Overnight Wait a Tough One for Mentzer

Bloomington, Ind. – Mick Mentzer felt as if he'd waited long enough. After missing three weeks of practice and Ft. Wayne Bishop Dwenger's season-opening win over Concordia with a hamstring injury, the IU-bound recruit was ready to go for Friday night's intra-city battle...

Bloomington, Ind. – Mick Mentzer felt as if he'd waited long enough.

After missing three weeks of practice and Ft. Wayne Bishop Dwenger's season-opening win over Concordia with a hamstring injury, the IU-bound recruit was ready to go for Friday night's intra-city battle pitting his top-ranked Class 4A squad against Ft. Wayne Harding, the state's top-ranked Class 2A team.

He might have been ready, but the weather was less than accommodating. A week's worth of brutal heat was followed by a wave of storms that forced the postponement of the much-anticipated match-up until Saturday afternoon.

"It was horrible," Mentzer said. "It's all we'd been thinking about all week."

Mentzer and his teammates spent more than two hours in Harding's gymnasium in hopes of waiting out the storm, but they eventually learned they'd have to return the following afternoon. They would eventually make the wait worth while, handling Harding easily, 38-13.

Mentzer helped anchor a Dwenger defense that forced six turnovers from Harding, the defending Class 2A state champs who are led to quarterback/receiver and fellow IU recruit Marquelo Suel.

"We knew they were really athletic and really physical," Mentzer said.

The most athletic of those players is Suel, the 6-2, 170-pounder who was the first player to commit to the Hoosiers' 2008 class. He's expected to play wide receiver at IU, but has started at quarterback in each of Harding's first two games.

"That was our main stop - we had to stop him to win the game," Mentzer said. "If he breaks, he's going to be gone. We had to spy him the whole game."

Once the game was out of control in the second half Harding Coach Sherwood Haydock moved Suel back to receiver, and Mentzer – who plays linebacker - had a near encounter with his future teammate.

"He went to receiver and ran a slant and I went to hit him and he spun on me in the open field, and I was like, ‘gosh, he's athletic,'" Mentzer said. "He left me on my face."

With the big win behind then, Mentzer said his team's focus is on putting together an undefeated season, winning a conference championship and eventually capturing a state championship.

Mentzer will be a big part of that march. The 6-3 ½, 290-pounder plays middle linebacker for his team and is also expected to step back into the starting lineup this week at offensive tackle. Now that he's fully recovered from the hamstring injury, he expects to start on both sides the rest of the way.

That's a welcomed thought for Mentzer, who grew frustrated waiting and watching from the sidelines.

"I can't stand sitting on the sidelines, watching other teams trying to beat up on my players," Mentzer said.

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