A long bus ride to Youngstown was made considerably easier on the way back to Mentor for Coach Steve Trivisonno and the Cardinals after Friday night's strong opening-night effort against Boardman.
Mentor scored 41 points in the first half and cruised with the new running clock rule in effect to an emphatic 48-14 victory over the host Spartans to begin the 2014 season.
"We did some good things, but we still have a long way to go and we have a lot to work on," Trivisonno said. "Overall, I was pleased. We got some young guy in and we are in pretty good shape health-wise, which is good because we have a big one coming up this week."
The Cardinals (1-0) travel to Byers Field on Sept. 6 to face rival St. Ignatius. The Wildcats have been knocked out of the postseason the last two years by Mentor.
Against Boardman on Friday, the Cardinals began with a trick play that has become common place lately. All-Ohio candidate Eddie Daugherty threw a halfback pass for a touchdown to Jason Blizzard to star the scoring for Mentor.
Senior QB Jake Floriea scored on a short run to give the Cards a 14-0 lead at the end of one. After the Spartans got on the board, Mentor put up four touchdowns in the second quarter to put the game out of reach before halftime.
Floriea threw a TD pass to Jerrell Jackson, Daugherty returned a punt for a TD and then caught a pass for a score from Floriea, and Blizzard capped the outburst with a touchdown grab as the Cardinals went up, 41-7, at the break.
"I thought Jake played well and we spread the ball around to a lot of guys. That hopefully will give other teams a lot to think about," Trivisonno said.
Once Mentor was in the lead by more than 30 points, the new OHSAA mercy rule of playing with a running clock was enacted – a rule Trivisonno is not a fan of.
"It cost a lot of kids playing time tonight," Trivisonno said of the new rule.
Alex Mathews put the final points of the night on the board for the Cardinals with a 54-yard TD run in the third quarter.
The game was the first for Mentor since last December's 55-52 loss to Cincinnati Moeller in the Division I state championship.
"For the most part, we did a lot thing I liked, but we have plenty to work on," Trivisonno said. "I thought the guys up front did a nice job most of the night and we got out of the game healthy. It was a good opener."