Saturday, September 30, 2023

Special teams play keys 42-16 win over Solon for Mentor

Special teams for Mentor in Week 8 has ensured a special matchup in Week 9 for the undefeated Cardinals.

Sparked by two blocked field goals and a kickoff return for a touchdown by standout Marc Walton, Mentor improved to 8-0 on the season with a 42-16 win over Solon at Jerome T. Osborne Sr. Stadium on Oct. 17.

The victory coupled with a Hudson win over Strongsville sets up a marquee, heavyweight matchup most high school football fans started looking forward to in August.

Mentor vs. Hudson. 1 vs. 2 in the AP state poll. 8-0 vs. 8-0. The NOC Valley title at stake. A statewide television audience.

Game on.

"It's a short week, a big week and we have to get back to work," Mentor coach Steve Trivisonno said of the Thursday night showdown at Hudson.

"I really haven't seen Hudson much, but it is two 8-0 teams and we will see what we are made of."

What the Cardinals saw on Friday night at the JTO was a big boost from the special teams unit. 

Early in the first quarter, Solon recovered a Mentor fumble and seemed destined to take the lead immediately, but a block of a short field goal on the interior by Nico Lautanen and Billy Hudson kept the game scoreless.

After a touchdown pass from Jake Floriea to Jason Blizzard put the Cardinals on top, 7-0, the Comets threatened again only to have Walton come off the edge to block another field goal. 

After a third successful try on a field goal by Solon cut the Mentor lead to 7-3, Walton responded with a 73-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter to give the Cardinals an 11-point edge and momentum that carried over into the third quarter. 

"We knew coming into the game that special teams would be a key factor so we played hard when we are in those situations," Walton said.
I can't take all the credit for those plays. I have to credit my teammates for that.

"Special teams are key in a game like this and if you can get points off that it is huge."

Touchdown runs by Eddie Daugherty and Alex Mathews were part of a big third quarter for Mentor as the Cardinals jumped out to a 28-3 lead. Matt Smith's 91-yard kickoff return for a TD for Solon (5-3) was the lone blemish on the night for the Mentor special teams, but the Cardinals responded with two more touchdown runs by Daugherty to put the victory safely away and set up the unbeaten matchup against Hudson in six days. 

"I thought we came out and did some good things tonight, but we have to clean some things up and keep getting better," Trivisonno said. "I think you have to give Solon a lot of credit for some things they did tonight."

Solon quarterback Matt Laubscher, playing for the injured Johnny Mooney, was lauded by Trivisonno for a solid evening running the Comets offense. Laubscher was pressured constantly, however, as the Cardinals recorded seven sacks on the night.

The evening began with ceremonies at the JTO for Parents Night, which was particularly special for Lautanen. The All-Ohio defensive lineman walked on the field in the pregame with his mother and his father, who had been hospitalized a few weeks back.


Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles


CVC TV: Jefferson at Lakeside

CVC TV heads to Ashtabula for a Lake Division showdown between the Jefferson Falcons and the host Lakeside Dragons.

Berkshire knocks off Kirtland in Valley Division battle for first place

Berkshire moved into a tie for first place in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division after knocking off host Kirtland on Thursday, 3-1.

Beachwood’s improvement noticeable with return of former coach David Cole

Longtime Beachwood tennis coach David Cole left the school a few years ago but returned in 2023 and the Bison already have shown marked improvement.

CVC releases statement on Sept. 22 incident

The Chagrin Valley Conference, in coordination with Beachwood and Brooklyn school districts, released a statement following an incident that occurred during a football game between the two schools on Sept. 22.

CVC Athletes of the Week

Athletes from 16 different schools have been named the Chagrin Valley Conference Athletes of the Week for the week ending September 24.