Well ladies and gentleman, we have reached conference play. A long storied rivalry will kick off from Chardon Memorial Stadium this Friday at 7:00 PM in what is undoubtedly a Clash of the Titans. Two of the top 15 ranked teams in Division III Region 9. The visiting Bombers sit at 4-1 and ranked #6. The host Hilltoppers sit at 3-2, ranked at #12 per the OHSAA computer rankings. This matchup with feature a number of storylines, as well as a pair of teams I've covered twice each so far this season. On the Bombers side, a 49-14 win against the West Geauga Wolverines (Week 2), and a 49-14 loss to the Lake Catholic Cougars (Week 5). And for Chardon, a 28-10 victory in Week 3 against the Shoreman of Avon Lake, and a 35-20 win over New York powerhouse, the Saint Francis Red Raiders in Week 4. I expect some fireworks all night. But now, let's dive into the history of the matchup, as well as some key matchups to watch.
CURRENT HEAD COACH RECORDS:
Kenston Bombers Head Coach Jeff Grubich (2012-present) 84-44 (66%)
Chardon Hilltoppers Head Coach Mitch Hewitt (2010-present) 113-35 (76%)
THE HISTORY OF THE RIVALRY
The rivalry kicked off as a CVC matchup in Week 4 of the1968 season, ending in favor of the Bombers lead by Head Coach Jack Bair. As we stand now, its 26-22-1. The Chardon Hilltopper collected two of those wins last season with a 35-18 victory in Week 6 at Bomber Stadium behind two rushing touchdowns behind then Junior RB/DB Andrew Bruce, and a pair of rushing scores from then Senior QB Alex Henry. Sean Patrick went for 13 attempts - 112 yards - 1 rush TD and 5 catches - 118 yards in the loss for the Bombers. Coach Hewitt and Chardon ended Kenston's season in Week 13 at Boardman Spartan Stadium in a Divison 3 Region 9 semi-final game by a final of 10-7. Senior QB Nikko Georgiou found Tymir Cardona for a 22-yard passing touchdown to put Kenston up 7-3 with 4 seconds left.
Caleb Hewitt opened the 2nd half with a 93-yard kickoff return touchdown for the win. The last Kenston Bomber win against Chardon came in Week 9 of 2017 with a final of 34-15 at Chardon Memorial. Chardon led 15-8 after one frame of play, but the Bombers scored 12 points and 14 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters respectively to take the win. One year later Chardon would be the Bombers only loss (27-24) as Kenston would end the season hoisting the state championship trophy with a 42-6 win over Archbishop Alter. In the 2020-2021 season it would be the Hilltoppers turn to become state champs, going an unbelievable undefeated 16-0 in 2021.
QB Will Francis V. QB Lucas Kaltenbach
A pair of OHSAA Baseball State Champions will command their respective offenses.
LK: 62-122 passing - 782 yards - 7 TD - 6 INT / 35 attempts - 219 yards - 4 TD
WF: 16-35 passing - 216 yards / 90 attempts - 681 yards - 5 TDs
RB Sean Patrick V. LB Alexander Ash
SP: 83 attempts - 752 yards - 12 TD / 10 receptions - 133 yards - TD / 2 KO ret. TD (98, 73)
AA: 65 total tackles - 41 solo - 5 sacks - 11.5 TFL
WR Dylan Krupp V. DB Caleb Hewitt
DK: 19 receptions - 242 yards - 2 TD
CH: 9 PBU
LB Josh Hallen & Ashton Kolenic V. Vinny Colombi / AJ Bruce / Drago Vujaklija / Caleb Hewitt
JH: 11 solo - 25 total - 6 TFL - 4 PBU
AK: 8 solo - 25 total - 4 sacks - 1 INT - 1 FR - 9 TFL - 2 PBU
VC: 45 attempts - 314 yards - 8 TD / 2 receptions - 14 yards
AB: 32 attempts - 198 yards / 3 receptions - 10 yards
DV: 22 attempts - 176 yards - 2 TD / 3 receptions - 35 yards
CH: 17 attempts - 122 yards - 5 TD / 3 receptions - 90 yards