JFK Eagles earned their grid success

The 13-1 John F. Kennedy football team will depart today from Warren, heading for Columbus where they will play this weekend for the Division VII state football championship in the iconic Ohio Stadium.

Described by Kennedy Head Coach Jeff Bayuk as the “best team we will have seen this year,” JFK knows their opponent, the Wildcats of Minster, won’t go down easy.

“They will spread it out, they’ll throw, they’ll run. Defensively, they’re pretty stout, they pack the box. They run a 3-3 stack, sometimes a 3-4, and they really put the pressure on you to do something quickly,” Bayuk said this week.

Having done their homework and knowing the challenge is half the battle, of course. Along with that is the hard work and training these local young men have devoted to drawing out their season from two-a-day practices in the hot summer days of August until the blustery first week of December.

But being a very good and well-prepared football team is only part of the equation for such a successful season.

The rest of it comes with dedication, commitment and heart. The Eagles have proven those qualities and have overcome obstacles like injury problems that included moving players to new positions to fill in for injured teammates.

John F. Kennedy has a strong heritage when it comes to playoff history. The Eagles won a state title in 1991 and were state runners-up in 2006, 1992 and 1989. They have made 16 other appearances in the playoffs including, most recently, 2015 and 2012.

Let’s hope Kennedy’s postseason dominance continues Saturday morning with a victory and a state championship title.

But if that’s not meant to be, the excitement and memories of this season and long championship run should leave them proud.

Win or lose, congratuations to this year’s JFK Eagles.