Mentor Starts Off Strong and Takes Down Solon

The rivalry between Mentor and Solon is one of the most intense matchups in Northeast Ohio. The two schools have met in the playoffs and in the regular season over the past several years and it is always an anticipated game.

Last night’s matchup was at Mentor and their stadium is one of the easiest to find. It was easy to find the stadium of route 615 in Mentor and parking there is always no problem. There was a lot of excitement on the Mentor side as the fans were filing in. The Mentor students were wearing pink for breast cancer awareness and WKNR had a booth set up right outside the stadium. The Mentor fans were excited and the Solon fans had smiles of excitement on their faces as well.

I hadn’t been on Mentor’s field in two years and when I stepped on to it, I noticed the field was as hard as a rock. The playing surface is artificial turf but it seemed very hard. I went over and spoke with Solon assistant coach Dave Mortland about it and he and I both concurred that the field seemed hard. With the rain that had come down beforehand, the field also seemed slick in a couple of areas.

The weather reports for this game called for rain and the forecasters ended up being correct on that prediction. It started to drizzle during the first quarter and throughout the game, the drizzle turned into a downpour. It wasn’t as bad as it was during the Normandy game two weeks ago but it still forced me to take pictures underneath my umbrella. It is not the best way to take pictures but it keeps my camera and myself dry.

There was a lot of hype around Mentor quarterback Mitch Trubisky, a North Carolina recruit, leading up to this game and it did not take long for Trubisky to show the talent he has.

Trubisky would get Mentor on the scoreboard with a 30 yard pass to teammate Brandon Fritts to go up 7-0. Solon would tie it up with a touchdown but an encroachment penalty on Mentor’s next possession kept the drive alive long enough for Trubisky to connect with junior wide receiver Connor Krizancic to go up 14-7. One drive after that, a one yard touchdown run by Nick Delisa would put Mentor up 21-7.

Once the second quarter began, Mentor picked up where they left off. Two touchdown receptions by Fritts and and one by Delisa would put Mentor up 42-7 at halftime.

Solon’s offense had difficulty getting going in the first half despite scoring the touchdown early on. Running back Khoury Crenshaw and quarterback George Berry both tried to scramble at times but often were met behind the line of scrimmage or for short yard gains. With the rain pouring down intensely, Crenshaw lost control of the football on what was going to be a long gain and ended up fumbling the ball. It was easy to tell that the ball was getting slick and that trying long range field goals in the rain showers was not going to be the best option on fourth down.
During Solon’s halftime show, the microphone in the pressbox was malfunctioning and Solon’s band director, Ed Kline, kept looking up to the pressbox to verify which song to play next. After a moment or two of waiting, someone from the Mentor side shouted “Carry On My Wayward Son!” As it turns out, that was the song the Comet Marching Band was scheduled to play next. There are normally requests for “Free Bird” but it was clever to hear a request for “Carry On My Wayward Son.”

Solon’s band played the halftime show and ended up leaving the game by the middle of the third quarter. Without them there, the stands seemed really quiet. The rain and the lopsidedness of the game made it a really quiet atmosphere inside what is normally a really loud stadium whenever Solon comes to town. The rainy weather quieted the crowd down and it was one of the quietest games I had ever seen between the two teams.

Despite the elements, I didn’t see anyone leave from the Solon student section. These kids stayed the entire game and cheered on the team through the thick and the thin. The game was lopsided and I couldn’t help but applaud the Solon students for standing by their team the entire night.

Despite touchdowns by Krenshaw and Drew Barksdale, Mentor managed to continue to put points on the board and the game ended 56-28. I could tell it was weighing on the Solon players as they marched onto the field for post-game handshakes. I couldn’t help but feel the pain they were feeling. They truly wanted to win this one.

The drive home one of the rainiest and felt like it was one of the longest drives I had made all season. I had to take my time as I was going on to Route 2 as part of my route home and I turned on the radio so I wouldn’t have silence in the car.

As I listened to 107.3 The Wave for some smooth jazz, I couldn’t help but think how Solon has bounced back from tough losses already this season. One week after losing to North Royalton, the Comets came back against Normandy and the week after that against Medina. The team did learn from the loss against North Royalton and came back in both of the games after that as strong as ever. Solon always gets fired up to play and I know they will be back and ready for Twinsburg next Friday.

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~ by jeffrsabo on October 6, 2012.

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