CUYAHOGA HEIGHTS -- The Bellaire Big Reds had walked a fine line this season with the amount of close games it had won this season.
Unfortunately, the Big Reds found themselves on the short end of the stick Saturday night in the Division V, Region 17 quarterfinal against Cuyahoga Heights.
The Redskins advanced to the second round of the tournament by virtue of a 42-14 victory and ended the Big Reds' season with a solid 8-3 mark.
BELLAIRE SENIORS Dalton Conroy (72) and Nick Maffe hug each other as the final seconds tick off the clock Saturday night in Cuyahoga Heights. The Big Reds ended their season with a 42-14 playoff loss.
"We have to be proud of what we accomplished," said Bellaire head coach Jose Davis. "The kids have short memories and they'll bounce back from tonight and see what we did accomplish this season."
THe Big Reds' playoff appearance was the first for the school in six years and Davis believes the slow start can be placed on that factor.
"We looked like early like a team that's not been in the playoffs for a while," Davis said. "We had some butterflies, but I was definitely proud of how we never quit."Cuyahoga Heights is preparing to deal with Youngstown Ursuline next Saturday at a site to be announced today by the OHSAA.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Redskins exploded for three second half touchdowns for a 21-0 lead at the intermission.
They built that lead by capitalizing on three Big Reds' interceptions. Bellaire's offense was dealt a tough blow in the first quarter when junior quarterback Spencer Badia went down to the turf in pain with an apparent leg injury.
He did return to the field in a gutsy performance, but was basically playing on one leg. He surpassed the 3,000-yard mark for the season passing, finishing with 3,001.
For the game, Badia finished with 243 yards on 17-of-23 accuracy. He did throw the three interceptions.
Senior Nick Patrone went over the 1,000-yard mark receiving with 7 catches for 137 yards.
Senior Nick Maffe finished his brilliant final season with two touchdown runs and 38 yards on 14 carries.
He scored both of his touchdowns in the fourth quarter. His first was followed by an attempted on-side kick, which failed and all but sealed the deal for the Redskins, who ran for 247 yards and passed for 100 yards thanks to talented senior quarterback Jordan Martin. He finished with 16 rushes for 77 yards and a touchdown.
"We knew he was a good player and we knew they were very aggressive on defense," Davis said. "We battled to the end, but we just couldn't get enough stops."