Nov. 6—There's a common phrase that suggests, "familiarity breeds contempt."
That's certainly not the case for the Mentor football team, which for the third week in a row will play in a Division I, Region 1 playoff game against a team that the Cardinals faced in the regular season.
Third-seeded Mentor (8-3) will play second-seeded Medina (11-1) in a regional semifinal on Friday, Nov. 11 at Twinsburg Tiger Stadium. It's a rematch of a Sept. 30 game won by the Bees, 52-38.
Last week, Mentor defeated Canton McKinley, 19-14, in a rematch of the Cardinals' Week 1, 34-21 victory over the Bulldogs. And in the opening round of the playoffs, Mentor beat Brunswick, 35-14, in a rematch of a Sept. 23 game that saw the Cardinals beat the Blue Devils by the identical score.
"Not only is this the third week in a row that we've played an opponent for the second time this season, but this is also the fifth time in the last three years we've played Medina," Mentor coach Matt Gray said. "We know them, they know us. You want to build a game plan on what you do well, stay true to what you are as a team, and find some new things to go against what they do."
The first meeting with Medina was an offensive slugfest, with Medina quarterback Dan Stoddard throwing for six touchdowns and Mentor quarterback Scotty Fox throwing for five. But two interceptions and two lost fumbles stung the Cardinals.
"One, you can't turn the ball over four times," Gray said. "That was huge. Those changed the course of the game. You can't turn the ball over to a team with an explosive offense like that and expect to win the game."
In the win over Canton McKinley, Fox threw for 243 yards, Jacob Snow ran for a score and Nick Jares had five catches for 70 yards as the Cardinals got the comeback win on the last drive of the game.
"We're in a good place right now and we're going to continue to work hard," Gray said of his team. "It's going to be an exciting matchup this week."
Aside from Mentor playing Medina at Twinsburg on Nov. 11, other area matchups in regional semifinal games are:
—Second-seeded Riverside (11-1) vs. third-seeded Hudson (12-0) in a Division II, Region 5 game at Maple Heights on Friday, Nov. 11.
—Top-seeded Chardon (10-1) playing 13th-seeded Kenston (9-3) in a Division III, Region 9 game at Youngstown Boardman on Friday, Nov. 11.
—Third-seeded Perry (10-2) playing second-seeded Sugarcreek Garaway (12-0) in a Division V, Region 17 game at Solon on Friday, Nov. 11.
—Top-seeded Kirtland (12-0) playing fourth-seeded Dalton (10-2) in a Division VI, Region 21 game at Nordonia on Saturday, Nov. 12.
If there's a coach in the area who knows more about the playoff field from The News-Herald, it's Riverside coach Dave Bors. Of the remaining teams (besides his own), Bors' Beavers have played four of them
Riverside has defeated Perry (35-7 in Week 1), Chardon (21-7 in Week 4) and Kenston (42-25 in Week 9). The Beavers also lost a narrow 7-6 game to Mentor in Week 2 The only remaining playoff team from the area that Riverside didn't play this year is Kirtland.
"We're fortunate to play in a good conference. That helps," Bors said of games with Chardon and Kenston. "Then we were able to schedule some non-conference games against Perry, Mentor and Aurora.
"There's a reason we created the schedule that we did. The vision was this, where we are right now. We've been in plenty of big games and seen some very, very good opponents."
Another such foe was Martinsburg (W.Va.), whom Riverside defeated, 36-35, in Week 8.
"Hudson is legit," Bors said of this week's foe. "They're very very good. We've got our work cut out for us."