Stubbing its toe with self-induced mistakes, Twinsburg's football team made a challenging rivalry against Solon even more difficult.
Things could have turned out so much different in Twinsburg's home opener at Tiger Stadium.
Instead, the youthful Tigers suffered a 46-6 non-league loss to the arch rival Comets (2-0).
Before a large home crowd, the buzz in the air got a bit louder when Twinsburg scored on the third play from scrimmage.
On third down, Tiger junior quarterback Aiden Corrigan dropped back to pass and hit a streaking Alex Branch in stride with a dart in the middle of the field on a 71-yard touchdown pass.
That strike stunned Solon as the Tiger faithful erupted as Branch, a junior wide-out defensive back, outraced several Comet defenders. The extra point was no good, but Twinsburg had a 6-0 lead.
It didn't last long. Solon went on a 46-0 spurt.
"Our guys had a great start and that first score was good as it got everyone excited," said Twinsburg head coach Mike Bell.
"When something like that happens, you have got to do something with it — we got everyone excited, but we didn't do enough with it," added Bell.
Knowing Solon's talent and experience, Bell knew there wasn't much wiggle room to have success with mistakes.
"There were some self-inflicted wounds and I think tonight was a case of needing to focus and to have good concentration," explained Bell. "We had been trying to clean up some things (from week one) and had a good start."
After two straight 11-yard first down plays, Solon was aided by a Tiger penalty and then the explosive Comets offense struck.
Veteran quarterback Pat McQuade hit standout receiver Grant McCurry on a 53-yard TD with a pass up the seam to make it 7-6 at the 9:02 mark of a crazy first quarter.
Three plays from scrimmage later, Najee Story recovered a Corrigan fumble that led to a 12-yard scoring rumble up the gut by back Khalil Eichelberger (90 yards on 10 totes).
"We gave them a short field a couple of times and you just can't do that against a team like Solon," noted Bell.
After sophomore Twinsburg linebacker Joe Bova tackled Eichelberger for a 5-yard loss, it helped to limit the Comets to a 24-yard field goal as it was 18-6 with 1:58 left in the first stanza.
However, the Tigers fumbled again in their own territory giving Solon the ball at the 31-yard line.
On the next play, McQuade found McCurry on a well-executed slip-screen pass, a 31-yard TD to make it 25-6 at the 1:40 mark of a wild first period.
Story, a 6-4, 236-pound defensive end, has received attention and offers from the likes of Ohio State, Alabama and Notre Dame, among others.
McQuaide (1,144 yards passing in 2018) is a three-year starter while the 205-pound Eichelberger (894 yards, 15 TDs), and 6-6, 290-pound tackle Hark Sohi are only juniors.
They all hurt the Tigers (1-1).
Damaging to Twinsburg's defense and a heralded Tiger secondary, the McQuaide-McCurry connection stung each time.
McCurry had five catches for 188 yards and three TD's. He also had a 58-yard kick off return. McQuaide was 11-16 for 247 yards and three scores.
For the Tigers, Corrigan was 7-18 through the air for 146 yards, one TD, and one interception. He added eight carries for 23 yards.
Jack Turle is a senior who played a monster game against Solon.
An undersized 5-8, 175-pound senior who played on the Tiger's young and new-look defensive line, Turle was steady and active against a big Comet front wall.
Turle often used his leverage against Solon and added two rushes for six yards as a back.
"You know, Turle was one of the kids who really had a good game," said Bell. "Jack really played extremely hard for us."
Senior wide out Dominick Glenn had four catches for 38 yards and ran twice for six yards. Three of his catches resulted in first downs.
Another senior WR-DB, Emile Levert, sparked the Tigers with his play in all three facets of the game.
With a pair of catches for 14 yards, Levert also did a good job returning kicks, was active in the Tiger secondary, and added a 3-yard run as well. He can play corner or safety.
Levert is developing as a standout two-way player.
"He's a guy that we are really counting on now and he is doing it at both ends," pointed out Bell. "He has helped more and more on offense and really provides increased leadership."
Senior Jamir James ran nine times for 27 yards.
Twinsburg meets another neighboring rival in Aurora Friday at 7 p.m on the road.