PARMA, Ohio —
Considering the high octane offenses of both the St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio)
Eagles and the Mentor (Ohio)
Cardinals, it wasn't surprising that the two teams produced a high-scoring affair on Saturday night. But no one could have expected this.
In a game that featured 119 points and 1,266 yards of total offense, it was Mentor who pulled off a stunning 63-56 comeback upset of fourth-ranked St. Edward in the OHSAA Division I regional semifinals at Byers Field.
The Cardinals scored 28 unanswered points to close out the game, erasing a 21-point deficit and stymieing a St. Edward scoring attack that had steamrolled them through the first three quarters.
The offensive fireworks come just one day after the 104-80 barn-burner
that had record-keepers busy in North Carolina.
"You saw a classic tonight between two great football teams," said Mentor head coach Steve Trivisonno. "These kids just battled hard for 48 minutes. We knew this was the kind of game it was going to be and that we'd have to take care of business at the end. That's exactly what we were able to do."
Mentor was guided by quarterback and Ohio Mr. Football candidate Mitch Trubisky
, who connected with junior receiver Brandon Fritts
in the end zone with 33 seconds left in the game to break a 56-56 tie.
Overall, Trubisky completed 36-of-48 passes for 478 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Fritts caught 14 of those passes, including all four touchdowns, for 243 yards. Trubisky also rushed for 98 yards on 25 carries with another pair of scores, giving him 576 yards of total offense and six touchdowns.
Prior to Fritts' game-winning score, Mentor had not led at any point in the game, despite leading St. Edward in total yards (726 to 540) and time of possession (28:39 to 19:21).See Quixcore game log
"It was a lot of fun, I can tell you that," said Trubisky. "We were all on the same page tonight and we know we are capable of coming in and picking defenses apart on any given night."
There was no defense to speak of early in the contest as St. Edward scored touchdowns in each of their first six possessions. Eagles quarterback Ryan Fallon
rushed for 106 yards three touchdowns in the first half alone, while passing for another two scores.
Still, with Trubisky meticulously guiding Mentor's offense, the Cardinals managed to keep pace with St. Edward and went into the locker room at halftime trailing only by a touchdown, 42-35.
But Mentor's defense, which had been non-existent for the first three quarters, finally sprung to life late in the game, holding St. Edward scoreless in the fourth quarter and limiting them to just 58 yards of total offense. Fallon, who ran roughshod over Mentor's defenders for most of the night, was held to just 18 rushing yards in the second half.
"Our defense came up so big when we really needed them to," said Trivisonno. "We knew that if we could just make a few big stops when it mattered, we'd have a good shot to come back."Dwayne Aaron
led all St. Edward rushers with 148 yards and three touchdowns, but he too was completely neutralized in the fourth quarter when he gained just two.
With the win, Mentor threw a wrench into any expectations for a rematch between longtime rivals St. Edward and St. Ignatius in the Division I regional final. St. Edward handed St. Ignatius its first loss of the season on Oct. 27 with a 20-13 triumph in the regular season finale but won't get the chance to knock them from the 2012 state tournament.See Ohio Division I bracket
Instead, Mentor will look to unseat the defending Division I state champions next weekend.
"We are 100 percent focused on beating St. Ignatius now," said Trubisky. "We know how good they are but we fully expect to be ready to go for that game. It's going to be a battle."