CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- Adam Hess and Sam Kukura remember what it was like when Kirtland's football team lost in the state finals last season. On Friday, the Hornets duo made sure it didn't happen again.
Hess rushed 177 yards, scored two touchdowns and added a pair of two-point conversions to lead Kirtland to a 44-16 victory over Wayne Trace in Ohio's Division VI state finals at Fawcett Stadium in Canton.
Kukura added 196 yards and a score for the Hornets (15-0) as Kirtland, which has won 44 of its last 45 games, won its second title in three years.
The squad logged the fourth-most total yards of offense in a state championship, finishing with 588 yards in a game played amid light snow flurries.
Wayne Trace (13-2) tied things up in the second quarter on a 41-yard touchdown pass from Colby Speice to Jake Arend. That woke up Kirtland, the top-ranked team in the Associated Press poll, and the Hornets rolled off 36 straight points on the strength of Hess and Kukura.
By halftime, the duo had 276 yards rushing and three touchdowns. It led to a 381-138 edge on offense at the break.
"That's what we like to do," Kirtland coach Tiger Laverde said. "There's no bones about it, we run the ball.
"These two do a great job, but it's all 11. It's the up back, it's the five guys up front and it's our two tight ends. They're unbelievable blockers and our quarterback does a great job running the ball himself."
The haymaker in the first half came when Hess took over the game on two straight drives in the second quarter.
The special mention AP All-Ohio running back broke the 8-all tie with a 5-yard run. He then became the Hornets' featured back on a seven-play, 92-yard drive where he accounted for 78 yards and scored a touchdown to make it 22-8.
On the next possession, Kukura went virtually untouched on a 68-yard score to give the Hornets a 30-8 advantage over 10th-ranked Wayne Trace.
"That was a big one, 22-8 with an offense like theirs, it's still a good game," Laverde said. "That last touchdown really broke their spirits a bit.
"Then we got the ball to start the third quarter and I think that touchdown was very important. At halftime, we talked a lot about coming out and getting a touchdown. . The kids executed the game plan and we're going home with a 'W,' which was the plan."
It wasn't just a matter of the Hornets' trademark run game. Quarterback Sam Skiljan got into the action with 133 yards passing and two touchdowns on a 6-of-10 performance with no interceptions.
With the Raiders loading the box, Skiljan used the play-action pass to near perfection with a 24-yard score to Ryan Loncar and a 51-yard strike to Matthew Finkler, who had three catches for 72 yards.
Kirtland, which has given up only 33 total points in three straight state finals, might have been at its best defensively as it faced Speice, the AP's Division VI co-Offensive Player of the Year.
Speice came in with an almost unbelievable stat line of 292-of-491, for 4,687 yards and 62 touchdowns. His game against Kirtland looks pretty good on paper, as he completed 18 of 44 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns, although 148 yards and one of the TDs came in the second half after the game was no longer in doubt.
"We watched film all week and saw that they hit a lot of deep balls," Loncar said. "We saw that's where a lot of his yards came. He's very accurate on his deep balls, so we wanted to limit the big plays. I think we did a good job keeping the ball in front of us."