Welcome to the 2021 Bomber Football Season! This will be another chapter in the rich and successful history of Kenston Football. Annually, the team selects a theme that serves as their guide post for the season. This is obviously related to their current experience but also relevant to the status of the program at this point in time.

This year’s team selected “Toughen Up” as they embark upon the season. The relevance is easy to identify on a superficial level as they have an extremely challenging schedule including historical rival Chagrin Falls, state runner up Lake Catholic, state champion Chardon along with many other challenging opponents. The conference is challenging but positions them well for a spot in the play-offs. As with every season there will be victories and defeats on given plays and within given games. It will be in this team’s ability to Toughen Up when it matters the most that will eventually lead to the numbers that will be in the win / loss column.

There is no question that success playing football at Kenston requires a love and appreciation for the game. However, those of us that have been through the program can attest that it is the life lessons learned through participation that make the real difference. Lessons of facing adversity, teamwork, working hard and relentlessly committing to a goal are ingrained in those that commit to this program. They serve us well in life and are passed on to our own children and those we interact with daily. Football is hard.

Toughen Up is the theme for the 2021 Bombers but it is not new to this program. This year has been difficult as two pillars of the program Coach Zinn Gorby and Coach Mike Knepp passed away. Additionally, the tragic passing of Mitch Sotera, a recent alumni of the school and program, was devastating to the school and community. Bomber nation and these families continue to mourn their loss but also gain the insight that time is not an infinite commodity and there are no guarantees. These men taught us as coaches and players that in times of struggle the only option is to Toughen Up.

I wish the entire Kenston Bombers community a wonderful fall season. Go Bombers! – Robert W. Hunt, Ph.D. -Class of 1991


This question is a very important one in understanding the benefits that participating in Kenston football promotes. A common definition is simply, football players grow by learning the values of healthy competition, teamwork, goal setting, respect, and hard work. We believe it to be much more. After interviewing former Kenston coaches and players it was confirmed. We found that a Bomber football player is built on 65 plus years of tradition. As we asked the question to former Kenston coaches that include Jack Bair, Al Hrabak, Zinn Gorby, Paul Koballa, Frank Kitko, Mike Knepp, Rick Adams, Roger Vasey, and Pete Thompson, it became apparent that each coach had a different description of what makes a Bomber that developed into a mutual theme.

What we found is that a Bomber football player is a tough, aggressive, defensive minded, coachable, hardnosed player who practices hard, never gives up, respects the game, wears the greatest high school football helmet in the state, and is passionately proud to play for Kenston. Another point that rang true from the coaches is that our players come from great families that understand how important it is for coaches to coach and parents to support from home. When we asked the same to former players, we discovered a bond, if not a brotherhood, was a common thread between player beliefs. Pat Knox 87’ said, “No matter what came our way we had each other’s backs. One man makes a mistake the next guy would pick him up and make the play.” Andy Gurd 87’ stated, “The brotherhood that was developed on the field still is intact today over 30 years later.”

Wes Rule 96’ had this to say about being a Bomber, “This is a young man that has grit and mental toughness on the field and a gentleman off. He outworks his opponents at all times from the classroom to the field. Brings his best when the odds are stacked against him and is always the best conditioned athlete in the 4th quarter. The more hits he takes the stronger he gets and doesn’t back down from any situation. Protects his brothers, friends, and family at all costs. He bleeds Bomber blue and won’t stand for anyone that disrespects it. A true Kenston Bomber will always be successful in life and loyal to the people that helped him achieve greatness. I love Kenston Football.” Tom Gabram 93’, current High School Principal believes that, “Being a Bomber is having an opportunity to be a part of an elite program. It’s a privilege; one that is earned not given. It is earned through the dedication, the respect, and the commitment you have to your teammates and coaches. It’s an understanding that personal sacrifice is rewarded with victory.

Most importantly being a Bomber allows you to be part of a brotherhood of experience and tradition. The teammates you play with will always be there for you in times of need.” We had many ex-players and coaches respond to our question with ultimately saying that the Kenston football experience is like no other. Wearing the Bomber star links players to a unique fraternity of men, many that they know and many that they don’t, but one thing is for sure, these men know about hard work, success, failure and loyalty.