PLAIN, Ohio — Like so many seasons in the past, 2019 ended in heartbreak for the Mentor Cardinals football team.
Yet this ending has an extra layer of sadness tacked onto it, as it is also the end of a long and glorious era.
Mentor fell to Pickerington Central Friday night 28-21 in the Division I state semifinals. The Cardinals hopes for a victory were officially dashed when Ian Kipp's pass on 4th-and-26 landed incomplete with 51 seconds left.
The junior Kipp threw for two touchdowns, both to Kent State commit Luke Floriea. However, in the fourth quarter, he had to be carried off the field with a leg injury and was noticeably limping when he returned for the final drive.
The Tigers were led by the three-headed backfield monster of Demeatric Crenshaw, Lorenzo Styles, and Nick Mosley. All three scored at least once, and Crenshaw's 9-yarder with 1:02 left in the third quarter proved to be the difference as the defense clamped down.
The loss made this the final game in the career of beloved Mentor head coach Steve Trivisonno, who previously announced he would step down at season's end. In 23 years under his leadership, the Cardinals went 209-70, made four D-I state title games, and produced two Mr. Football winners in quarterbacks Bart Tanski and Mitch Trubisky (the latter of whom is now starting for the Chicago Bears).
Yet despite all of his accomplishments, the one thing missing from "Coach Triv's" resume was a state championship, something Mentor football has never won in its history. The closest of his four tries back in 2006, when the Cardinals fell to Hilliard Davidson 36-35 in double overtime.
Still, Trivisonno's tenure gave the Cardinal faithful plenty of wins to remember. One of those came just last week, when Mentor beat St. Edward 36-35 in overtime in what turned out to be Trivisonno's last victory.
Trivisonno has said this is not a retirement, as he would like to pursue coaching opportunities at the college level. Mentor has not yet announced a successor.
Pickerington Central will face Elder out of Cincinnati next Friday at 8 p.m. in Canton for the D-I title.