MENTOR — The Mentor football team had the Medina defense on the run early and often. The clock was on the run to start the second half, too.
The Cardinals got three of Chris Edmond’s four rushing touchdowns and a pair of TD passes from Tadas Tatarunas to build a five-score lead at the break Friday night en route to a 49-14 Greater Cleveland Conference victory.
Mentor came out flying, rolling up 51 offensive plays and 23 first downs in the first half. By contrast, Medina ran 30 plays and had three first downs over the opening two quarters.
“It was difficult, but more times than not we were hurting ourselves,” Bees quarterback Levi Pokersnik said.
Time and again, the Cardinals (5-1, 3-0) ran between the tackles and found space, raced to the line and ran the next play. With the Medina (2-4, 1-2) offense unable to sustain drives, the tired defense was quickly back on the field and chasing the fleet Mentor attack.
“You can’t hold your head down,” senior offensive tackle Patrick Ross said. “You have to keep your morale up and keep working.”
That’s what the Bees set out to do after halftime. Mentor got the second-half kickoff, but on the first play Edmond (23 carries, 149 yards) was hit from behind and fumbled and the Bees recovered on the Cardinals 37-yard line.
On his third straight run, Pokersnik (14 carries, 102 yards) kept on an option and found the middle of the field wide open, racing in from 25 yards and temporarily putting an end to the running clock.
“We ran their scheme in practice and we saw what was happening in the first half, so we made some adjustments and started executing better,” Ross said.
Mentor responded with a 64-yard drive, capped by Edmond’s fourth TD on a 7-yard bolt up the middle. After an interception of Pokersnik, Elijah McDougall (12 carries, 132 yards) broke free down the left sideline, cut back to the middle and went in for a 63-yard touchdown.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Mentor fumbled again and the Bees recovered on the Mentor 40. Nine plays later, Pokersnik again ran up the middle and found a crease, scoring from 13 yards.
“We came out in the second half and it was 14-14,” Pokersnik said. “We showed we can play. We’ve just got to control what we can control and limit our mistakes at the start.”
Tatarunas finished 14-for-20 for 181 yards and the two first-half touchdowns. He hit six receivers in the game, while the Cardinals had 10 ball carriers and emptied the bench in the fourth quarter.
The Bees tried to stretch the ball to Dylan Fultz and Andrew Ellis on the outside, but Pokersnik completed just 5-of-20 passes for 29 yards. Fultz had two catches for 2 yards and four second-half carries for 6 yards, while Ellis caught one pass in the first quarter for 8 yards.
Contact Chris Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mentor 49, Medina 14
MEDINA 0 0 7 7 — 14
MENTOR 14 21 14 0 — 49
Men — Chris Edmond 2 run (Conor McIntosh kick), 4:38.
Men — Luke Floriea 15 pass from Tadas Tatarunas (McIntosh kick), 1:58.
Men — Derek Kleinhenz 5 pass from Tatarunas (McIntosh kick), 9:20.
Men — Edmond 1 run (McIntosh kick), 6:11.
Men — Edmond 4 run (McIntosh kick), 0:44.
Med — Levi Pokersnik 25 run (Andrew Horton kick), 9:07.
Men — Edmond 7 run (McIntosh kick), 5:56.
Men — Elijah McDougall 63 run (McIntosh kick), 3:22.
Med — Pokersnik 13 run (Horton kick), 3:07.