Published in The Chagrin Valley Times
October 30, 2014
Notching its seventh straight victory, the Kenston football team got the job done early during a 50-27 triumph at West Geauga on Friday, but the Bombers have unfinished business.
In their final game of the season, the Bombers will host an undefeated Aurora team at 7 p.m. Friday in a contest for sole ownership of the Chagrin Valley Conference. Also on the line, Kenston controls its own destiny in the eighth and final spot in its region. A win and the Bombers are in the playoffs.
Kenston receiver-linebacker Josh Hummer is one of 15 seniors who will be lacing his cleats for one last home game.
From Home Page “I’m a senior right now, and there’s no better feeling in the world,” he said after beating West Geauga to set up a showdown with Aurora. “It’s a home game. There’s a lot of things, a lot of people on the outside, and no one was with us seven weeks ago. We’re in a good position right now, and I’m just so excited. I can’t wait. I’m hoping we can pull out the victory.”
During first-quarter action last week, Kenston’s defense stopped the Wolverines 3 yards short on a fourth-down conversion attempt, and the Bombers took over on their own 22-yard line to set up their first scoring drive of the game.
Junior quarterback Parker Gdula completed a 35-yard screen pass to sophomore running back James Thigpen and then a 40-yard catch-and-run touchdown to senior Jake Silbermann, who capitalized on a textbook block from Hummer to find his way to the end zone.
“I visualize plays in my head before the game Thursday nights,” Silbermann said about taking advantage of his limited touches. “Honestly, I’ve been on YouTube a few times, and De’Anthony Thomas I looked up, took some of his moves, and I’ve just worked on them in the offseason. It’s finding open space, and that’s what I’ve been coached to do.”
Gdula went on to complete a two-point conversion pass to Thipen for the 8-0 advantage.
In the second quarter, senior kicker Parker Deuley was inches short of a 47-yard money boot through the uprights, giving the Wolverines the ball at their own 20-yard line.
Two plays later, Kenston’s defensive front penetrated the backfield and had West Geauga backup quarterback Carmen Engoglia on the run. The junior avoided a sack on his own 5-yard line and then scrambled to the opposite side of the field to get off a pass.
A 24-yard interception return for a touchdown by Kenston junior linebacker Colin Kure and Kenston’s 15-0 lead was the result.
“That was my first touchdown since youth,” Kure said. “I had to stay true to my coverage, who’s the back out. So I saw him sneak out, and I thought I better not let him catch this, or he’s gone. So that was great. I’m just doing it for the seniors. We have one game left, so we just have to get back to work and get ready to go again.”
With two minutes left before halftime, the Wolverines had two miscues that dug them into a 22-0 hole.
First, a holding penalty forced them to re-punt the pigskin, which resulted in a 45-yard difference in field position – providing the Bombers’ first and 10 on the West Geauga 33-yard line. Second, an encroachment penalty on the Wolverines gave Kenston a first down during a fourth-and-three stand.
Four plays later, Kenston senior receiver-running back Jeremy Wyers punched in a 2-yard touchdown with eight seconds left before intermission.
The rest is history.
“This week, we had a great week of practice, probably the best week maybe all year,” Silbermann said. “We knew they were going to come out strong. This was their game to knock us off. So we stayed mentally tough and focused on the task at hand.”
The Bombers built a 36-0 lead in the third quarter, off a 4-yard touchdown run by Gdula and a 33-yard reception by Wyers, before West Geauga could get on the board.
West Geauga senior David Wolfhope stepped in at quarterback for the Wolverines late in the third quarter and went on to complete six of eight pass for 106 yards and two touchdowns – a 26-yard strike to Engoglia and a 50-yard strike to junior Zach Suba – and ran for 109 yards on nine carries, including a 57-yard touchdown. Most of his work was against Kenston’s twos.
With the loss, West Geauga dropped to 4-5 and is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
Kenston’s fourth quarter scoring came on an 8-yard run by senior Mike Shahan and a 1-yard run by Thigpen, who finished the game with 83 yards on 17 carries and 44 yards on three catches.
Gdula completed 11 of 16 passes for 225 yards and no interceptions, with leading target Silbermann tallying four catches for 102 yards.
A Kenston triumph against Aurora this week would clinch a third consecutive playoff berth for the Bombers, which has never been done in school history.
“It’s been great. Starting the season 0-2, we didn’t keep our heads down,” Silbermann said. “We stayed confident. We knew we made mistakes. We fixed up those mistakes. And next week’s a big game. We’re just going to be tough. They’re undefeated. We just have to stay focused and practice hard. Playoffs is on the line, but we don’t let that get into our mind.”
Visit the Chagrin Valley Times to see their photos.