Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Tatarunas, Blizzard shine in Mentor’s easy win over Boardman

Mentor sophomore quarterback Tadas Tatarunas had a debut to remember.

Cardinals senior captain Jason Blizzard had a night to remember.

It won’t be hard for anyone in scarlet and gray to remember the 38-7 pounding of Youngstown Boardman at the JTO on Aug. 28 was nice, but things get very interesting in Week 2 when St. Ignatius comes to Lake County.

Mentor started the 2015 season off with an emphatic win over the visiting Spartans, led by Tatarunas who threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns in his first varsity start. Tatarunas also ran for a score in the first half as the Cardinals built a 17-0 halftime lead.

Blizzard had 11 catches for 228 yards and 2 TDs.

Tatarunas hit Blizzard with a 74-yard scoring strike to provide a much needed cushion in the third quarter after Boardman had pulled to within 10 at 17-7.

“It’s a young group of kids and they were nervous at first, but they settled in and played well. We did a lot of good things tonight, now we have to see where we are at next week," Mentor coach Steve Trivisonno said.

“It’s a big game against a loaded team that is one of the top two or three in the state, but we will show up and battle and see what happens. We have to remember this is a work in progress.”

Tatarunas has certainly progressed nicely from the summer when it was a three-way competition for the starting QB position to having a huge night in Week 1 in front of a large home crowd.

“I felt comfortable because I have an O-line that never lets me get touched and receivers that catch everything,” Tatarunas said. “(Blizzard) and I trust each other and we are on the same page.”

Blizzard said the young QB is growing up every day and the team as a whole will continue to get better throughout the season. Improvement will certainly be necessary to step up and beat St. Ignatius in Week 2, but the Cardinals are going to be the Cardinals regardless of the opponent.

“We know it is a big game, but we have to be ourselves and do what we do,” Blizzard said of St. Ignatius.

“Every week Tadas gets better and better and you have to remember he is only a sophomore. He is going to keep growing at the position.”

Malik Porter caught a TD pass from Tatarunas, and Isaiah Gullick had a 7-yard TD run for the Cardinals. Mentor senior Alex Mathews quietly racked up 105 yards on the ground.

Koby Adu-poku carried 34 times for 167 yards and a TD for Boardman.

“That little guy is a heck of a back. (Boardman) has a nice team and are going to win some games this year, so I am proud of our guys," Trivisonno said. "We are a young group and we did some good things, now we just have to get better every day.”

Cal Tomassone scored the first points of the season for Mentor with a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter.

Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, 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.

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