Oct. 13—Mentor took control from the outset of its contest with Strongsville on Oct. 13. The Cardinals' defense forced a three-and-out and set the early tempo.
The offense followed suit as they scored on their first four drives and pulled away early. Mentor saw both sides of the ball firing on all cylinders as it went on to win, 42-0.
The Cardinals (6-3) had the goal of setting the early tone with its defense. Coach Matt Gray has seen that unit lead the charge time and again this season.
The defense held Strongsville (3-6) to just over 100 yards in the first half and forced three turnovers. A pair of interceptions by Kellen Graham and Mike Bertone and a fumble recovery in the fourth.
"It's a mindset and mentality of this program that we want to be great in all three facets," Gray said. "Our defense has had that since the start of it, being aggressive, flying to the football. We're not the biggest unit up front, but how are we successful on it, we work extremely hard and be multiple with it."
The defense stood stout while the offense found its way down the field. Quarterback Scotty Fox was just shy of 200 yards in the first half and threw for a pair of touchdowns.
He also ran for the first score of the game from two yards out. Even with the early success, Fox knew there was still more out there for the offense.
"As an offense, we came out slow on the mental side of the game, and we can't have that," Fox said. "We have to keep pounding it in and take advantage of every look that the defense gives us and go from there. The offensive line and receivers did a great job blocking to help us out."
Fox finished the game 15-for-20 for 254 yards with those three scores. His two passing scores were to Justen Hodge (48 yards) and Austin Van Huss (11 yards).
The receiving duo finished with a total of 174 yards through the air. Both also helped out their quarterback as they fought for yards after the catch.
Fox has confidence once the ball is snapped, anyone on the field is capable of a big play.
"The guys around me are just play makers," Fox said. "I put the ball in their hands, and they make things happen. Even with the final drive, our offensive line did a great job pounding it out and allowing the running game to march us down he field."
The running back trio of Jackson Farley, Gino Korzunowski and Marty Johnson all ran for scores as well.
The past two games has seen the Mentor offense score 40 or more points while the defense pitched shutouts. After its overtime loss to Cleveland Heights, Gray has been impressed with how his team has mentally prepared themselves.
"It's been great, and it's been like that since these guys started showing up in January," Gray said. "These guys show up on a day-to-day basis and not letting the day before affect them. Being able to show up and work has been the most impressive part of the team this year."
Mentor returns to Jerome T. Osborne Stadium on Oct. 20 to close the regular season against Euclid. Strongsville aims to bounce back on the road against Brunswick.
Mentor 42, Strongsville 0