The regular season for Mentor ended with a frustrating night in Lorain County as the Cardinals fell to host Elyria, 27-24, on a Pioneers touchdown with 11 seconds left in regulation.
Mentor (7-3, 5-2 GCC) committed four turnovers and were hurt by injuries to wide receivers Malik Porter and Logan Shea as well as not adjusting all that well to playing on grass.
The loss cost the Cardinals a share of the Greater Cleveland Conference title, which was split between Solon and Euclid. However, Mentor still earned a home playoff game in Division I, Region 1 as the Cardinals finished eighth and will host Canton Glen Oak on Nov. 7.
“We just have to play better and we have to be a little nastier out there when the playoffs start,” Mentor coach Steve Trivisonno said. “We didn’t get our footing real well on the grass and we lost some guys to injury, but the bottom line is we have to play a lot better if we are going to move on in the postseason.”
Elyria jumped out to a 7-0 lead before Mentor responded with a TD run by Alex Mathews. Chris Atkinson, who scored three times for the Pioneers, gave his team a 14-7 edge, but the Cardinals again answered with a TD pass from Tadas Tatarunas to Jason Blizzard to tie the game.
Tatarunas and Blizzard hooked up again in the second quarter, but Atkinson’s 10-yard touchdown run evened the score at 21 heading to halftime.
After a scoreless third quarter, Cal Tommasone kicked a 32-yard field goal with 3 minutes left in the game to give Mentor a 24-21 lead, but a short kickoff led to a game-winning drive and TD run by Atkinson with 11 seconds to play.
“When you have a young team like we do you have to learn to play hard for the full 48 minutes, especially on the road,” Trivisonno said. “We learned a tough lesson because we lost a shot at the league title, but hopefully they bounce back and get ready for the playoffs.”
Elyria finished 7-3 and 3-4 in GCC play and qualified for the D-I playoffs.
Mentor will take on Canton GlenOak on Saturday November 7 at 7:00 p.m. at Jerome T. Osborne Stadium in the first round of the OHSAA playoffs. Tickets will be sold on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 pm. in the Athletic office of Mentor High. Enter the school through the gymnasium lobby. All tickets are $8 presale and $9 at the gate. No reserve seats will be available. Any questions call the MHS Athletic office at 440-974-5304.