December 17, 2018
By Drew Tewksbury (Voice of the Bombers, President of the Alumni Association and 1986 graduate)
Ladies and gentlemen, the 2018 football season was one for the ages. Just two times before had the football team reached the state championship game, coming up just short on each occasion in 1986 and 1995. Each were excellent teams but it just goes to show you how difficult it is to run a championship campaign – since its inception in 1952, the football team has averaged a state championship trip just once every 22 years!
In finishing the regular season with a 9-1 mark, this year’s Bomber squad’s lone blemish was a 27-24 Week 9 loss to rival Chardon on a last-second play. Though the loss cost Kenston its first-ever undefeated season, some might say that the loss sharpened the team’s focus for an unprecedented run to the title.
With a big Week 10 rebound victory over Willoughby South, the team was still able to meet its goal of capturing a Western Reserve Conference Championship as it geared up for the OHSAA state playoffs. Righting the ship against the Rebels propelled the Bombers into their first home playoff game in school history against West Holmes. And though it was quite the exciting opener, the Bombers coasted late to a 48-34 victory. What would come next may have been hoped for but was completely unforeseen.
Kenston easily dispatched top 10 state-ranked opponents one-by-one before setting up a showdown in Canton against the number one-ranked Kettering Archbishop Alter team. While Kenston High School had very proudly captured three state titles prior to this year, it certainly set up as the David to Alter’s Goliath, a private-school and perennial power with 32 state championships, two of which came in football within the last decade.
After an inauspicious beginning, the Bombers decimated Alter with a dominating defensive performance and balanced offensive attack downing the Knights 42-6. The 36-point win was the greatest margin of victory in a Division III state title game since 1981 and the win capped an utterly one-sided championship run where the Bombers, in taking down West Holmes, Buckeye, Canfield, Eastmoor Academy, and Alter won by an average score of 41-15.
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