Heidelberg players and coach Mike Hallett sat at the table and took questions.
The looks on the faces of linebacker Craig Sykes, defensive back Justin Suddeth and tight end Derek Hug told the story, easier than any words could.
About an hour earlier, the moods were different. Heidelberg led Wittenberg by scores of 21-3, 28-6, and a halftime edge of 31-13.
Then the lead, the game, the season slipped away.
Behind quarterback Reed Florence and the benefit of some costly HU turnovers, the Tigers stormed back, at one point scoring 32 straight points against an exhausted Heidelberg defense to take a 45-31 fourth quarter lead.
The Student Princes got within 45-38 on a Bryan Lacey touchdown run with six minutes left, and the HU defense forced a stop. But another Heidelberg turnover - Heath Eby intercepted Mees on a fourth down and returned it 60 yards to the end zone - spelled the end for the Princes. Wittenberg won 52-38 and advanced to the second round of the Division III playoffs.
Mees was intercepted once more before the game ended, and HU finished with five turnovers.
"Unfortunately, a little bit of our inexperience in these games showed up, and some turnovers really made the biggest difference in the game," Hallett said. "It's tough to lose a turnover battle and win football games."
Heidelberg was making its first playoff appearance since the creation of Division III. Wittenberg was making its fourth appearance in the last six years.
Wittenberg dominated the second half, outscoring the Student Princes 39-7. The Tigers had the ball for more than 20 minutes of that stretch, as Heidelberg managed just one first down on its first three possessions and fumbled the ball away on two others.
The Tigers managed to cut Heidelberg's lead from 31-13 to 31-23 on a Sean Williams field goal and a 7-yard touchdown pass from Florence to Brenden Cunningham.
After a Heidelberg punt, Wittenberg took over at its 33, seemingly with all the momentum.
Then the Student Princes caught a break.
A bad snap got past Florence. The quarterback eventually fell on the ball, but lost 15 yards. A false start penalty and a Ben Poirier sack set up a third-and-33 for the first play of the fourth quarter.
"I knew Desi (Kirkman, Wittenberg receiver) had one-on-one with the middle safety," Florence said. "Desi did a great job running his corner-post, broke the guy off, and made a great catch."
Florence hung in the pocket and found Kirkman. The receiver caught the ball a few yards behind the first down marker, but pushed forward for a 35-yard gain and a first down at the HU 42.
"It was pretty much the line," Kirkman said. "I just catch the ball. Line has to protect, Reed has to throw the ball."
Kirkman finished the game with 10 catches for 104 yards.
Heidelberg linebacker Craig Sykes, playing in his final game, was near the line of scrimmage when the pass occurred.
"It's huge yardage for them to get," he said. "You're not happy about it, but it's just one of those things where you've got to make the next play."
Two plays later, on a third-and-8, Florence drifted away from pressure and lifted a pass toward the left sideline, where Jonathan Stoner was wide open. Stoner caught the ball and went into the end zone untouched. A Florence toss to Brenden Cunningham on the two-point conversion tied the game at 31 with 13:55 left.
On the ensuing kickoff, Wittenberg squibbed the ball, as it had for much of the day. Heidelberg's Austin Bentz couldn't come up with the ball, and it went forward, where the Tigers' Erick Collins recovered at the HU 32.
It was Heidelberg's third fumble on a kick return. The Princes recovered one of the three.
"We had a hard time fielding squib kicks," Hallett said. "I can't really explain that; we work on it all the time, but we struggled with that. More than anything, it was just young guys being in a position they'd never been in before."
Wittenberg coach Joe Fincham said he went to the squib kick after seeing Heidelberg have some good returns at the beginning of the game.
"When we kicked it deep, they were running across midfield," Fincham said. "It was ... junior high football adjustment 101."
Seven plays later, Florence threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kirkman, giving the Tigers a 38-31 lead with 10:45 left.
On Heidelberg's next offensive play, Lacey carried the ball 9 yards, but fumbled and Wittenberg's Jon Daniels recovered at the HU 40.
That led to another touchdown pass from Florence to Cunningham, as Wittenberg went up 14 points with 7:35 left.
Florence put up monster numbers in the win, throwing for 346 yards, five touchdowns and one interception, a second quarter end zone pick by Heidelberg's Chase Bauer.
Florence also was Wittenberg's leading rusher, as he rumbled for 66 yards on 11 carries. He said his team never lost its poise, even down 22 in the first half.
"We knew we could score," he said. "We just had to keep battling."
Cunningham had eight catches for 94 yards and three touchdowns.
"I have to make plays," Cunningham said. "It's just not me. The receivers have to make plays, the running backs have to make plays. We just lean on each other."
Derek Hug was Heidelberg's leading receiver, with five catches for 94 yards. Three of those catches went for first half touchdowns.
Hug gave credit to the offensive line and to Mees, who threw for 248 yards.
"If you don't have great balls [to catch], or great line protection, I can't do anything out there," he said.
Lacey, again starting in place of Cartel Brooks, ran for 151 yards. Brooks, who missed last week's game with an injury, entered the game and got three third-quarter carries that netted no gain.
Heidelberg ended its season 10-1. Wittenberg advances to play Hobart next week.