When Bellevue lost for the first and only time this season, head coach Ed Nasonti told his four captains he wanted to meet with them when the team got back to Bellevue.
The Redmen had entered the Week 6 showdown 5-0 on Sept. 28, but host Tiffin Columbian jumped out to a big early lead in the second quarter and held on for a 35-21 win.
Nasonti's message to his four captains, Jalen Santoro, Dalton Jarvis, Tevin Coley and Matt Dudek, was simple.
"Anybody can be a player and a leader on a team that is winning all the time," Nasonti said. "As a coach, when you are winning, everything is good and everyone is happy. But when you take a loss, you have to make sure you stop any finger pointing that might occur.
"But I talked with those four that night about being leaders and keeping the team together. We learned that night it really hurts to lose."
In the regular season, knowing the fate of the Northern Ohio League title was out of their collective hands, the Redmen never looked back. It rolled by Willard (42-6), Norwalk (48-21), Shelby (44-6) and Sandusky (52-6) to end the regular season.
Four playoff wins later, the Redmen (13-1) play for the Division III state championship vs. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (12-2) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Fawcett Stadium in Canton.
For more information on this story, see Thursday's Sandusky Register.