Last season, a strong Comets football team fought valiantly but fell short to Mentor in a stunning playoff game.
This year, both Solon and Mentor have regrouped. And while some of the star players remain, these two teams are different heading into Friday night's Valley Division showdown than they were a year ago while retaining some core players.
Mentor is 5-1 behind the strong and accurate arm of quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who is connecting often with standout receiver Brandon Fritts.
Solon is 4-2 but has struggled at times due to injury and inconsistent play. But there are still playmakers on this team, including Darian Hicks, Drew Barksdale, Khoury Crenshaw and George Berry, who has had to do it all while the team dealt with an injured Barksdale.
To Solon Coach Jim McQuaide, improvement is key, and Friday's game is a big one if the Comets want to meet their goal of a division title.
"We’ve worked hard and have seen some good results the last two weeks," he said. “The next step to our fourth Valley Division title will be Friday and our improvement this week in practice will be key."
The Comets and the Cardinals have one of the best recent rivalries in Ohio high school football, and right now the Cardinals have the edge. The teams have met three times in the playoffs since 2006, and Mentor has won all of them, including last year's stunning 42-40 game that ended Solon's season.
Solon's last win over Mentor was 31-21 in 2010.
The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Mentor's Jerome Osborne Stadium.
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