State Spotlight: Moeller, Mentor meet in “North vs South” tilt

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Cincinnati Moeller travels to Mentor on Saturday for a huge Cincinnati-Cleveland showdown

Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller coach John Rodenberg admits he’s taking a
bit of a risk, but he’s comfortable with the travel agenda this weekend. Rodenberg, the first-year Moeller coach, said the team chose not to
stay overnight in the Cleveland area when the Crusaders (3-1) travel to
play Mentor (2-2) at 2 p.m. Saturday. Instead, that means the Crusaders will wake up early and depart the Queen City by 5:30 a.m. Saturday.


Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller coach John Rodenberg admits he’s taking a bit of a risk, but he’s comfortable with the travel agenda this weekend.

Rodenberg, the first-year Moeller coach, said the team chose not to stay overnight in the Cleveland area when the Crusaders (3-1) travel to play Mentor (2-2) at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Instead, that means the Crusaders will wake up early and depart the Queen City by 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

However, Moeller should be well-prepared this weekend. While several Cincinnati-area teams had to deal with a severe wind storm, Rodenberg said Moeller had an off day on Monday and got back to work Tuesday as normal.

For Rodenberg and his coaching staff, the Crusaders have a key game plan: to stop Mentor’s spread offense.

“We need to stop their passing game and establish our run game,” Rodenberg said.

Both teams have a similar concept with the spread offense.

Moeller, which has won two consecutive games, has had a great deal of firepower offensively. The Crusaders defeated Findlay 45-32 last Saturday at the University of Cincinnati.

“We are creating so much balance running and throwing that it’s hard to defend us,” Rodenberg said. “It’s really opened our passing game.”

Moeller junior QB Andrew Hendrix has thrown for 658 yards and five touchdowns in his first season as the starter. Hendrix threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns last week.

The favorite target for Hendrix has been senior WR Tony Harris, who has 25 receptions for 374 yards, including a 44-yard reception.

“Their wideout is as good as we’ve seen all year long,” Mentor coach Steve Trivisonno said. “He is athletic and they can get him the ball a lot of different ways.”

The backfield has been a big plus for Moeller. Junior RB Richie Dyer has 268 rushing yards and three touchdowns while junior RB Jeff Aubin has 15 carries for 153 yards and two touchdowns.

“They have a pretty good 1-2 combination in the backfield,” Trivisonno said. “I think they’re very deep.”

Defensively, junior LB Marcus Rush has five sacks, including four against Findlay.

“Marcus is playing well,” Rodenberg said. “We thought he would be a good player, but he is so fast – he is creating a lot of problems.”

Mentor, the Division I state runner-up in 2007, is coming off a 28-14 loss at Cleveland St. Ignatius last week. Mentor has had close games, including a 26-24 win over Solon and a 30-27 loss to Strongsville.

“We could be 4-0,” Trivisonno said. “We stunk in Week 2 (Strongsville) and we should’ve won that game.”

Mentor is led by senior QB Anthony Fracci, who has thrown for 507 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Mike Korecz has close to 300 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

The top receiver is Mike Johanek, who has 18 receptions for 186 yards and two touchdowns.

“We have a pretty good solid offense,” Trivisonno said.

Senior DE Ben Pike, who has Mid-American Conference offers, and senior Adam Watson are strong on the defensive line. Senior safety Tim Moore, a Bowling Green recruit, and senior Nick Krantz shore up a solid secondary.

“(Moeller) is talented and as good of a team as we’ve seen,” Trivisonno said. “We have our work cut out for us.”

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