HomeCommunity InformationEditorialNews ArchivesSports

Lake County Sentinel
Mentor wins a thriller over Medina 42-41  

(MENTOR, OH) - The Mentor Cardinals pulled off an absolute stunner of a comeback as they beat the Medina Bees 42-41 in Mentor. Cardinals Junior quarterback Scotty Fox was knocked out of the game late in the fourth quarter and down by 13. Backup QB senior Ben Pierce stepped up along with sophomore wide receiver Justin Hodge to pull off a huge win on Friday.

After playing two games in the 2022-2023 season that saw Medina take the regular season win 52-38 in a shootout and the rematch take place in the second round of the playoffs in which Mentor exacted revenge knocking Medina out of contention 42-21, this was a big game that both teams wanted to win and in a major way.

Medina was headed by senior quarterback Danny Stoddard who is averaging 350 yards passing and 50 yards rushing per game through the first three weeks of the season. Senior wide receivers Austin Knowles and Jack Wojciak are Stoddard's go to targets as Knowles is averaging 150 yards receiving and Wojci-ak right behind at 90 yards a game. Mentor on the other hand countered with jun-ior quarterback Scotty Fox who is as dangerous as runner as he is a passer. Fox has as a junior has been recruited by over 20 colleges including offers from Ken-tucky, Minnesota, and West Virginia. Mentor's junior linebacker Caiden Clair an-chors their defense with just shy of ten tackles per game and leads the team in sacks with three.

On the first drive of the game Medina rolled the dice on 4th and 2 from their own 28-yard line. Stoddard stepped up in pocket and delivered a perfect ball to Jack Wojciak in stride for a 72-yard touchdown.

Mentor had a miscommunication and fumbled a punt, recovering it on their own 15-yard line in their first drive for a turnover on downs, giving Medina the ball on a short field. Stoddard again on a fourth down connected for a nine-yard touch-down this time with his other weapon in the form of Austin Knowles. Medina led 14-0 only halfway through the first quarter.

Scotty Fox orchestrated a twelve-play drive culminating in a Fox two-yard quar-terback sneak for a touchdown cutting into the Medina's lead 14-7.

Stoddard finally made a mistake in the second quarter as Mentor junior defen-sive back Gavin Briggs intercepted the pass on the 37-yard line. An unsports-manlike conduct penalty after the play moved Mentor back to the 22 yards. After a short run by junior Marty Johnson, Fox made a mistake of his own by throwing into traffic and was picked off by Medina junior Cooper Josefczyk and taken 25 yards for another Medina touchdown.

Both quarterbacks started throwing interceptions at a rapid pace as Fox was in-tercepted by Medina junior defensive back Tallen Hulvey. On the very next play Mentor returned the sentiment as the Cardinals senior linebacker Henry Schenk.

Fox connected over the middle with Justin Hodge for 20 yards. A 13-yard run by sophomore Jackson Farley set up Scotty Fox with a four-yard keeper for a touchdown keeping Mentor in the game trailing 21-14.

After a 17 yard catch by the Bee's Austin Knowles, Mentor knocked the ball out of his hands forcing a fumble and recovered it at the 35-yard line. Scotty Fox would find senior running back Gino Korzunowski for 11 yards and then junior Marcus Sierputowski for 12 yards. Fox would then, yet again, run it in from the three-yard line for his third rushing score of the half, tying the game 21-21.

Medina would go on a 17 play drive that took less than four minutes only to be stopped by Mentor to end the first half.

Mentor would receive the ball to start the second half and they would send Je-rome T. Osborne stadium into a frenzy as they marched down the field capped off by a 14-yard touchdown run by Gino Korzunowski and give the Cardinals their first lead of the game. 28-21.

Medina would answer right back in what seemed like a repeat of last year’s shoot out as Stoddard hit Jack Wojciak in the corner of the endzone for a 26-yard score, evening up the score 28-28.

Medina stopped Mentor on a three and out. The Cardinals would also get penal-ized on a catch interference setting up Medina on the 35-yard line. Danny Stoddard hit Austin Knowles four times including a three-yard touchdown pass giving the lead back to the Bees 35-28.

Mentor would attempt to go for it on a fourth and long at the fifty-yard line but would be stopped yet again. Medina took advantage as they scored on an eight-yard run by Jack Wojciak, set up by Danny Stoddard's run game. The extra point was blocked, and the missed extra point proved to be critical in the outcome of the game.

Scotty Fox would lead the next Mentor drive down the field but was blown up on a tackle near the visitor sidelines at the ten, knocking him out of the game. Men-tor backup quarterback, senior Ben Pierce stepped in and capped off the drive with a five-yard touchdown run of his own, cutting the lead to 41-35 Medina.

Mentor's senior defensive back Caden Marksowski intercepted Danny Stoddard on a third and long giving the Cardinals a chance to take the lead. Ben Pierce engineered a drive to the four-yard line including a 22 yard catch by Justin Hodge. The Cardinals however could not get the score and were shut down on the goal line four straight times.

The Cardinals defense shut down the Bees and forced their only punt of the night with 1:36 left in the game, giving them a chance to win. Ben Pierce threw a pass over the middle that was incredibly caught, one handed, by Justin Hodge who then went 55 yards and scoring. After the extra point Mentor had the lead 42-41 with 1:22 left. That was the play of the year so far. It was an almost unbe-lievable catch.

Medina tried to stay alive and piece together a winning drive, but The Cardinals defense hunkered down and with five seconds left in the game Danny Stoddard had to heave a hail Mary that was broken up by the Cardinals as the clock ran out, giving Mentor their second win of the season.

After the game Mentor Coach Matt Gray said "These kids could have thrown in the towel many times in these first four weeks, but they keep battling. I'm so proud of the work they put in, they never quit."

Mentor will be looking for their next win on the road against a tough 3-1 Cleve-land Heights Tigers team. Medina hopes to bounce back at home against the 0-4 Brunswick Blue Devils. Both games are slated for Friday, September 15th with 7:00 pm start times..   
snydesj@yahoo.com or follow Joey on Twitter  @Goodfella_Joey
​POSTED 09/09/2023 23:50
Mentor fans rush the field after their 42-41 win over Medina
                                                                Photo by Joey Schneider