For the Highland football team, the last three weeks of the season are being viewed as the playoffs. That is because the Hornets need to win out to have a shot at making the actual postseason. They got that plan rolling Friday night with a 43-21 victory over Green in the Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week, presented by PNC Bank.
After swapping early touchdowns, the Hornets poured it on in the second quarter behind a balanced mix of run and pass plays, and took a 29-7 lead into halftime
“We knew we had to be balanced coming in tonight,” Highland coach Tom Lombardo said. “We have a bunch of playmakers, it’s just a matter of getting them the confidence to go out and play.”
Quarterback and Game of the Week MVP Bruce Kinsey was one of those playmakers. He threw four touchdown passes and added another on the ground. The junior signal-caller kept Green’s defense guessing for much of the night.
“The offense got really moving in the first half and the defense gave us great field position in the second half,” Kinzey said. “Now, what we do in practice is what we have to do in the game.”
Green (5-3) cut its deficit to 14 after two quick scores in the third quarter, but Highland’s offense got back on track to put the game away.
“Green took a nice swing at us early in the second half, but we responded really well.” Lombardo said.
With the victory, Highland improved to 5-3 on the season. With only the top eight teams from each region making the postseason, the win should move the Hornets up from their previous spot (No. 14) in Division II, Region 6.
Through the Game of the Week program, Highland will receive $4,000 for its athletic department. Lombardo and Kinzey will also be honored during the Browns’ game against the San Diego Chargers on Oct. 28.
The Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week program is presented by PNC Bank, in association with Russell Athletic and The Ohio Army National Guard.