CANTON — Versailles quarterback Carson Bey never doubted for a moment.
Bey threw for 129 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 86 yards and another TD as the Tigers stunned Kirtland 20-16 in the Division V state championship game Saturday night at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
Kirtland (14-1) came into Saturday’s game with a national-best 55-game winning streak dating to the 2017 season. The Hornets’ last loss came against Marion Local in the Division VI state final that year. Since then, Kirtland had won three consecutive state crowns.
What’s more, Kirtland hadn’t so much as trailed in a game since the first round of the 2019 postseason. The Hornets had been ahead or tied for more than 1,400 consecutive game minutes entering Saturday.
That all changed midway through the first quarter when Bey capped a 10-play, 63-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown run on the Tigers’ first possession.
“Just knowing that we could do it,” Bey said of his mindset going into the game. “If we stick to our game and do the things we know to do, then we were going to win the game. And we knew it all week.”
Kirtland responded with a scoring march on its opening possession, cutting the Versailles lead to 6-3 on a 38-yard field goal by Johnny Raguz with 2:52 showing in the first quarter.
Versailles (15-1) went back to work on its next possession. Bey orchestrated a 10-play, 65-yard drive and capped it with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Michael Osborne. A 5-foot-11 junior, Osborne made a spectacular catch over a defender to give the Tigers a 13-3 lead.
“Carson gave me a chance to make a play on the ball,” Osborne said. “That gave us some energy.”
The Tigers extended their lead to 20-3 on their first possession of the third quarter. Jack Osborne capped the 13-play, 80-yard march via a 1-yard plunge with 3:22 remaining in the third.
Kirtland cut the Versailles lead to 20-10 on Gage Sullivan’s 29-yard scoring run with 9:03 remaining. The four-play, 58-yard drive took just 1:22 off the clock and gave the Hornets new life.
Kirtland made its final rally in the closing minute, cutting Versailles’ lead to 20-16 on Mason Rus’ 4-yard run with 37 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing kickoff, Versailles junior Titus Gehret recovered the onside kick and the Tigers ran out the clock.
The state championship is the seventh for Versailles but the first since 2003.
“It’s amazing,” Bey said. “I can’t even understand it.”