Mentor Opens Title Bid With Convincing Win
Cardinals down Warren G. Harding, face St. Edward next
It’s been quite a week in Mentor.
Superstorm Sandy has left an ominous mark on the community and politicians have flittered in and out of town in the great racket that is the final days of election season.
But Saturday night, Mentor senior quarterback Mitch Trubisky gave the city a temporary reprieve from all storms, both natural and political, and made his statement in a season that has a rhythm all its own and means about as much to the city’s residents – the high school football postseason.
Trubisky went 17-of-25 for 356 yards passing and threw for five touchdowns against one interception as the Cardinals began their quest for a Division I state title with a convincing 45-35 victory over Warren G. Harding in the first round of the playoffs.
Mentor (10-1) will now face St. Edward, the No. 1 team the state and a 55-27 winner over Mayfield earlier Saturday. The site and time of the game has yet to be determined. Harding (9-2) lost for the first time since falling to Austintown Fitch, 24-10, in the season opener Aug. 24.
Trubisky was the Cardinals’ leading rusher with 98 yards on 13 carries including a touchdown in his last game at Jerome T. Osborne Sr. Stadium, the field he’s called home for four years.
Senior running back Nick Delisa was on the receiving end of three of those touchdown passes and finished with five receptions for 171 yards. Delisa backed that up with 93 yards on 13 rushes.
Harding star running back Leshun Daniels powered his way to two touchdowns on 37 rushes for 219 yards. But it was not enough to counter Mentor’s powerhouse offense that has averaged 51 points per game since losing to St. Ignatius, 48-21, on Sept. 8.
“In the first half, we did what we needed to do on offense. We scored on every drive,” Trubisky said. “We have faith in our defense. We knew they would pick it up and get a couple of stops when they needed to. They got some turnovers. And we came out and scored the first drive of the second half which we needed to do.”
Initially, Harding vs. Mentor looked like a fair fight until Trubisky decided it wasn’t.
Both teams’ first two possessions resulted in touchdowns as neither defense seemingly put up much resistance in the first quarter, although the Raiders did block an extra-point attempt. But Mentor finally got Harding to punt at the beginning of the second quarter.
On the next play, Trubisky found Brandon Fritts streaking deep down the home sideline for a 63-yard TD pass that signaled the Cardinals superior offensive might at the 11:40 mark.
After turning the Raiders over on downs, Mentor opened up its lead in four plays as Trubisky found Delisa for a 9-yard TD pass and a 25-14 lead after a conversion pass failed.
Mentor blunted Harding’s ensuing offensive advances and quickly burned through the Raiders defense with five-play, 64-yard drive that finished when Trubisky, who lost his balance and fell, accurately found Delisa for a 19-yard TD pass with 3:29 left in the half.
As if the late first-half offensive explosion wasn’t enough, Trubisky opened the second half by tacking on a 19-yard run to virtually seal up matters at 9:40 of the third quarter for a 39-14 lead.
The rest of the way, Harding scored three touchdowns to Mentor’s two field goals that drew the final score closer and sparked some concerns from Mentor head coach Steve Trivisonno.
“We haven’t played four quarters in seven weeks. I thought we lost a lot of focus down the stretch. We got to do a better job of that. We stopped ourselves. We should put 60 (points) on. And they (Harding) are a good, tough team. We’ve got to do better in four-quarter football,” Trivisonno said.
Warren G. Harding 14 0 7 14 35
Mentor 13 19 10 3 45
Harding – Froholdt 13 pass from Carmichael (Jones kick)
Mentor – Plavcan 37 pass from Trubisky (Muzic kick)
Hardin – Daniels 20 run (Jones kick)
Mentor – Delisa 52 pass from Trubisky (kick blocked)
Mentor – Fritts 63 pass from Trubisky (pass failed)
Mentor – Delisa 9 pass from Trubisky (pass failed)
Mentor – Delisa 19 pass from Trubiky (Muzic kick)
Mentor – Trubisky 19 run (Muzic kick)
Harding – Coleman 1 run (Jones kick)
Mentor – Muzic 23 field goal
Harding – Daniels 4 run (Jones kick)
Mentor – Muzic 24 field goal
Harding – Powell 11 pass from Carmichael (Jones kick)