FNTD Playoffs: Mentor Rallies to Stun #1 St. Edward
PARMA, Ohio — It may have been the game of the year, and it featured a comeback for the ages. Mitch Trubisky and Brandon Fritts connected for four touchdown passes, as Mentor rallied from a 21-point deficit to stun top-ranked and unbeaten St. Edward, 63-56 in the Division 1, Region 1 semifinal, Saturday night at Byers Field.
Both offenses lit up the scoreboard all night, with the Eagles scoring on six of their seven first half possessions, and the Cardinals scoring on five of their seven turns with the ball.
Trubisky, the 2011 FOX 8 Friday Night Touchdown Player of the Year played the best game of his career, accounting for 576 total yards, including 478 through the air. Many of those passing yards went to Fritts, who caught 14 balls for 243-yards and a career-high 4 touchdowns.
The Eagles offense was nearly as dominant; quarterback Ryan Fallon threw for 227-yards and one touchdown, while rushing for another 124-yards and three scores. Senior tailback Dwayne Aaron racked up 148-yards on the ground and three touchdowns, and caught another touchdown from Fallon, as St. Eds built a 42-35 lead at the intermission.
Aaron was almost unstoppable in the third quarter, scoring twice and rushing for nearly 90-yards, helping the Eagles extend their lead to 56-35. But trailing by 21, with time running out, Trubisky shifted into another gear. First he scored from 27-yards out on the ground to cut the Eagles lead to 14, after three quarters.
Then Trubisky started the final frame, by powering in for a short touchdown that got the Cardinals within seven points for the first time since the first quarter. After an Eagles' punt, Trubisky and Fritts went to work, connecting for an 8-yard touchdown pass that tied the game with just under six minutes remaining.
Fallon marched the Eagles down the Mentor 19 and into potential field goal range, but Coach Rick Finotti chose to keep his offense on the field on 4th down and seven, and when Fallon's pass to Anthony Young fell incomplete, Mentor took over, needing only a field goal for its first lead of the night. But Trubisky and Fritts did one better; the North Carolina recruit hit Fritts down the left sideline and the big receiver did the rest, bowling over an Eagles defender and diving into the end zone with 0:33 left for what proved to be the winning score.
St. Eds had one final possession to try to tie, but Fallon's desperation pass was intercepted, and the Cardinals ran into the field in exuberance.
Mentor advances to next Saturday's Region 1 Final against St. Ignatius (11-1). The team met back in week three of the regular season, with the Wildcats routing the Cardinals 48-21 behind a nearly flawless game from QB Michael LaManna. The rematch will be for a trip to the Division 1 State Semifinals.
For all the final scores, plus video highlights and photo galleries from Friday and Saturday’s games, head over to the FOX-8 High School Football page.