Mendon’s football team rolls into Week 3 ranked No. 3 in the Division 8 Associated Press poll and hosts Edgerton (Ohio) tonight at 7 p.m. Hornets coach John Schwartz, per usual, had had blinders on this week as his squad prepared for the fourth meeting in this interstate series.
“As far as the rankings, we never pay attention to those,” Schwartz said Friday morning. “The kids have never mentioned it. I don’t even know … what are we ranked? Third? I didn’t know that. We’re always ranked up there somewhere just with our reputation.”
Edgerton (0-2), located in the northwest corner of Ohio, beat Mendon 48-27 in the first meeting back in 2010. Since then, the Hornets have outscored the Bulldogs 100-34.
Mendon junior quarterback Jordan Medich took a shot to the head in the second quarter against Cassopolis and didn’t return. He took it easy in practice this week and is expected to play tonight.
“We felt he could have [played in the second half], but we weren’t going to do that,” Schwartz said. “We were just kind of babying him and being very careful with him this week to make sure everything is okay. Head [injuries] scare you.”
Junior tailback/linebacker Elijah Klepper suffered a deep thigh bruise last Friday and Schwartz expects a medical update today.
“We have just been real careful with him this week and kept him out of a lot of things we were doing,” Schwartz explained. “We’ll find out today exactly where he’s at. Those are two pretty key kids.”
A quartet of players dealt with severe cramps last week.
“The kids say they’re not drinking pop, and drinking lots of water and Gatorade,” Schwartz said. “You can have an ankle taped a little too tight and it’s not getting the blood flow it needs and you can end up with a cramp, too.”
Record temperatures earlier this week have given way to more typical fall conditions. The reported temperature expected at kickoff is 60 degrees. The Hornets, like every other program, had to manage the heat, which in some cases meant skipping items on the checklist.
“We have two or three kids that just don’t deal well with the heat,” Schwartz explained. “Practices for them are kind of nonchalant and you have a hard time keeping them concentrated on what’s going on. They’ll probably be more alert tonight, provided they didn’t miss too much during the week. That was our No. 1 concern this week: let’s make sure we don’t do something stupid and lose some kids here.
“This week has been weird. With the heat, over half of our practices have been without pads just to battle the heat. The day when we had decent weather on Wednesday, the storms hit. We ended up in the dugout for 45 minutes waiting for it to clear up. There wasn’t a lot of hitting. [Thursday] the weather was pretty decent and we got some things done. We probably hit a little more than we do normally on a Thursday. We’re starting to throw the ball a little bit better.”
An emphasis has been placed on airing the ball out more. Mendon has attempted just seven passes through two games, a number too low in Schwartz’s mind, though he’s aware it will take time with a new QB.
“Our offensive line has played pretty well so far,” Schwartz said. “I think we just need to get better from week to week. Our aggressiveness on defense has been real good. What we need to work harder on is probably our passing game. We need to start throwing the ball more. When we get the right matchup, we’ll find out what we really need to improve on.”
The Hornets threw 99 times (56 completions) for 1,109 yards in 2012.
Ohio doesn’t allow coaches to scout opponents; Michigan does. So the two schools agreed years ago that the teams would play by the home team’s rules each season. Mendon could have sent someone to check out the Bulldogs, but the quality of film provided by Edgerton made that unnecessary, Schwartz said.
Plus, the Hornets already know what their opponent wants to do; it’s a similar offensive attack as the one they see every day in practice.
“They like to spread the ball and throw it,” Schwartz said. “When they’re in the ‘I’ they kind of run our offense and do what we do. They’ll run a lot of various formations and get receivers open. You have to be on top of your game. We know how to attack what they’re doing to make those plays work.”