Published in The News-Herald
September 22, 2019
The common misconception of the Kenston football team suggests the Bombers just go out every Friday night and ride their offense to victory.
In part, that’s true. Through four games this season, Coach Jeff Grubich’s team is averaging a shade over 40 points per game.
But a closer look shows the Bombers have been equally as dominating on defense, having given up only 17 points so far this season, including a 45-7 win over North last week.
The Kenston defense sustained heavy graduation losses this past spring, graduating nine starters from a group that helped lead the Bombers to the Division III state championship. That 2018 defense allowed only 20 points total in the regional final, state semifinal and state championship game.
The only returning starters this year were Tyler Mintz at corner and Logan Vargo at linebacker.
Yet through four games, the Kenston defense hasn’t wavered and an argument could be made that the defense has upstaged to offense to this point.
“I think our defense has a little chip on its shoulder,” Grubich said. “Everyone wants to talk about our offense and how much it scores, but I’m a defense guy. I know defense wins championships. We’ve played very well on that side of the ball, and I know we can do even better. We’re still a work in progress there.”
Grubich credits new starters Max Czech, Tim Matty and Connor Krafzert for anchoring the defensive front. Michael Payton, Frank DiMarco and Vargo at linebacker “have been huge for us,” Grubich said.
On the back end, Mintz and Jay Middleton do double duty, as they are also prime playmakers on the offensive side of the ball.
A big bonus, Grubich said, has been the return of Alex Castro and Tyler Kastranok to the football field to help stabilize the defensive backfield.
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