LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Although it may not heal all wounds, Mentor was able to exact a small measure of revenge on the team that bounced them from last year's Division I state playoffs.
The Cardinals edged out defending state champion St. Edward 29-28 Thursday night at Byers Field in what was the biggest game of the opening night of the high school football season. Junior quarterback Ian Kipp, arguably the best at his position in Northeast Ohio, provided the winning score from three yards out with 2:23 left.
The Eagles had a chance to retake the lead, but Conor O'Malley threw an interception at the Mentor 40-yard line. The Cardinals ran out the clock from there.
Besides the winning run, Kipp also threw a touchdown to Boston College commit Luke Floriea. Brian Trobel added two scores on the ground.
St. Edward actually led 28-21 heading into the fourth quarter, thanks to four total TDs by O'Malley. However, after forcing a Mentor turnover by the goal line, a snap over the punter's head led to a safety, and the Eagle offense struggled to move the ball prior to Kipp's decisive run.
The matchup slightly mirrors last season, when the Cardinals opened the year with a 42-39 win over the Eagles at Jerome T. Osborne Senior Stadium. In the end, though, it was St. Edward who would get the last laugh, when it upset Mentor 24-14 in the regional final on its way to its fourth state crown.
This is the ninth straight season-opening win for Mentor and head coach Steve Trivisonno, who will be stepping down after this season (his 23rd at the school). The last loss came, ironically, against eventual unbeaten state champion St. Edward back in 2010.