Published in The News-Herald
November 9, 2019
NEW PHILADELPHIA >>There will be a new Division III state champion this year.
John Sciarretti’s one-yard touchdown run with 21 seconds remaining in the game lifted host New Philadelphia to a 31-28 win over defending state champion Kenston on Nov. 8 at Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium.
The Bombers tried valiantly to get into position for a game-tying field goal in the waning seconds, with three straight passes from Jon Tomcufcik to Tyler Mintz getting Kenston down to the New Philadelphia 4.
But the Bombers were unable to spike the ball before time ran out, giving the Region 9 top seed the three-point victory.
“I’m a loss for words,” said Kenston coach Jeff Grubich. “To come to New Philly and have a chance I thought at the end to win the game, you kinda feel like you’ve been cheated. These kids put themselves into position to win and unfortunately it didn’t work out.”
After New Philadelphia (10-1) took the lead on Scarretti’s run, the ensuing kickoff went out of the end zone to give Kenston the ball at the 20. On the first play, Tomcufcik threw a deep post to Mintz to the Quakers’ 46.
After Kenston used its final timeout, the next pass from Tomcufcik to Mintz got Kenston down to the 20. The Bombers spiked the ball with 7 seconds left.
“We thought with seven seconds left, we could hammer the ball (one more play),” Grubich said. “The clock would stop with a first down then we could line up (for the field goal).”
Mintz caught a quick slant to the 4, but there was only one second left on the clock, which didn’t give Tomcufcik enough time to spike the ball for a field goal attempt.
“We thought we could spike it,” said Grubich, indicating he thought more time was on the clock. “The clock kept running down there.”
When the final second ticked off, the New Philadelphia team celebrated wildly, while the Kenston players stood in disbelief or crumpled to the turf in agony.
The dream of a second straight state title to go with the one they won last year was over.
“That’s how much we care,” said Mintz. “If we’re going to go out, we’re going to go out together. Us. This is not the way we wanted it to end, but we showed the character that we have.”
With the win, New Philadelphia advances to the regional semifinal round next week against Aurora, a 27-21 winner over Steubenville in another Region 9 quarterfinal on Nov. 8.
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