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Mentor Stuns Top-Ranked St. Edward

Cardinals face St. Ignatius next

When you’re caught in a shootout and it’s decidedly not going your way, it’s probably not a bad idea to have the best gunslinger in Northeast Ohio on your side, particularly when you’re down a whole bunch late in a nervy fracas.

Senior quarterback Mitch Trubisky further cemented his name in Mentor lore when he whipped a touchdown pass to Brandon Fritts with 33 seconds remaining and erased a 21-point, second-half deficit as the Cardinals won, 63-56, over St. Edward, the top-ranked team in the state.

The Cardinals will now face defending state champion and arch nemesis St. Ignatius in the regional final for the right to go to the Division I Final Four. St. Ignatius blasted North Royalton, 56-0, in a game that ended virtually an hour earlier than Mentor’s win at Byers Field on Saturday evening.

Mentor is now 11-1, while St. Edward finished its season at 11-1.

In a game that featured two teams combining for 1,266 yards of offense, Mentor’s defense came up big when it needed to the most, shutting down St. Edward’s offense completely after the Eagles scored their final touchdown for a 56-35 lead at 5:44 of the third quarter.

Trubisky rallied the Cardinals with two rushing touchdowns of 27 and 2 yards and two TD passes to Fritts of 8 and the game-winner for 16 yards for 28 unanswered points.

“It was a great game. It was a lot of fun playing. We never counted ourselves out. We just kept battling and came through in the end,”Trubisky said. “We knew our defense was going to come around and get a stop and they did. But you’ve always got to keep believing or else you’re not going to win.”

Trubisky finished with four touchdown passes and had 478 yards on 36-for-48 yards passing. Trubisky also piled up 98 yards on 25 rushes. Fritts caught all four of Trubisky’s touchdown passes and finished with a whopping 243 yards on 14 receptions.

On the winning score, Fritts, listed at 6-foot-3, used his superior size to bull through 5-8 Eagles defensive back Steve Clark to get inside the pylon at the front of the end zone. This came after Fritts beat Clark for a 37-yard catch down field on a crucial third down to preserve the winning drive that began with 3:16 left in the game.

“After every possession, I kept telling the coaches, ‘Give me the ball. Give me the ball. I’m going to make plays. This kid, he’s smaller than me.’ So I just kept asking for the ball. Mitch did a great job tonight throwing it. And the offensive line did a great job protecting him, too,”Fritts said.

St. Ignatius was the only team to defeat Mentor this season and eliminated them from last year’s postseason their way to last year's state championship.

Mentor head coach Steve Trivisonno knows his kids will be ready for the Wildcats, but he knows Saturday night will leave a lasting memory.

“Our kids never quit. They know it’s a 48-minute game. And they came out and played their butts off. That was fun, huh? No doubt,” Trivisonno said. “When you can score, you know you’re always in it. All it takes is a stop or two.”

St. Edward’s Dwayne Aaron had a rough first half, but he blossomed in the second half and finished with 21 carries for 148 yards and three touchdowns.

Eagles quarterback Ryan Fallon had 20 carries for 124 yards and three touchdowns. Through the air, Fallon finished 15-of-26 for 227 passing yards with a touchdown but had a game-ending interception with seconds remaining.

To St. Edward coach Rick Finotti, Trubisky was the difference in the game.

“We didn’t play well enough to win. Hats off to the Mentor Cardinals. We just couldn’t do enough to stop Mitch Trubisky,” Finotti said. “When you get pressure on him, he’s agile enough to step out of the way of the pressure and deliver the ball down field.”

In the first half, St. Edward’s offense scored touchdowns on its first six possessions until it finally punted toward the end of the first half, but Mentor managed to keep pace as it scored touchdowns on five of its seven first-half possessions as the Eagles led, 42-35, at halftime.

Mentor’s opening two drives of the second half ended in disappointment as one stalled at the Eagles’ 32 with an incomplete fourth-down pass to Fritts and another ending in a three-and-out.

St. Edward countered those two failed drives with Aaron blasting through the Mentor defense for 51 yards and tacking on a 1-yard run for a 56-35 lead that set up Mentor’s rally.

Mentor       14  21  7  21  63

St. Edward 21  21  14  0  56

First Quarter

St. Edward – Fallon 4 run (Marsilio kick)

Mentor – Delisa 1 run (Muzic kick)

St. Edward – Aaron 59 pass from Fallon (Marsilio kick)

St. Edward – Fallon 3 run (Marsilio kick)

Mentor – Schaefer 1 run (Muzic kick)

Second Quarter

St. Edward – Young 41 pass from Crawford (Marsilio kick)

Mentor – Fritts 33 pass from Trubisky (Muzic kick)

St. Edward – Fallon 3 run (Marsilio kick)

Mentor – Delisa 13 run (Muzic kick)

St. Edward – Aaron 1 run (Marsilio kick)

Mentor – Fritts 11 pass from Trubisky (Muzic kick)

Third Quarter

St. Edward – Aaron 51 run (Marsilio kick)

St. Edward – Aaron 1 run (Marsilio kick)

Mentor – Trubisky 27 run (Muzic kick)

Fourth Quarter

Mentor – Trubisky 2 run (Muzic kick)

Mentor – Fritts 8 pass from Trubisky (Muzic kick)

Mentor – Fritts 16 pass from Trubisky (Muzic kick)

Kacey Shea November 12, 2012 at 06:13 PM
What a great game this was to watch! Way to go Cards!

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