The Mendon Hornets had an extremely tall task in front of them in the 8-Man Regionals. The Magi won the title in 2019, and they entered this game at a perfect 10-0 mark. Colon is one of the state’s elite 8-man programs since joining in 2018.
Despite the long odds, Mendon pulled off a stunner. The 46-44 shootout victory gives the Hornets their first Regional Championship since 2017.
Simon Vinson got Colon started with a 25-yard touchdown run. Tucker Lafler added a 1-yard plunge, and within a quarter of action Mendon was blitzed, and trailing 14-0 as a result.
Mendon got on the board in the second frame, as Gabe Haigh was on the recieving end of a Luke Schinker pass that went 78 yards for a score. Evan Lukeman added the conversion run. Colon quickly responded with an 8-yard Vinson run to put Colon back ahead 20-8.
The two teams exchanged touchdowns in the final 90 seconds of the first half. Mendon went first, with Jack McCaw getting his 22nd rushing touchdown on the ground. Lafler added a 1-yard plunge. This gave Colon a 28-14 halftime lead.
Mendon struck first in the third quarter, with an Evan Lukeman touchdown run. They added a quarterback run from Schinker. A pair of two-point conversions allowed the Hornets to secure a 30-28 advantage.
The Colon offensive responded with Vinson’s third rushing TD. This two-yard carry allowed the Magi to jump back ahead, 36-30.
With just under ten minutes to play, Mendon regained the lead. Schinker and Haigh paired up again, as their 10-yard connection, paired with an Evan Lukeman conversion run, gave the Hornets a 2-point lead. Colon would counter, as Blake Vanderstraaten created an explosive 47-yard passing touchdown.
With 3:39 to go, Jack McCaw, who had otherwise been contained, broke free for a score. Mendon would use that score to secure the victory.
The Hornets outgained Colon 442-440. The biggest difference was on the ground, where Mendon won 313-234. Evan Lukeman had 27 carries in this victory, racking up 178 yards. Jack McCaw added 100 yards on 21 carries.
With the win, Mendon is now one victory from reaching the Superior Dome for the 8-Man finals. Standing in their way next week will be the winner of Saturday’s game between Morrice and Au Gres-Sims. If Morrice wins, Mendon will host. If AGS secures the victory, Mendon will hit the road next week.