Congratulations to the Kenston Bombers. Their hard work, grit and determination propelled them to the top, finishing this season as a state football championship team.

The Bombers brought home the Division III high school football trophy after a decisive 42-6 win over Kettering Archbishop Alter. This was the first time in program history that the Bombers football team won the state title making the victory that much more satisfying.

This achievement has been sweet for both the players and coaches, their families and their devoted fans.

The Bombers did the valley proud by beating the Kettering Archbishop Alter Knights on a cold afternoon last week at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. There are so many reasons fans will remember this game. Among those reasons is the 36-point win, the largest margin of victory in a state championship game since 2014.

Another is senior Anna Sanders matching Alter’s point total by going a perfect six for six on extra point attempts and becoming the second female to score in an Ohio High School Athletic Association football championship game.

Junior linebacker Logan Vargo racked up a game-high 12 tackles for the Bombers and senior linebackers Matt Iklodi and Joe Staudenbaur each got eight. Junior Jon Tomcufcik passed for 285 yards and three touchdown, and junior Jack Porter rushed for 116 yards for three scores.

Iklodi said the team went into the final game trusting the coaches and trusting the game.

This wasn’t Kenston’s first trip to a title game. In 1986 the Bombers lost 7-6 against defending champion Cincinnati Academy of Physical Education. During Kenston’s second trip to a title bout in 1995, the team lost to Clyde High School.

Clearly the Bombers were hungry for an ultimate victory.

Considering those two losses, Kenston senior left tackle George Sell said the Bombers were determined to make this outcome different. “Third time’s a charm,” he said.

Indeed, it was, and against a tough opponent. Alter was taking its fifth trip to the state championship game under their longtime coach.

To Bomber senior defensive back and wide receiver Bransen Stanley, it was a dream come true. “This is what we all dreamt of since we were little kids,” he said.

Fans embraced that dream as well.

The team is grateful for the support of students, residents, friends and family who braved the chilling weather to see the game. As seventh-year head coach Jeff Grubich said, “All of Auburn and Bainbridge showed up” and rallied behind the team.

That counts with players. Football is all about community pride.

Supporters filled stadiums each weekend of this and past seasons to cheer on the team. Friends and family on the sidelines have experienced the joy of watching players grow up and develop into dedicated and talented athletes. Combined with that talent was a solid foundation of hard work and team work, which paid off for the Bombers this year.

We join the excitement of the Kenston community and celebrate the Bombers, who reigned victorious against a worthy opponent thanks to the dedication of the players, coaching staff and support from families and residents.

Go Bombers!

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