Kenston owned a 28-6 lead after Division II Brush (0-5) put together a 64-yard scoring drive with 53 seconds left in the half of a Western Reserve Conference clash on Friday night at Korb Field in Lyndhurst.
But 53 seconds is a lifetime for the AP No. 1-ranked Bombers (5-0), especially with playmakers like four-year starter Tyler Mintz.
A three-way player, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior returned the ensuing kickoff 23 yards to provide his offense a 65-yard field, then he hauled in 25-, 9- and 19-yard passes from senior quarterback Jon Tomcufcik to set up Kenston first-and-10 from the 12 with enough time for two more plays.
But the Bombers only needed one, as Tomcufcik dialed up 6-foot-5 sophomore tight end Ryan Miller for a 12-yard touchdown. Tomcufcik went on to tuck the pigskin for a two-point conversion and a 36-6 lead with four seconds to spare, paving way for a running clock for the entirety of the second half en route to a 50-12 victory.
“I would say that’s pretty impressive, but I wouldn’t go any further than that,” Kenston eighth-year head coach Jeff Grubich said about his team’s 64-yard drive. “We’re always playing to try to get one more score, and I was proud of the way our players reacted and executed. And our coaches did an outstanding job.
“I mean, to be able to go down the field that quick and get a touchdown and convert a two-point conversion, that says a lot about what we have going on here. So, yeah, I think that’s a great thing we can hang our hat on, but, at the same time, we’re going to stay humble and hungry.”
Mintz wasn’t just coming through for the Bombers on that kickoff return and three receptions. The slot receiver would finish the night with a program mark of 14 catches for 231 yards and two touchdowns, including a 35-yard score to provide a 21-0 lead with 7:03 left in the second quarter and a 27-yard score for a 28-0 upper hand with 2:10 to go in the frame.
In terms of single-game receptions, Mintz bettered his own mark of eight catches for 98 yards in the Bombers’ 48-34 win against West Holmes in the first round of the 2018 playoffs. Bransen Stanley, a 2019 graduate, had a season-high 11 catches for 173 yards in the Bombers’ 42-14 win against Riverside last year.
“Oh, he was excellent,” Grubich said of Mintz’s performance on Friday. “He’s worked hard all year. Going into the game, with their coverage, we thought that he could have a big night, and we were able to take advantage of what Brush did defensively. And everything he got he’s earned.
“With our offense, we take what the defense gives us. They obviously were giving us the inside slot receiver, so we took it.”
By the end of the night, Kenston racked up 520 yards to Brush’s 217 yards. Tomcufcik finished 21-of-30 passing for 324 yards with four touchdowns, no interceptions and zero sacks, not to mention five carries for 32 yards.
Playing Brush has been an offensive dream in recent years for the Bombers, who have averaged 47.4 points in their past five meetings against the Arcs.
But in this year’s edition, Kenston took a minute to get warmed up with just a 7-0 lead at the quarter mark thanks to an 11-play, 82-yard drive that concluded with senior running back Jack Porter’s 5-yard touchdown run. The all-Ohioan finished with 23 carries for 106 yards and two catches for 33 yards.
Then the Bombers exploded for 29 points in that second quarter with Mintz and Miller collecting two touchdown catches apiece – Miller’s former score came on a 4-yard play for a 14-0 lead with 11:17 left in the frame.
“I just think we got some good plays strung together, the guys got some confidence, and the coaches did a great job, and it all kind of gelled,” Grubich said. “From there, it was downhill for us. We were able to create some big plays that helped us to go forward.”
Tomcufcik found the end zone on a 6-yard keeper for a 43-6 lead with 4:57 to go in the third quarter, then junior running back Stanley Sell scored on a 30-yard jaunt for a 50-6 command with 10:06 remaining.
Brush 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior Corey Floyd, who caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback AJ Shorts in the second quarter, found the end zone again on a 1-yard run with 5:06 to play for the eventual 50-12 final.
Defensively, Kenston held the Arcs to 187 yards passing, 30 yards rushing and seven first downs. Kenston senior linebacker Logan Vargo had six tackles, one for a loss, and a sack, while senior lineman Tim Matty had a pair of tackles for losses and a sack to lead the Bombers’ defense up front.
“Well, they hang their hat on throwing the ball,” Grubich said of the Arcs. “So, going into it, our biggest thing was we were going to have to play coverage and make sure our kids on the back end did their job. Defensively, though, those guys have done a great job. I mean, we’ve got a bunch of young bucks over there right now that are all just working to get better, and they’re improving.”
Discipline wise, Kenston surrendered no turnovers and just two penalties for 15 yards.
While the Bombers are 5-0 against opponents that have a combined 10-15 record, the back half of their schedule is loaded. Up next, Kenston will host Division II WRC foe Willoughby South (4-1) at 7 p.m. Friday in Bainbridge Township.