Mayfield controlled the clock. controlled just about everything else.
Outmanned by the traveling spectacle that is the Cardinals’ five-receiver offense, the host Wildcats did their best to grind out first downs and hang in during an interdivision battle between Northeast Ohio Conference teams.
It worked for a half. Eventually, though, Mentor tightened the screws on defense, its offense kept adding to its highlight reel and Mayfield was left, well … reeling. The Cardinals prevailed, 52-14.
“Methodical” was the operative word for the Wildcats’ offense through the first two quarters. In the first half, Mayfield (1-3) ran 48 plays to just 19 for Mentor (4-0), had a lopsided advantage in time of possession, 20:03 to 3:57, and pounded out 163 rushing yards.
The steady march was punctuated by a 21-play drive that covered 80 yards and consumed 8 minutes, 48 seconds of clock, culminating with a 1-yard touchdown run by Carlos Cruzado on the first play of the second quarter, tying the game at 7-7.
But Mayfield then took a chance, trying a surprise onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. It backfired badly, as Mentor recovered and needed exactly one play from scrimmage, a 44-yard touchdown pass from Mitch Trubisky to Brandon Fritts to reclaim the lead.
Mentor unloaded two more quick strikes – a 21-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Kavan and a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown by defensive back Regis Coustillac – and the Cardinals had a 28-7 lead despite having their offense on the field less than 2 minutes.
“They were in man,” Kavan said of the Mayfield defense. “We were just looking to throw wherever they were going to give us holes.”
Still, Mayfield didn’t fold. Quarterback Caden Loew connected with receiver Drazen Markovic on a 31-yard touchdown pass, cutting the lead to 28-14 by halftime.
Despite the offensive fireworks, Mentor coach Steve Trivisonno was unhappy his team couldn’t land a knockout punch.
“We better decide if we want to come and play a little bit better than that, especially in the first half,” Trivisonno said. “You have to give (Mayfield) credit. They came out and played hard. They ran reverses, they tried onside kicks. … Our guys have to decide if they want to play harder than that.”
The message apparently got through.
Mayfield gained just one first down and 29 yards in the second half. The Cardinals' offense, meanwhile, kept chugging, as Trubisky completed 19 of 27 passes for 349 yards and five touchdowns before coming out late in the third quarter.
Several Mentor receivers had big nights, as Kavan finished with seven catches for 101 yards and two TDs, Fritts caught five passes for 81 yards and a TD, Warren Ashton caught four 117 and a score, and Conner Krizancic had two receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown.
“There were no (strategic) adjustments that needed to be made,” Trivisonno said. “We just needed to get tougher. They out-toughed us in the first half, and we decided we wanted to play after that. We made no adjustments. (The players) got a little talking to, but there were no adjustments.”