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    Kenston wraps up WRC title with win at North

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    EASTLAKE–The Kenston Bombers wrapped up their regular season with a 49-21 conference title clinching win at Eastlake North on Friday night.

    With the win, the Bombers improved to 9-1 overall and finished Western Reserve Conference play with an unblemished 5-0 mark.

    “Really proud of these seniors and the leadership that they’ve had to get us to be outright WRC champs,” said Kenston coach Jeff Grubich said. “These guys are going to enjoy it and they earned it, man.”

    Kenston quickly took control of the trenches on both sides of the ball. After forcing a three-and-out, the Bombers established the ground game. Long runs by Sean Patrick got them down to the five, where Lucas Kaltenbach would use his legs to take it the rest of the way.

    Another Ranger three-and-out would put the Bomber offense back out on the field. Patrick dragged defenders after contact as the rushing attack continued to be effective. Aided by penalties, Kenston capped the drive with a four-yard touchdown run from Patrick.

    Kenston’s defense again made quick work of getting off the field and a nice punt return from Tymir Cardona crossed the North 37. Patrick continued to carry the Bomber offense – as well as the Ranger defense – on his back, taking it the rest of the way over three carries.

    Down 21, the Rangers needed a spark, and their special teams provided it.

    Their next drive saw them pick up a first down, but not much more as they’d be forced to punt. However, a muff on the return gave North the ball at the Kenston 32.

    With the ball back, the Rangers continued to struggle to find any running room. North was unable to capitalize on the turnover as the Bomber defense forced a 47-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide-left.

    With the ball back, Kenston continued to feed Patrick as he added to his impressive first half. After making multiple defenders miss as he navigated traffic around midfield, Patrick broke into the open field and out to the Ranger 15. Three plays later, he crossed the plane for the third time on the night.

    “Those five guys up front in the trenches imposed their will all game long,” Coach Grubich said of the Bombers’ success running the ball. “That was one of the goals we set on Monday. We wanted to be physical, and they dominated up in the trenches.”

    North got the ball back with a touchdown being an absolute necessity. After a running into the kicker penalty extended the drive, Reon’tae Lowery broke off a 52-yard touchdown run to get the Rangers on the board.

    However, North’s momentum was short-lived. On the first play of the next offensive series, Kaltenbach hit Cardona down the seam for a one-play strike that made it 35-7 with just under three minutes left in the half.

    As halftime approached, North held the ball with a chance to earn some points before the break. Staring down a third-and-15 with 2.6 seconds left, Zach Rummel found Brayden Sandstrom for a 68-yard prayer as the half expired.

    North looked to steal a possession by opening the second half with an onside kick, but the Bombers were ready. However, Kenston was unable to capitalize on the short field as Lowery picked off a pass at the Ranger 11.

    The Rangers continued to struggle to get anything going on offense and again lined up to punt. A bad snap forced Rummel to abandon the punt and attempt a broken-play pass that fell incomplete, giving Kenston the ball at the North 18.

    The Bombers fed the ball to Cohen Clark, who carried the offense to paydirt over the next two plays to expand the Kenston lead to 42-14 with 6:09 left in the third.

    Kenston’s defense continued its impressive evening by adding a takeaway courtesy of a Cardona interception. The Bombers mainly held the Ranger offense in check the whole night with the exception of a few chunk plays.

    “That’s kind of been our Achilles heel all year, giving up big plays for touchdowns,” Coach Grubich said of the chunk plays given up. “We have to clean that up against really good football teams going forward because that sends you home.”

    Kenston would add another seven to the scoreboard on the back of Clark as the bruising back churned out the yards and the clock as the game entered the fourth quarter.

    As time ticked down, Lowery broke off a big gainer that would take the Rangers inside the Kenston 25. Two plays later, Rummel found Jayden Teague on an out route for the score. However, it would come too late as the Bombers ran out the clock on their next possession.

    With the WRC title claimed, the Bombers will now set their sights on a playoff push toward a state championship. Coach Grubich shared the team’s focus as they shift to the postseason.

    “Staying healthy and attention to detail,” Coach Grubich said on what it will take to have a successful playoff run. “The little things are what make the big things happen. As long as we focus on our individual units and our one-percent growth, we’re going to be alright.”

     

     

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