This week, I picked Kenston vs Chagrin Falls with Kenston hosting because they are major rivals and because it was Kenston’s homecoming. Usually, I look at everyone’s stats, talk to local Geauga residents, and read articles about both teams to decide which game to go to. Knowing that both teams are located in the same village, I had to go to this game without even looking at all of that information. After I made this decision, I then looked at all the stats and the history of the rival games. What I read and saw made me nervous on the outcome. Chagrin Falls was undefeated going into this game, and Kenston was 2-2. Kenston also had not beaten Chagrin Falls in the last 4 years. There were plenty of people that didn’t think Kenston had a chance at winning this game. But others said they did and that, if anything, it would be a good game. I decided that I should stick with my gut and go to this game. One of the best decisions I have ever made.
The weather at the beginning of the game was chilly but nice. The sun was out, just a little breeze and just plain out early fall weather – perfect for a football game. The fans were in their jackets, sweatshirts, hoodies, and hats; except some students who were wearing shorts and blue body paint. The stands were packed with fans, family, friends, and anyone else that was in the area. You could tell it was a huge game for both Kenston and Chagrin Falls fans. Standing there looking around, you couldn’t help but feel the amazing atmosphere. The football game started with Chagrin Falls kicking off to Kenston and the stadium erupted. I knew then this promised to be a fun game.
The game started with Senior Daryll Richards passing the ball to Andrew Soltay for a 23 yard gain. Right about that time, the rain started coming down. As most people know, when it’s raining during a football game, it usually becomes a running game. Richards did end up passing for a total of 178 yards, but for the most part, it did become about rushing. The Bombers were the first to put points on the board with a 2 yard run by Senior Nick Lombardy. Senior TJ Kestranek made the after point to bring the score 7-0 in the first quarter. Chagrin Falls was held scoreless in the quarter by the hard hitting Kenston defense. Talk about a loud crowd when the quarter ended with that score. Honestly, I don’t think the Kenston fans were anything but loud the entire game.
The second quarter had some action from both teams and that’s when it became more interesting. We went to stand on the visitor side of Kenston’s Stadium due to the fact that the entire home side was full of fans. There were umbrellas lining the fence and fans stacked in the stands. Standing on the Chagrin Falls side made the game even more interesting. You could get a better sense of what the game meant to both sides.
The Tigers were the first ones to score this time. Senior Jack Campbell took the ball into the end zone with a 23 yard run. Ed Shelley’s kick was good for a tied game. The Bombers weren’t going to let it go unanswered. They fought back with a 4 yard keeper run by Richards. With the kick going through the uprights, Kenston took back the lead. Their defense worked hard even though Chagrin Falls kept pushing. They were able to hold the Tigers to a 22 yard field goal by Shelley scoring the final points of the half. With a score of of 14-10 going into halftime, Kenston was ecstatic.
Halftime and Homecoming Court
I told you earlier that this game was Kenston’s Homecoming Game. Their theme was Out of This World. During halftime, the band played the Star War’s theme song with a special guest director. Darth Vader himself showed up directing with his famous lightsaber. That got the crowd excited for the crowning of Homecoming King and Queen. As each grade’s representative for the Homecoming court walked towards the 50 yard line escorted by parents, you could feel the nerves and excitement. The time came to announce the King and Alan Tatro was crowned and greeted with hugs from friends and his mom. Next, was Homecoming Queen. When Alexis Taylor’s name was called, you could absolutely see the excitement in her eyes. The 2012 Kenston High School Homecoming King and Queen then posed for some pictures and the field cleared. It was time to play some more football.
When the second half started, I was a little nervous that Kenston stayed in the locker room. They weren’t able to score but Chagrin Falls was. Tommy Iammarino held onto the ball himself for a 2 yard run to score the Tiger’s second touchdown bringing the score 14-17 after the point after. Bomber’s defense made sure it was the last one they would score of the game. Going into the third quarter, you could sense every person on Kenston’s side was going to do everything they could to help push their team into a win. Kenston took the ball from their own 11 yard line and marched the 89 yards in 16 plays to score their third touchdown. Lombardy took it in on a 1 yard run to score his second touchdown of the night.
With Kenston taking the lead, they were not going to give it up again. The defense proved that when the Tiger’s had the ball on the Bomber’s 24 yard line. It was 4th and 1 when Iammarino handed off the ball to Campbell. Senior Sean O’Connor was not going to let him score. He tackled Campbell for a loss with one of the biggest hits of the night. With the ball now in Kenston’s hands, they made certain they were going to win this game when Lombardy took the ball in for a 1 yard touchdown run. That was his third touchdown and, in turn, it sealed the game and ended Chagrin Falls’ 20 game regular season winning streak. The final score was 28-17 Kenston Bombers.
The students, family, and friends were overwhelmed knowing that they had the win. When the Bombers stopped Chagrin, the field was being swarmed by fans and the marching band with screams of joy. It was really awesome to see except for one thing. There was still .2 seconds left on the clock. Luckily, they didn’t get called for a penalty. That is how much that game meant to Kenston High School and all of it’s fans. You couldn’t help but smile when you looked around as the last whistle was blown. You could see joy on every single person on the Kenston side. You could even see tears in some of their eyes. As I was watching the last few seconds of the clock tick away, I had a brief conversation with two of the Bomber fans. I told them who I was and the gentleman said to me, “Do us proud when you write the story. They deserve it.” He is right on that.
Kenston High School Football team did their school proud. Congratulations to all of you. To the senior players – you can graduate knowing your team ended Chagrin Falls winning streak. With the win, Kenston took over the 5th rank in Division II, Region 5. They play Orange this Friday. With a win, they will pretty much seal the Chagrin Division Championship. I went into this game knowing that Kenston was the huge underdog. I love rooting for the underdog because when they win, it is that much more special. I had a great time watching those boys win. You need to check out this team before the season is over. You should really check them out this Friday and cheer them on to a championship. As for me, I will be at another one of our awesome Geauga County schools. You will have to come back next week to see what team I write about.
I need to add one last note before I close this story. Last week I told everyone how I was a Madison High School graduate. After the tragic day at Chardon, their Boys Basketball team played Madison in a playoff game. The Blue Streaks wore black shirts to show their support for the Hilltoppers. Friday night, the Chardon Crazies wore blue shirts to show appreciation to Madison. Of course, they took them off after kick-off, but this Blue Streak was smiling ear to ear to hear of this. It’s really great to hear about these kids supporting each other. I am sure that makes anyone happy.
Leave a comment if you were at the game!
Scores Around Town
West Geauga 28
Central Prep (PA) 21
Richmond Heights 34
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