PARMA, Ohio — It was billed as another classic battle between two historic heavyweights, and it certainly turned into that in the fourth quarter,
St. Ignatius beat Mentor 35-32 Friday night in WKYC.com's first High School Football Playoff Game of the Week of the 2021 season. The Wildcats had to withstand a late rally, with the Cardinals scoring 22 points in the fourth quarter and nearly recovering an onside kick.
Quarterback Joey Pfaff steadily led the Ignatius offense with 131 yards and two touchdowns, but had to leave the game late in the fourth quarter with an injury. Thankfully, the Wildcats (7-4) had a stable of running backs to keep the ball moving, with Marty Lenehan and Joey Georges combining for 248 yards and two TDs while Charles Dunstan added another score.
Evan Harper had 147 yards of total offense and a 66-yard touchdown to put Mentor (5-6) ahead 10-7 in the second quarter, but Ignatius broke through for 28 unanswered points and opened up a 35-10 lead heading into the fourth. However, the Cardinals refused to quit, storming back to cut the deficit to three thanks to two more Harper TDs and a strike to Michael Harwood from Jacob Snow. The junior QB withstood a rough first half and even a delay caused by a power outage to throw for 356 yards.
Mentor had a chance to get one more possession, but just missed recovering Matt Moegling onside kick. The Wildcats were subsequently able to pick up one more first down and ice the game away.
Already having clinched its best record in three years, sixth-seeded St. Ignatius will travel to Summit County next week to face No. 3 Stow-Munroe Falls in the second round of the Division I playoffs. Mentor's season ends with its first losing campaign in more than two decades.
You can re-listen to Dave "Dino" DeNatale's call of the game in the player below, or scroll down for more scores from around the area:
In addition, while our viewers can no longer vote for our Game of the Week for the rest of the year, they can vote for the top performer of the previous weekend's games, with one participant still winning a free meal from Chick-fil-A! For the final week of the regular season, the winner is Streetsboro wide receiver Preston Hopperton, who hauled in 174 yards and two touchdowns (both from his brother) in the Rockets' 58-0 win over Springfield.