• Dr. Herpy

Tony’s pigskin picks week 1 vs. Black River

Published in The Chagrin Valley Times
August 29, 2019
Tony Lange

Returning from a 14-1 Division III state championship campaign, the Kenston gridders’ lone kryptonite last season was a 27-24 loss in week nine against league rival Chardon’s wing-T offense.

The 2019 Bombers will have to face the wing-T at least three times this season, starting with their week-one road battle against the Division VI Black River Pirates at 7 p.m. Friday on natural grass in Medina County.

Kenston returns eight starters from an offense that averaged 429.3 yards and 40.3 points per game last year, including all-Ohio quarterback Jon Tomcfucik and all-Ohio running back Jack Porter. But eighth-year head coach Jeff Grubich, who owns a 49-30 record at the helm, said he’s counting on those guys to score even more this year.

That’s because Kenston has just four starters back on defense. But other guys do have experience, and some secret weapons in the secondary should have the potential to be game-changers in the turnover battle that the Bombers dominated a year ago.

Black River, which finished 6-4 last season, is under the direction of a new head coach for the first time in 30 years, but Kyle Clark takes the reins as a graduate of the program who was the defensive coordinator last year.

When it comes to skilled guys whom the Bombers’ defense needs to hone in on, Black River 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior Caleb Simonson and 6-foot-1, 150-pound senior JT Armstrong were all-district selections a year ago.

TONY’S TAKE: Kenston wins, 42-21.