Bombers Take to Airways for Win
November 2, 2023 by Rich Kelly

In many of the best war movies we have seen over the years, the forces that strike quickly and efficiently usually have come via air power.

Game photos click here.

In many of the best war movies we have seen over the years, the forces that strike quickly and efficiently usually have come via air power.

Tora! Tora! Tora! comes to mind, so does Twelve O’Clock High.

Air strikes in the military provide early ideals of what may be to come when other forces come into play. The same can be said for sports, and in football especially, many teams rely on a power ground game for wins, with air actions not being consequential.

When the Kenston Bombers hosted Dover’s Tornadoes in opening round action Oct. 27, though, the Bombers got an early surprise which they took full advantage of in claiming a solid 34-7 victory.

In a move designed to set up a possible second-half rally for Dover should they be trailing at the half, they deferred on the coin toss and elected to give the high-powered Bomber offense the first offensive thrust of the game.

Bad move kids. Coming out of the huddle on the first play of the game, Kenston’s coaching staff saw that Sean Patrick was not going to get a chance to run at will, as he has most of the season. The speedy burner did gain five yards on that first play, but Head Coach Jeff Grubich saw something that lit his eyes up a tad.

“When we came out of our huddle,” he said, “I saw that they were in a four-and-four set in the box, with only three guys deep. That’s a perfect setup to throw on, so we got down to it right away.”

A team uses its top weapon as much as needed, so on the second down play, Lucas Kaltenbach dropped back, and as a big rush engulfed him, he tossed to the left on a screen pass play to Patrick. The play gained 20 yards, and Bomber Express was in full gear.

Four more pass plays got the ball to the Dover 12, and Kaltenbach fired a pass to Charlie Thompson on a crossing pattern over the middle for the first score of the game.

The stage was set. While a ferocious Kenston defense shut down the Dover offense completely — most notably tailback J. J. Barton, who will have visions of Sean Patrick in his face for a long time — the Tornadoes showed why, despite a 6-4 record coming into the contest, they deserved to be in a playoff game. They played a normal bend-but-don’t-break style, so the Bombers took advantage of what they could.

Sophomore kicker Grady Kucharson booted a field goal in the first quarter as Kenston took a 10-7 lead, and two more in the second, sandwiched around a 16-yard run to paydirt, as Kenston basically established control of the game by halftime with a 24-7 lead.

By that time, Kaltenbach had hit on 15 of 23 passes for 254 yards and the score, with Patrick catching six of those passes for 124 yards to accompany his 123 yards rushing.

“We knew they have a lot of fast dudes,” Patrick said in the postgame celebration. “We figured we would just put our fast guys on theirs and see what happens. We played with a lot of energy tonight, and the guys on the line were fantastic, too.”

In rolling up a whopping 614 yards of total offense, the Bombers also gave future opponents much more to think about. While everybody knows what Patrick, Kaltenbach, Tymir Cardona and company are able to do with a football, junior Cohen Clark gave Patrick a breather in the second half by toting the ball 13 times for 107 yards and a fourth-period touchdown. With that, the Bombers almost reached a running clock situation.

It’s not often a kicker boots four field goals in a high school level game, but Kucharson nearly had a fifth boot go through; his effort from the 33 with 1:20 left in the third period nailed the crossbar and fell off.

Clark had a huge smile in celebration, also showing appreciation for what he has learned watching Patrick run.

“Tonight was just a matter of each of us doing our jobs,” Clark said. “It’s a great honor for me to be able to give Sean a blow when he needs one. He works so hard on every play. I tried to just go out and play hard for our seniors, and to use the instincts I have to help our team.”

“Our defense really played tough tonight, too,” Coach Grubich said. “The key to stopping Barton was just to put Sean Patrick on him all night long. Sean is a throwback football player, going both ways with the same attitude. We were able to do the things we know we can do well tonight.

“It was a great game against a very good team, and now we need to get ready again for VASJ next week.”

As Western Reserve Conference champions (10-1), Kenston got things done smoothly and efficiently in this game by using different methods at different times while controlling the tempo — a plan that should continue to work well.