Just like that, the Kenston Bombers football team was back in their element.
After Kenston suffered a stinging 49-0 defeat against Western Reserve Conference rival Chardon on Sep. 24, they rebounded and defeated conference foe Madison 42-15 last Friday evening at Dick Hamblin Field.
“The kids responded,” said coach Jeff Grubich. “We had a good week of practice and we came out and played pretty well.”
Against Madison, Grubich decided to make a change and did something he had never done before in his ten years as the football coach at Kenston. He gave the nod to freshman quarterback Dylan Krupp to make his first career varsity start.
Kenston (6-1, 2-1) had been treading water since starting junior quarterback Nikko Georgiou was sidelined with a hand injury after a week three contest against Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin.
Senior wide receiver J.P. Germano stepped into the role and kept the Bombers afloat by leading to them to two consecutive victories before running into the buzzsaw that was Chardon.
“When Nikko first went down we didn’t want to put Dylan in a tough spot and try to start right away for us,” explained the ten-year coach. “Over the last three weeks we’ve been bringing him along and giving him more of the offensive practice and felt this week was a great opportunity to give him a chance to go out there and play under the lights.”
The 6-foot-0 freshman had gotten some action during the season but most of it was during garbage time. The game against the Blue Streaks was his first true taste of varsity action.
“We knew Dylan was a great athlete by talking to the eighth grade coaches,” said Grubich. “They worked with him a little bit at quarterback last year and we felt with his leadership skills and arm strength we wanted to develop him behind Nikko as quarterback for the future and he’s embraced that role.”
Kenston got off to a good start when it took the lead less than a minute into the game thanks a 70-yard kickoff return by junior wide receiver/defensive back Lucas Simmons. Junior tailback Sean Patrick put the Bombers up 7-0 on a 2-yard touchdown run.
The Bombers’ vaunted offensive line struggled in the loss against Chardon but dominated against Madison, allowing Patrick to find holes and establish the run.
That helped take some pressure off Krupp’s shoulders.
“We try to take what the defense gives us and the run boxes they were giving us, we felt our front five could handle that,” noted Grubich. “Sean does what Sean does as he made the first and second guy miss and was able to get some extra yards after contact and that helped open up the pass game for the rookie.”
The Bombers stretched the lead to 14-0 in the first quarter when their 5-foot-9 tailback scored again, this time on a 1-yard run.
Krupp then threw his first varsity touchdown pass in the second quarter, connecting with freshman wide receiver Tymir Cardona on 9-yard reception to push the lead to 21-0.
“We just ran a fade route to the corner of the end zone and it was a back pylon throw,” recalled Grubich. “For a rookie quarterback, Dylan made a perfect throw and Tymir did a great job of high pointing it and making the catch. It was textbook. I’m really proud of those two guys. That’s a heck of a hook-up right there, freshman to freshman.”
The rout was officially on when Germano scored on a 2-yard run to make it a 28-0 game at the beginning of the third quarter.
Madison got back into the game as senior quarterback Michael O’Brien hit senior tight end Albert Landon on 19-yard touchdown pass to cut into the Bombers’ lead 28-7.
The Blue Streaks’ momentum was short-lived when Simmons extended Kenston’s lead to 35-7 by scoring on a 75-yard touchdown kickoff return.
“Last night was the first night that teams kicked it to Lucas,” said Grubich. “In the past games most teams are kicking it away from him. When Lucas gets his opportunities, he’s been working hard and took advantage of it Friday night.”
The Kenston defense held the Blue Streaks to 168 yards of offense.
Patrick led the Kenston’s rushing attack with 205 yards on 20 carries and scored two touchdowns. Krupp completed 11 passes out of 16 attempts for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
“Dylan was huge,” said Grubich. “It was an hour road trip to Madison on a grass field with not a lot of people traveling to the game so it was a tough environment to play at. He did everything he needed to do to put our team in position in win.”
The Bombers will welcome conference rival Willoughby South to Kenston Bombers Stadium on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.