved to have seen Ursuline win and go on to a state title.

They lost. End of story.

All of you whiners are making a very proud program look bad. Ursuline led 24-0 at halftime. So by your logic, the refs decided to let Kirtland get behind by 24 points before cheating against Ursuline. That is about as asinine logic as you can get. If the refs were out to make Ursuline lose, they don't EVER let it get to be 24-0.

Horrible officiating? Yes! Did it decide the outcome of the game? NO! Kirtland's heart and desire and their never-quit attitude won it for them.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(3 comments)

In regards to Ursuline (wish people would spell it correctly especially since it's directly above the comments) fans leaving the game, most fans were parents and family of players & coaches that went down to support the team on the field. As for fans only wanting the win, not caring about the kids? Get over it. Hornet fan from above, you have no clue what type of man Larry Kempe is. He is a great mentor and role model for our kids, as is the entire staff. Come to think of it, all of our athletic staffs are wonderful. Many boys will go on to play college football while getting quality educations: some who may have written off college if they played for any other program in this area. Our kids have long term goals after high school, unlike some programs that teach "living in the moment" so all they have are "glory days" of their past. With all the social networking our kids have access to many of our Irish have tweeted to Kirtland's players congrats & good lucks. I only say this because I know how my kids have been raised. No shame Irish. None at all. Lessons learned. Admit mistakes, and don't repeat.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(4 comments)

This says it all:

“This time, class and character won over talent.” - Tiger LaVerde.

Amen

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(2 comments)

It amazes me what people can say about Ursuline and the people that represent it. The loss was hard enough to take, losing on the goal line, refs calling penalties one way all night long, and then the racial slurs as our players walked to the locker room, by so called parents, not kids. The name calling and the taunting of our faith as we left the stadium. Who has class and character now? The posting of such rude comments and tweets about players, these kids played their hearts out as did your team. You will never defeat us, we will be back, and remember, we are Youngstown Ursuline, proud of our faith, proud of our school and proud of all that represent it. You can never take that nor will you ever have that. Time to move on. Go Irish!!!

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(23 comments)

First the quote by Tiger Laverde class and character ? I was at the game never saw it from the Kirtland team nor the Kirtland fans. Mr Laverde is some example to his team allowing them to to tackle by grabbing on to the face mask of the opponent but I guess when your desperate anything goes Talking about Kempe statement Kirtland didn't beat us , we beat ourselves this is true Ursuline let it slip away, so Kirtland you would not have beat UHS last year an you did not beat them this year you had help from the good ole boy officiating it reminded me of the movie with Denzel Washington the only thing missing was the name calling ..Oh wait you guys did do that only it was the adults. Go Coldwater !

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(3 comments)

Man that was one helluva game. To fault either coach, team, fans, is just cheating how great of a game that was. One of the best games of the year at any level. Just appreciate it. Good luck Kirtland.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(397 comments)

Days later and it's still the refs fault. Sad. Pathetic actually.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(2 comments)

okay I have to get in on this, sorry...when Crestview was defeated by Kirtland, there stands called over to us and told us to go back to the sticks where we belonged. So every team is guilty of all this crap just some worst then others.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(3 comments)

Only thing that really disappointed me was the guy in the Kirtland bleachers with a Steelers jersey that said "Sopher" on it giving the Stone Cold "suck it" gesture to our kids as they won. That was classless.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(4 comments)

Good clip of an interview with Tiger LaVerde.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyPA3G...

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(1169 comments)

I was wondering how long it would take for an Ursuline fan to play the race card. " Good Ole Boys", "White Rural". Who's the racist? Listen to yourselves. Tom Carey would be ashamed of such behavior. My, how "The Academy" has slipped. How sad for you!

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(19 comments)

Come on people! Stop being jealous of Ursuline's success. They may not have played their best football in the second half, but anybody who was there saw 3 tds called back, every UHS offensive play in the 2nd half of 10 or more yards called back. If you don't think that matters when playing the reigning state champs, you are clueless about sports in general and football in particular. Kirtland wasn't good enough to win on their own, but are good enough that when repeatedly presented with that many opportunities to win, usually will. Every one of those officials should be ashamed. The kids from BOTH teams earned the right to play in that game, and to have a fair chance to win. The game was handed to Kirtland.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(2 comments)

@realfan63 couldn't have given a more accurate observation of the entire game. You are dead on and it is unfortunate what was witnessed by all. Any opposing team given the opportunities Kirkland was given would have won this game. Our boys down and beaten still came back to tie which by all rights should have been 3 scores ahead and no way would of lost if fair was fair. Thus the decision to go for 2, no way in OT UHS had a fair chance of winning.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(2 comments)

@realfan63 - jealous of Ursuline's success? Right - like not making the playoffs last year and giving up a historic comeback this year. That 8-5 record really puts the 28 game win streak to shame. Oh, I forgot, it's all the refs fault! Hilarious. Anyhoo, I've got to go back to shining my state title ring from last year . . .

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(23 comments)

Hey tooth when you're done go on over to Larry Kempes house he has three in a row you can shine up.. Congrats to Mr Kempe on being named Coach of the Year Division V. Another Ursuline fine moment. !

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(19 comments)

Yes "tooth", jealous. If not jealousy then you just hate UHS. Please enlighten us as to which it is. No one would spout venom like you for any other reason. Also, I notice you say it's hilarious to claim the refs played a huge part in Kirtland's "win", but I have a question for you: how many teams would win a game against a good team when they have 3 yes called back? Your answer is going to be hilarious! I think you may be angry because the Irish have beaten your team recently? Maybe even the last several times you played?

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(19 comments)

3 tds I meant, I hate auto-correct.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(3 comments)

crestview had 2 td's called back the week before

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(19 comments)

swm - that sucks too! Now throw in another called back td, call back every 2nd half play over 10 yards, and lose by 1 point and you can see just how ridiculous this was.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(4 comments)

So what are you inferring with writing Crestview had 2 td's called back? Are you saying all the refs in the state of Ohio have been paid off or are for some unknown reason cheating on Kirtland's behalf. Well, you know Kirtland's a very wealthy community -- maybe they've paid them off.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(397 comments)

Almost a week later and still with the refs. Give it up.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago

(19 comments)

That's right Pens, what happened, happened. Time won't change it.

posted 1 year, 8 months ago


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