Mentor returns nine starters in quest for third straight D-I state final

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Mentor Cardinals Football

The Cardinals have had back-to-back state runner-up finishes. Getting
back to the title game could be tough as Mentor returns only two
starters on offense and seven on defense.

“It is always our goal to try and compete for a state championship,”
said Mentor coach Steve Trivisonno, back for his 12th year. “We talk about that as one of our main goals.”


PLAYERS TO WATCH

TE/DE Ben Pike (6-3, 225, Sr.), DB/WR Nick Krantz (6-1, 185, Sr.), SS Tim Moore (6-0, 185, Sr.), DE/OL Adam Watson (6-2, 230, Sr.), WR Mike Johanek (6-3, 190, Sr.), OT Kevin Poropat (6-4, 230, Sr.), QB Anthony Fracci (6-2, 180, Sr.), QB Sam Mayse (6-5, 190, Jr.).

SEASON OUTLOOK

2007 Record: 11-3, State Runner-Up

The Cardinals have had back-to-back state runner-up finishes. Getting back to the title game could be tough as Mentor returns only two starters on offense and seven on defense.

“It is always our goal to try and compete for a state championship,” said Mentor coach Steve Trivisonno, back for his 12th year as the Cardinals coach. “We talk about that as one of our main goals. To win that title, it is a lofty goal. But we always want to shoot for that.

“I think our defense is going to be very good. We have a lot of kids with a lot of experience. We have been to the state championship game two years in a row. That has given us a lot of extra work.”

Mentor went on quite an impressive playoff run. The Cardinals rolled through Painesville Riverside (38-17) and Solon (23-13) in the first two rounds before nipping Cleveland Glenville (41-40) in the regional finals. Mentor then ripped unbeaten Brunswick 39-14 in a state semifinal game before falling to Cincinnati St. Xavier 27-0 in the state title game. (The Cardinals lost to Hilliard Davidson 36-35 in double overtime in the 2006 D-I state title game.)

Mentor must replace Mr. Football-award winning QB Bart Tanski. Fracci and Mayse will compete for that job.

“Right now, it would probably be Anthony’s job,” Trivisonno said. “But we have a good young kid as well in Sam and I think they will battle a little bit. I don’t know if you ever replace a player (like Tanski). But the next kid has to come in and do what they can do.

“Anthony is different than Bart. He may be more athletic and more of a runner. He has to do what he can do well.”

Pike has several major college offers, Watson started last year at center and Krantz is a leader on defense at corner.

“Pike has several offers from MAC schools,” Trivisonno said. “He probably plays the game as hard as anybody I have ever coached. He is a big, strong, athletic kid and a great leader.

“Krantz is a great cover corner. He is one of the best athletes we have ever had here.”

Mentor will again be a factor in the Lake Erie League.

“Our league will be solid,” Trivisonno said. “I think it will be a pretty competitive year. Cleveland Heights is getting better and Shaker Heights is improving. I think ourselves and Euclid should play at a pretty good level.”

SCHEDULE

Aug. 22 Youngstown Cardinal Mooney
Aug. 28 at Strongsville
Sept. 5 Solon
Sept. 13 at Cleveland St. Ignatius, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 Cincinnati Moeller, 2 p.m.
Sept. 26 Euclid
Oct. 3 Shaker Heights
Oct. 10 at Maple Heights
Oct. 17 Massillon Washington
Oct. 24 at Cleveland Heights

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