Published in The News-Herald
November 24, 2018
NEW PHILADELPHIA – Kenston is on the doorstep.
In front of a packed visitor stands at New Philadelphia’s Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium, the Bombers put on a display of dominating football that was almost stunning in its one-sidedness, blasting Columbus Eastmoor, 40-7 in a Division III state semifinal Nov. 23 to advance to the state final next week at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton on Nov. 30 at 3 p.m. against Kettering Alter.
This will mark Kenston’s third appearance in a state final. The Bombers also reached the pinnacle of Division III football in 1986 and 1995, losing both by the agonizingly close scores of 7-6 and 3-0.
If Kenston’s performance so far in the playoffs, and especially in a state semifinal, is any indication, don’t bet against it getting over that hump and capturing the school’s first state championship next week.
Kenston (13-1) racked up 428 yards of offense, 331 on the ground, and garnered 25 first downs. Junior RB Jack Porter led the way with 186 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. Junior QB Jon Tomcufcik ran for 108 yards and three scores on 12 carries, and added 97 passing yards for good measure.
Not to be overlooked was a swarming Bombers’ defense, which held the speedy Warriors to 193 total yards and 10 first downs. Eastmoor picked up 74 of the yards and three of the first downs on its lone scoring drive late in the fourth quarter against Kenston’s second-string defense.
“It’s tough to put into words right now,” Kenston coach Jeff Grubich said. “Probably one word: Pride. I couldn’t be more proud of a group of kids, group of coaches, and just the school in general. Just proud as heck to be a Bomber and be part of something special like this.”
Kenston strove to use physicality to overcome Eastmoor’s speed. The Bombers served notice early their offensive line was going to impose its will, and its running game was not going to be stopped on this night. The Bombers took the opening kickoff and drove 79 yards in nine plays. Porter carried on five of the plays, including an 8-yard touchdown run that gave his team a 6-0 lead.