This could be the last time these two schools compete for years since both are changing conferences.
The Kenston football team got up early, then rolled to an emphatic 38-10 victory over rival Chagrin Falls Friday night at Bomber Stadium.
The victory was the Bombers’ third straight, as they sit at 3-2 and 2-0 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division. The Tigers dropped to 1-4, 0-2 against a brutal schedule. The five teams the Tigers have played are a combined 20-5 thus far.
This also marks the last time the two teams will meet for at least two years, as Kenston will leave the CVC, which will disband, next season. Both teams’ schedules are tied up for at least the next two years with other non-conference opponents.
Both teams had three-and-outs to start the game, but the Bombers used a partially blocked punt to set up great field position for their second possession at the Chagrin Falls 33. Just four plays later, James Thigpen broke free for a 25-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead with 6:59 left in the first quarter. Thigpen finished with 12 rushes for 70 yards to lead all rushers.
The Tigers responded and drove the ball inside the Bomber 20, but a fumble caused a nice drive to end with no points for Chagrin Falls.
The Bombers went back to work with their longest drive of the game. Kenston marched 78 yards on 13 plays on a drive that lasted 4:27 and ended with a 22-yard field goal by Parker Deuley. It was a 10-0 lead with 1:12 left in the first quarter.
The Bombers did not let up in the second quarter, as quarterback Parker Gdula continued his mastery of coach Jeff Grubich’s offense. The Bombers took over at the Chagrin Falls 41 after Will Bush recovered a Tiger fumble. Then a 37-yard pass from Gdula to Jay Weemhoff set up 4-yard touchdown run by Thigpen for a 17-0 lead. Weemhoff had four catches for 84 yards all in the first half.
Then, just before the half, Kenston displayed its high-tempo offense at its best. The Bombers got the ball with about a minute left in the first half at their own 45. A few plays later Gdula hit Jake Silbermann on a 14-yard touch-down pass for a 24-0 lead with just 14 seconds left in the half.
As well as the Bombers looked for much of the game, it was far from a clean effort. Kenston has several penalties called with several leading directly to Tiger first downs.
“I’ll tell you what, it’s kind of frustrating,” Grubich said. “We had too many penalties. That makes a difference. But we’ll enjoy the win.
“We, as a coaching staff, need to figure out what we did wrong. If we take care of our mistakes, we’ll be OK.”
Grubich continued by saying, “There is plenty of room for improvement.”
One player who looked to be in midseason form was Gdula. The Bomber was impressive as he completed 15-of-26 passes for 321 yards. Jeremy Wyers was his favorite target, catching seven passes for 165 yards.
Starting the second half, the Bombers fumbled, which set up a 22-yard field goal by Brennan Izzo to pull the Tigers within 24-3.
However, Kenston put the game away with two third quarter touchdowns. Wyers had a 2-yard touchdown run followed up by a 1-yard touchdown run, which was set up when he caught a 68-yard pass from Gdula that put the ball on the Tiger 1. That made the game 38-3 with 3:16 left in the third quarter.
Chagrin Falls put a nice drive together late in the game for the Tigers’ lone touchdown as Michael Brigeman hit Tom Vandertill with a 27-yard touchdown pass with 3:49 left to play in the game. Brigeman hit 11-of-23 passes for 189 yards while Vandertill caught three passes for 63 yards. Corey Tull led the Tigers in rushing with 11 rushes for 47 yards.
The Kenston defense, for the most part, held the Tigers in check. A fierce pass rush accounted for six sacks of Brigeman.
“One of our goals is to play sound, fundamental defense,” Grubich said. “We want to make them drive the field. We did that for the most part.”
The Bombers have only given up 10 points in their last three games, all wins, and only an average of 9.8 per game this season thus far.
Next up for the Bombers is Orange, which is 3-2 but 0-2 in the CVC after back-to-back losses to Perry and Aurora.
“The first thing we need to do is stay hungry,” Grubich said. “We can’t come in content. The coaches have to put the hammer down.”
Both teams play Thursday night games this week, which are now rare.
Kenston plays at Orange at 7 p.m. Chagrin Falls takes on Wickliffe (1-4, 0-2) also at 7 p.m. at home.