The locomotive that is Mendon football barreled through Centreville Friday for a 48-0 victory, setting up a showdown with White Pigeon next week for the final St. Joseph Valley League championship.
Improving to 6-0 overall, 2-0 in league play and stamping their playoff passport, the Hornets put 35 points on the board in the first quarter and entered halftime with a 48-0 lead. Head coach John Schwartz, whose squad is ranked No. 2 in Division 8, called off the dogs in the second half and subbed in his reserves.
Senior Kaleb McCarroll, still adjusting to life in the offensive backfield after lining up at tight end the first couple weeks, rushed for 38 yards on four carries (including a 10-yard touchdown scamper), returned the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown and caught a 55-yard pass from junior quarterback Jordan Medich for a score. He added an interception later in the contest.
Medich broke loose on a 62-yard scamper to the end zone and senior running back Danny Cleveland found pay dirt from 27 yards out to finish a first-quarter scoring blitz. Cleveland finished with 77 yards on eight takes, Medish registered 83 rushing yards, junior Brandon Bray rolled up 77 on eight carries and junior Elijah Klepper posted 34 on three runs.
Cleveland added a 35-yard TD and Bray added a 24-yarder in the second quarter to finish off the Bulldogs on their homecoming.
“We asked our kids to come out and play hard,” Schwartz said. “We knew that Centreville wasn’t that strong, but we’re not going to get any better if we just go out there and go through the motions. Through the first quarter [our guys] played hard. We did a lot of stuff and moved some kids around. It was a good experience for a lot of kids that don’t normally get to play. I think we got better.”
Mendon converted 12 first downs compared to Centreville’s five, and the Hornets wracked up 310 rushing yards. Mendon’s defense held the Bulldogs to just 57 yards of total offense.
Centreville (1-4, 0-2 SJV) quarterback Zach Teadt completed 5 of 14 passing attempts for 30 yards. Demarco Taylor caught three balls for 20 yards and Zach Bauman led the team with 10 tackles.
Schwartz was pleased with McCarroll’s effort in limited action, as well as how backup linemen Carson Ahrens and Matt Frisbie.
“He’s playing better every week,” Schwartz said of McCarroll. “[Ahrens] did a good job on both [lines]. [Frisbie] doesn’t normally see a lot of playing time. But both of those guys played three-quarters of the game. Matt was at guard and Carson was at center. We’ve been getting [Carson] in every game, and if we get a lineman hurt, he’ll be the first guy we go to.”
Derek Zagon paced the Hornets with 13 tackles and a fumble recovery. Josh Hawkins and Robert Riley added seven stops apiece, Cleveland finished with six and Hunter Stienbarger was credited with five tackles.