It has been home sweet home all season for the Mentor Cardinals.
So needless to say, no one in scarlet and gray is complaining about one more game at the JTO this fall. Mentor rolled past Strongsville, 37-7, in the regular-season finale on Halloween in a game that featured a running clock for the fourth quarter.
With the victory, the Cardinals finished a perfect 6-0 at home this season and guaranteed themselves a game on Nov. 8 at the JTO in the first round of the Division I playoffs. According to joeeitel.com, Mentor has clinched a home game and is currently in the No. 3 spot in Region 1.
"We like it here," Mentor coach Steve Trivisonno said with a smile standing in the rain at the JTO on Oct. 31. "And with my old back and neck if I don't have to get on a bus that is a good thing.
"I don't think there's any idea who is coming here next week until after the St. Ed's-St. Ignatius game (Nov. 1). We just have to play it by ear and we will play whoever shows up here. But, we have a long way to go and we still have a lot to clean up."
Mentor has cleaned up at home and away as of late. The Cardinals finished the regular season 9-1 for the fourth straight year and went 26-2 during their time in the NOC. Mentor is leaving the conference at the end of this season.
"That's a pretty good run over the past four years for these seniors," Trivisonno said.
Mentor jumped out to a 23-0 advantage on Strongsville and was never threatened after that. Jake Floriea threw a touchdown pass to Eddie Daugherty and ran for a pair during the opening offensive blitz by the Cardinals, who also forced a safety on an intentional grounding call in the end zone.
Jason Blizzard and Jerrell Jackson each ran for scores in the second half for Mentor.
The Cardinals not only went 6-0 at home this fall, they won those games by an average of 39 points per game.
"For us seniors, it means everything to have another game at the JTO," said senior defensive lineman Nico Lautanen, who had 2 sacks. "I can't believe how fast it was going. To be here in front of this crowd and in this atmosphere is great.
"I don't think it matters who comes here next week. If we study film and execute, I think it will be fine."
Strongsville finished at 6-4 and was mathematically eliminated from playoff contention according to joeeitel.com. Mustangs quarterback Bobby Cole, who was also injured in Week 1 at the JTO vs. Lake Catholic, was helped off the field in the second half with what appeared to be another leg injury.