Published in The Chagrin Valley Times
November 30, 2018
For the first time in program history, the Kenston Bombers football team has captured the state championship.
The Bombers bludgeoned the Kettering Archbishop Alter Knights, 42-6, in the Division III state championship game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton Friday afternoon. The Knights hadn’t given up more than 20 points in a game entering the contest.
The teams traded turnovers to start the game. On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Kenston junior quarterback Jon Tomcufcik was strip sacked, but Kenston got the ball right back on Alter’s ensuing drive with an interception by junior Tyler Mintz at Kenston’s 3-yard line.
Alter got the scoring going with a 19-yard one-handed touchdown catch by senior Derek Willits on a perfectly thrown ball from senior Connor Bazelak on a fade route with 6:36 on the clock in the opening frame, but the extra point was blocked for a 6-0 Knights lead.
On Kenston’s next drive, Tomcufcik dialed up Mintz for a 4th-and-7 conversion, then found senior Bransen Stanley wide open for a 14-yard touchdown strike. Senior kicker Anna Sanders nailed the extra point to give the Bombers a 7-6 lead.
Kenston wasted no time at the start of the second quarter, as junior running back Jack Porter motored for a 58-yard run on the first play of the quarter to give Kenston a 14-6 lead after Sanders’ extra point was good.
Stanley was a one-man highlight reel on back to back second quarter plays, first intercepting a Bazelak pass that tipped off a receiver’s hands near midfield. Tomcufcik then found a wide open Stanley streaking down the left sideline for a 40-yard touchdown toss on the first play of the Bombers’ drive to put Kenston up 21-6 with 8:55 to go in the half after another extra point from Sanders.
After a Kenston drive stalled at the 5-yard line near the end of the half, Sanders missed a 22-yard field goal attempt with 27 seconds left in the half.
Kenston forced an Alter 3-and-out to open the second half, and the Bombers then extended their lead to 28-6 with 7:10 left in the third quarter on a touchdown pass from Tomcufcik to Mintz on a fourth-and-six play from the 16. Sanders provided her fourth extra point.
After a 34-yard reception by junior Jay Middleton on third-and-five set up 1st down at the 11-yard line, Porter found paydirt for another touchdown with 2:46 to go in the third quarter to put the Bombers up, 35-6.
The teams traded stalled drives heading into the fourth quarter, and senior linebacker Matt Iklodi pulled in an interception with 8:52 to go in the game.
Following the Iklodi pick, Porter found the endzone again on an 11-yard touchdown run that increased the lead to 42-6 after the Sanders extra point. Porter eclipsed 100 yards rushing on the drive, giving him 100+ yard performances in each of Kenston’s 15 games this season.
With their 36-point lead, the Bombers enacted a running clock with 5:16 to go in the title game and closed out the game to win their first state title.
The Bombers finished with a 425 yards of offense, including Tomcufcik going 16/23 for 285 passing yards and three scores in the air, Porter gaining 116 yards on 20 rushes for three touchdowns, Mintz making four receptions for 78 yards and a score, Stanley hauling in four receptions for 71 yards and two touchdowns and Middleton finishing with six catches for 123 yards.
Kenston’s defense held Alter to six points, its lowest point total since a week one loss at Kettering Fairmont, and 284 offensive yards. Senior linebacker Joseph Staudenbaur had seven tackles to lead the Bomber D.
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