The elite eight is a special achievement for any high school football team in the state of Ohio.
For the fourth consecutive season, Mentor has proven to be among the Buckeye State’s elite programs.
And as an added bonus this time, Round 3 of the playoffs will also be Round 2 for the Cardinals and NOC Valley foe Hudson.
Mentor cruised into the third round of the playoffs for the fourth straight year with a 38-14 win over Canton Glen Oak in a Division I regional quarterfinal win at Akron’s InfoCision Stadium on Nov. 15.
The Cardinals and Explorers will play with a spot in the state final four on the line on Nov. 22 at a site to be determined. Hudson, the top seed in Region 1, defeated St. Ignatius, 28-23.
“That’s four years in a row in Region 1, I am not sure that anybody else has done that. It has been a heck of a run,” Mentor coach Steve Trivisonno said of making it to Round 3. “I am very proud of these kids.
“If you can get to this game four years in a row it is special.”
Mentor (11-1) broke through early on a 68-yard halfback option pass from Eddie Daugherty to Jason Blizzard for a 7-0 lead and the Cardinals never trailed.
Senior quarterback Jake Floriea, who threw two touchdown passes, ran for a 2-yard score for Mentor to put the Cardinals on top, 14-0. Canton Glen Oak (7-5) scored to pull to within 14-6 at halftime, but Mentor pulled away with a big second half.
Daugherty, who finished with seven catches for 158 yards and a TD, said the halfback pass for a touchdown served as a spark, but he is confident in his teammates and the potential of the Cardinals.
“Our offense just needed something to get going and that allowed us to play our game,” Daugherty said.
“This program is indescribable. I love being here and I am glad to be a part of it.”
Floriea threw touchdown passes to Daugherty and Blizzard sandwiched around a 24-yard field goal from Tyler Thompson to essentially put the game away. Alex Mathews scored on a long touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the exclamation point for Mentor.
Trevor Morrison had two sacks and caused a fumble recovered by Peter Kunka during a dominant second-half stretch for the Cardinals.
“It was high intensity out there and it wasn’t just me, it was the whole defense,” Morrison said.
“Ever since I got here as a freshman we have worked very hard and it is great to be back in the next round of the playoffs.”
Trivisonno was impressed with his team’s effort, especially after the Golden Eagles made it a one-possession game going into the half.
“That’s when you find out what kind of football team you have,” Trivisonno said.
“I thought we played some really good football in the second half.”