MENTOR — Even Mother Nature seemed to be working against Brunswick in its 42-0 loss to Mentor in a Division I, Region 1 quarterfinal Saturday.
The Blue Devils (6-5) moved into the red zone for the first and only time late in the third quarter when Steven Ficyk hit Gary Clift for a 37-yard completion to the Mentor 10-yard line.
Then out of nowhere, a brief but heavy rainstorm hit the turf at Jerome T. Osbourne field.
After four plays in the downpour ended with an incompletion by Ficyk (15-for-29 passing, 182 yards), the Cardinals took over on downs at their own 3.
Coincidentally, the rain stopped as Mentor (10-1) took over.
Brunswick forced a three-and-out and started its next drive at the Mentor 27 after a 5-yard return by David Kelty.
Once again the rain came back and Ficyk missed on four passes to turn the ball back over to the Cardinals as the rain stopped again.
“This morning we had a team breakfast and the whole time we were telling ghost stories and stuff like that,” Mentor quarterback Conner Krizancic said. “So I think it was a little bit of a sign and it tried to stop them a little bit.”
It wasn’t as if Mentor needed the freak rainstorm because the game was already well in hand as the smooth–throwing Krizancic and his first-team offense had already retired to the bench after putting in another stellar performance.
“Mentor just played really well tonight,” Brunswick coach Luke Beal said. “We just didn’t have an answer on either side of the ball. The thing that really sealed it for them was that they just controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.”
Krizancic, a Cincinnati recruit, was the catalyst once again for his high-powered offense, leading five first-half touchdown drives.
Krizancic, who started the game with 11 straight completions, had a hand in all six Mentor scores. He hit 14-of-21 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns to go with 97 yards and three more scores on 10 before sitting down.
“I think it’s all on the O-line,” Krizancic said. “I say that every week, but they just keep playing great. The best thing about them is that no matter how good they play, they know they can play better and they get frustrated. I try to calm them down, but they just keep playing better.”
Brandon Fritts (5 receptions, 73 yards, 2 TDs) and Corey Plavcan (3, 61, 1) each pulled in Krizancic touchdown passes as Mentor racked up 409 yards offense.
While the Cardinals’ offense usually snatches all the headlines, the defense put in its second dominating performance of the season against the Blue Devils.
Mentor dropped Brunswick 45-3 on Oct. 11th, but was even more dominant in the second matchup.
After giving up 133 yards on the ground earlier in the year, Mentor held the Blue Devils to negative-25 yards and sacked Ficyk five times.
“You have got to be able to move the ball against Mentor offensively,” Beal said. “You’ve got to be able to get first downs and you’ve got to be able to keep their offense off the field. We just weren’t able to do that. It seemed like nothing was gelling offensively at any point. We weren’t able to throw the football, we had constant pressure and we couldn’t run the football. That’s a recipe for disaster against this team.”
Trevor Morrison helped the Cardinals to their fourth shutout of the season with six tackles, a sack and an interception on a screen pass that he returned to the Brunswick 6 to set a touchdown.
“We were great the first time, too,” Morrison said. “We just looked really good tonight, and we’re just going to prepare for the next team and practice. But we are definitely happy with our performance today.”
Contact Chad Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org.