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Redmen run stopped in semifinal

After an incredible dual team tournament run, Bellevue’s journey came to an end on Sunday.

The Redmen fell, 51-22 to No. 1 Louisville in the Division II state semifinals at St. John Arena on the campus of the Ohio State University.

In the quarterfinals, Bellevue topped fellow Sandusky Bay Conference Lake division member, Perkins, 43-24.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Bellevue coach Brett Adkins said. “Everybody wrestled the way they needed to. That is what we needed.”

Billy Smith won by forfeit for Perkins at 106 pounds, but the Redmen won the next six matches, starting with a Gabe Alda 10-2 major decision over Will Blevins at 113. From there, Jayden Mayes defeated Max Opezadek, 3-2 at 120 and Noah Alda topped Mack Hermes at 126, 4-1. Caiden Walters pinned Keegan Schoen in 39 seconds at 132 and Justin Smythe took down J.D. Thom, 6-2 at 138. Freshman Max Ray wrapped up the run when he pinned Zach Morehart at 145 for a 25-6 lead.

“Some of them we were confident we would win,” Adkins said. “Some of them we thought could go either way. We won the ones we were worried about.”

Perkins coach Travis Crabtree said the Redmen hit his team in the mouth, but Perkins, which lost in the state semifinals last year, did not respond.

“The saying goes that in crunch time, kids revert back to their old habits,” the 19th-year coach said. “Bellevue came right at our face and when it was time to get tough, we did not get tough. They won every 50-50 position. We tip our hat to them.”

The Pirates got a little momentum back as Logan Catri took down Cody Kile at 152 and Cole Weatherly topped Jared Weider at 160, both by 7-2 decision scores.

“Logan and Cole both went out and wrestled like they should have – like the rest of the team should have,” Crabtree said. “We were ready condition-wise. We were ready skill-wise, but mindset – we have some things to work on for the next couple weeks.”

But as quickly as Perkins came, it went. Collin Corapi pinned Devandre Henry in 3:55 at 170 and Justin Mayes made quick work of Zach Zoellner in 11 seconds to seal the win.

“Once Collin got that pin, we relaxed a little bit,” Adkins said. “When Justin got his pin, it locked it in that we could not lose.”

Tai Carter (195) picked up a win in 5:34 and Sam McNulty had a pin in 1:15 to wrap up the day for the Pirates.

“A loss is a loss,” Crabtree said. “When you lose six matches in a row, it takes some momentum. When Bellevue got it, we did not have anybody to stop it. You need a momentum stopper.”

Against Louisville, Bellevue fell behind, 12-0 before Jayden Mayes grinded out a 11-9 decision win for the Redmen at 120 pounds.

“We knew we were probably out-gunned against them,” Adkins said. “They had two returning state qualifiers and have quite a few ranked guys.”

From there, the Leopards tallied three consecutive pins over Bellevue to take a 30-3 lead after the match at 138 pounds. Ray bounced back to score a 9-4 decision, but Louisville won the next three matches to extend the lead to 45-6.

“Max has done really well for us,” Adkins said. “He has been out for a long while, so it has been nice to get him back recently.”

Justin Mayes scored a 14-6 major decision for the Redmen before Aiden Nunez and Dylan Adkins took forfeit wins for Bellevue, but it was too little, too late.

“I could sense a little of the nerves in the first couple kids,” said Adkins of the new experience. “After that, I did not sense it so after the first couple of matches, the kids started wrestling the way they can.”

The Redmen had never even been past the regional semifinal round before this season.

“It was fun,” Adkins said. “The kids had fun and they were excited. We thought we had a good chance to beat Perkins and knew we would have a tough second round match.”

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