Making a run to the state finals should be memorable enough for a high school football program.
The Bellevue Redmen, though, have made sure their first-ever run to a state championship game came with amazing comebacks to make things all the more memorable.
“It hasn’t been easy,” Bellevue head coach Ed Nasonti said. “It’s been exciting, maybe too exciting. But we’ve enjoyed the ride so far through these four games.”
Bellevue meets St. Vincent-St. Mary in the Division III state final Saturday morning at 11 at Fawcett Stadium.
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While the Fighting Irish have won all four of their playoff games by at least 26 points, the Redmen have won two of their games in the final minute. A third win — last week’s state semifinal — came thanks to a score with just under two minutes left.
Twice, the Bellevue defense has come up with a late turnover to spark the comeback, including last week’s 35-34 win over Dayton Thurgood Marshall when the Redmen rallied from down 13 in the final 11 minutes.
“When you’re making a run like we are, you have to have some breaks along the way ... and we have gotten some breaks,” Nasonti said. “... If you’re going to win a state title, you need those to get you over the hump.”
Bellevue will have its hands full with a SV-SM team that Nasonti knows is loaded with playmakers.
“I don’t think we’ve run into anybody quite as athletic as these guys,” he said.
But the Redmen are playing with a confidence that continues to grow week after week.
“When you get in the playoffs and you win some games,” Nasonti said, “you start playing with more confidence and we’ve seen that with our kids.”