• Dr. Herpy

Bombers’ offense grounded in season-ending loss to Dover

Published in The Chagrin Valley Times
November 18, 2021
Daniel Sherriff

For most of the season, the Kenston Bombers football team’s offense found success with big plays

However, those plays were missing last Friday night as Kenston saw its season end in a 24-7 loss to Dover in the Division III, Region 9 regional semifinals at Twinsburg.

“Dover’s a very good football team,” said coach Jeff Grubich. “They had a very good game plan. They were going to make us earn it, be patient and grind out every yard that we got. It felt like we were trying to press a little too much and force the ball down the field a little bit and that’s a credit to Dover’s defensive game plan.”

A strong opening kickoff return by junior wide receiver/defensive back Lucas Simmons put Kenston (11-2) in great field position at Dover’s 42 but the Bombers squandered that opportunity due to penalties.

Penalties had been Kenston’s biggest weakness at the start of the season. Despite improving on their discipline, the Bombers once again became their worst enemy last Friday. Kenston was flagged for 100 yards on eight penalties during the game.

After forcing a turnover on downs at the Kenston 37, Dover engineered a seven-play, 63-yard drive capped off by a 7-yard touchdown run by junior tailback Mitchell Martin to take a 7-0 lead in the second quarter.

Kenston’s offense then found some life and scored a touchdown when junior quarterback Nikko Georgiou hit junior tailback Sean Patrick for 18 yards to tie the score at 7-7 near the end of the first half.

“It was huge,” said the ten-year coach. “It just showed the overall perseverance of our offense to be able to continue to battle the overall adversity and fight through it to get seven points on the board. That’s where you want to be in a regional semifinal game.”

The Tornadoes made a statement on their opening drive in the second half by needing just four plays to go ahead 14-7 on an 8-yard keeper by senior quarterback/defensive back T.C. Molk.

Grubich said the size of Dover’s offensive line took its toll on Kenston’s defense in the second half.

On their next possession, the Bombers began driving the ball but Molk intercepted Georgiou in the end zone. Dover capitalized on the turnover and extended its lead to 21-7 on a 1-yard run by senior tailback Connor McGarry near the end the end of the third quarter.

According to Grubich, the Bombers were not ready to hit the panic button yet.

“Our team has been in that situation before,” he explained. “We’ve been down two scores or down a score in the third or fourth quarter. We’ve been in that situation before but it was the lack of what we didn’t do now as opposed to what Dover did do.”

Kenston tried to respond but fumbled the ball on the Tornadoes’ 38, leading to Dover extending its lead to 24-7 on a 28-yard field goal by junior kicker Lucas Lane.

“The bottom line is we cannot win playoff games if we commit turnovers and commit too many penalties,” Grubich said. “That’s something we always harp on our kids about and we always know the expectation and try and to work on it in practice.”

The Tornadoes’ defense limited Kenston to just 271 yards of total offense as Georgiou completed 24 passes out of 33 attempts for 164 yards and two interceptions while Patrick recorded 62 rushing yards on 14 attempts and caught 14 passes for 84 receiving yards and one touchdown.

Dover gained 345 yards with 337 yards coming from its rushing attack led by McGarry who ran for 117 yards and one touchdown.

“Dover held the line of scrimmage and weren’t going to give up any of those outside gaps,” said Grubich. “We were able to run the ball on the outside perimeter but their offense and defensive lines were solid. They played coverage against us and were going to make sure we weren’t going to have any guys screaming down the field wide open.”

It marked the end of Kenston’s season but Grubich was proud of the resilience his team showed in the wake of losing Georgiou and senior tight end Ryan Miller for most of the regular season due to injuries.

“I would have said that would have been a tall task to ask out of our guys especially with the schedule we played,” he said. “One thing I will say with our coaching staff is that it believes in these kids and believes in every kid in this program not just starters and I think we saw that belief trickle down into our team.”

The seniors will leave behind a lasting legacy at Kenston as they graduate having recorded a perfect home record at Bainbridge Township for the first time in school history.

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