High school football: Seven area teams gear up for Week 12 playoff games

Oct. 30—The Kirtland football team will go for its 12th straight victory on Nov. 4.

It will be the last home game at Rogers Field as we know it. That's because come next year, the traditional grass turf at the home of the Hornets is going to be artificial turf.

Kirtland (11-0) hosts Hanoverton United (9-2) in a Division VI, Region 25 game in Week 12. Starting with next week's regional semifinals, games will be played at neutral sites.

"We're going to practice on it, hopefully for the next four weeks," Coach Tiger LaVerde said. "But yeah, this is our last home game on grass. ... The kids are absolutely excited about being able to play on the last home game on that grass."

With his team's 48-6 win against visiting Independence on Oct. 28, Kirtland improved to an eye-popping 210-18 (.921) under LaVerde over the past 17 seasons. That includes a 55-10 record in postseason play.

But LaVerde was quick to point out none of the previous seasons, wins or players figure into this weekend's game against a Hanoverton United team that threw the ball prolifically in a 62-49 win over at Rootstown squad that featured a running back with more than 2,000 yards rushing this season.

"They put up 62 last week," LaVerde said. "They moved up and down the field. Did a really nice job. Two weeks ago they didn't score (in a 14-0 loss to Salinesville Southern), then they had 62. It's an interesting mix."

Kirtland is one of seven News-Herald area football teams still alive in the playoffs, along with Mentor (in Division I), Riverside (in Division II), Chardon, Geneva and Kenston (in Division III) and Perry (in Division V).

As was the case last week, all Week 12 games will be played on Friday this week. Starting with the regional semifinals, Divisions I, II, III and V will play on Fridays, with Divisions IV, VI and VII on Saturdays.

—Mentor (7-3) will go for its fifth win in a row in a regional semifinal against visiting Canton McKinley (6-5). The game is a rematch of the season-opener won by the Cardinals, 34-21, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.

—Riverside (10-1) has won eight in a row since a 7-6 loss to Mentor in Week 3. The Beavers host Nordonia (9-2) this week.

—Chardon (9-1) hosts Geneva (8-3) in a regional quarterfinal this week. The teams last met in a 2020 second-round game in which the Hilltoppers defeated the Eagles, 57-13.

—Kenston (8-3) hits the road in Week 12 for a game against Youngstown Chaney (10-1). Chaney plays predominantly Mahoning and Trumbull County teams, but came to Lake County in September for a 33-14 win over Harvey.

—Perry (9-2) will try to extend its winning streak to five games with it hosts Navarre Fairless (9-2). It's the first-ever meeting between the programs.