Napoleon, located 74 miles west of Bellevue, and 28 miles west of Bowling Green, has a city population of 8,749 compared to Bellevue s population of 8,202.
The school district population is also comparable, with 14,467 enrolled at Napoleon to Bellevue’s 13,339. The latest OHSAA enrollment figures show Napoleon with 266 boys in grades 9-11, and Bellevue with 284.
On the football field, the comparisons stay similar.
Napoleon unofficially has 600 all-time wins, which is 13th in Ohio history. Meanwhile, the Redmen check in with 568 wins entering Saturday, which is unofficially 19th all-time in Ohio.
Napoleon features 29 league titles in its program history, while Bellevue has 27 total between the LIttle Big 7 and the Northern Ohio League. The Wildcats are currently in the Northern Lakes League after spending nearly a decade with Sandusky in the defunct Greater Buckeye Conference.
The two teams each finished first and second in the Region 10 computer rankings, with Napoleon checking in with 28.125 points to Bellevue s 23.300 points. Saturday s game will be one of just five regional title games out of 24 across the state this weekend to feature the top two rated teams in each region.
The Redmen are making playoff appearance No. 14 since 1981, while this is No. 11 for Napoleon since 1986. Bellevue has played for four regional titles and won two, while this is Napoleon’s second regional championship appearance. The Wildcats are looking for their first-ever trip to the state semifinals.
Napoleon’s all-time playoff record is 6-10, while Bellevue is 11-13.
At the end of the regular season, Napoleon was voted the Associated Press poll champions for Division III, while Bellevue was in the top 10 all season and finished No. 7.
For those who follow the website capreps.com and its ratings system, it shows an even tighter matchup between the Redmen and Wildcats.
The computer power ratings system is 100 percent objective, and does not factor in past success, league affiliation or location of the school. The site projects for all 15,000-plus high schools in the nation and by season’s end have a roughly 80 percent success rate.
Bellevue has a Calpreps rating of 45.6, which is No. 2 overall in Division III. Napoleon checks in at 43.2, good for fourth in Division III. The Redmen are ranked No. 27 overall in Ohio, while Napoleon is No. 38.
In terms of strength of schedule, Napoleon’s opponents are a combined 66-58-1 for a schedule rating of 19.8. Meanwhile, Bellevue’s opponents are nearly identical, finishing with a 69-58 record and a 20.2 rating.
Meanwhile, a similar website, Drew Pasteur’s Fantastic 50, projects Bellevue with a No. 6 ranking in Division III, compared to No. 11 for Napoleon. Pasteur has Bellevue 59th in Ohio, and Napoleon 71st.
Both Calpreps and Pasteur project Bellevue as a slight 2-point favorite Saturday.