By Dan Murphy
Special to JoeInsider.com
CASSOPOLIS — Mendon (2-0) kept rolling during the second week of the regular season, sweeping through Cassopolis (1-1) with a 53-7 win over the Rangers Friday night at William F. Scott Field.
Mendon scored on all six of its first-half possessions. With less two minutes remaining in the second quarter, Mendon junior Mitchell Coler burst through a trio of Cassopolis tacklers at the 10-yard line, sending a blue-and-white helmet sailing through the air, and pushed his way across the goal line for his second score of the night.
Two players earlier Coler set himself up for the score with a 4th-and-1 conversion. He broke through the line for a 14-yard gain, ruining the home team’s best chance for a defensive stop in the half. The message was clear. For the second week in a row, Coler and the Hornets couldn’t be stopped.
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“He’s getting better every week,” Mendon head coach John Schwartz said about his leading rusher. “He had a better week in practice and it showed here. That kid can scoot.”
Coler headlined a scoring attack that had six different players reach the end zone and picked up 317 total yards despite playing the second half with a running clock. The junior finished his day with 119 rushing yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns.
At one point, Coler scored on back-to-back touches. His 10-yard touchdown run before the half put him over 100 yards. Then he started the third quarter by returning the opening kick 99 yards for his third score of the day.
“I saw the ball coming and just saw my wall,” he said. “I froze up for a second and then followed my teammates. It was fun. I just saw open field and I took it.”
A strong effort on special teams and defense helped put the game out of reach by halftime. Junior Parker Cupp returned a punt 51 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to put the Hornets up 33-0.
Cassopolis coughed up a fumble on its own 10-yard line in the first quarter, which set up another quick score for Mendon. Quarterback Jordan Medich connected with wideout Robert Riley two plays after the turnover on a six-yard slant route in the end zone.
Medich, who made his second career start under center Friday night, completed three of the four passes he attempted before leaving the game with a stinger in the second quarter. Schwartz said after the game that Medich could have returned if needed, but he decided to play it safe with the sizable lead.
“We don’t take chances with that,” Schwartz said. “He’s young. He’s not playing defense right now, he’s just at quarterback so we’re trying to let him concentrate on that.”
Cassopolis quarterback VaShaun Morgan accounted for most of the Rangers’ offense Friday night. He picked up the team’s first down on an option keeper early in the third quarter and then drove the team on a 10-play, 60-yard drive for its lone score of the day.
Morgan tossed a 22-yard fade route behind the defense to senior Trevon Brown midway through the third quarter. Mendon’s Elijah Klepper answered with a 41-yard dash through the middle of the field on the follow drive to bring the score to 53-7. Mendon pulled into the red zone twice in the fourth quarter, but opted to kick field goals on a first down and a third down to get some special teams works. Both attempts missed to the left.
Brown’s touchdown reception ended a shutout streak that lasted six-plus quarters for the Hornets defense. Mendon beat Fowler, its opponent in the 2011 Division 8 title game, 40-0 last Friday to open the regular season.
“Maybe we can get a few more shutouts here soon,” said first-year defensive coordinator Bobby Kretschman, who was all-state linebacker for the Hornets 2005 championship team. “That’s our goal each week. The kids get pizza if we get a shutout, so usually they’re looking forward to getting shutouts.”
Senior Kaleb McCarroll, a relative newcomer to the Mendon program, led the effort on that side of the ball Friday. He finished the game with four tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception. He also had the biggest hit of the night while covering a kick return.
Mendon returns home next week for back-to-back games hosting teams from outside of Michigan. The Hornets play a team from Edgerton, Ohio, next Friday and follow that up with a visit from Wallace High School from Gary, Ind.
“We’re going to get better after this game,” Schwartz said. “The score doesn’t indicate it, but we made a lot of mistakes and we’ll see it on film and get squared away.”