It's beyond storybook scripts now.
Down 33-20 with a little more than 10 minutes left in Saturday's Division III state semifinal vs. Dayton Thurgood Marshall, the Bellevue football team stormed back with a pair of touchdowns to stun the Cougars with a 34-33 win at Selby Stadium on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University.
The No. 4 Redmen (13-1) advance to the state championship game for the first time in program history, where it will take on No. 9 Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (12-2) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Canton's Fawcett Stadium.
Bellevue has trailed late in three of its four playoff wins entering the title game, twice rallying in the final two minutes.
"It's great. I'm really happy for our community," Bellevue coach Ed Nasonti said. "The kids and coaches have worked hard. We haven't taken a day off since July 3, and it looks like we're going to have another week."
Tied at 20-20 at halftime, Thurgood Marshall (12-2) used an impressive third quarter that saw them run 24 plays to Bellevue's two. The Cougars took a 26-20 lead on a 32-yard run by Vayante Copeland with 5:50 left in the third quarter.
The conversion run failed, and it looked like Bellevue was going to come right back with a score of its own. A 27-yard kick return and a 15-yard personal foul on the Cougars put the ball on the Thurgood 38.
Then the Cougars jumped offsides, and before running a play Bellevue was at the Marshall 33. However, two plays later while making a cut, the ball was knocked loose from quarterback Jalen Santoro's hands and the Cougars recovered at the 28.
Thurgood proceeded to drive the 72 yards in 12 plays, capped by a 4-yard Denzell Norvell with 11:37 left in the game. Antonio Camberos' PAT made it a 33-20 lead.
But the Redmen were quick to answer.
Four plays into the ensuing drive, Santoro found a lane up the left sideline and did the rest on a 51-yard touchdown run with 10:17 left. Jake Strayer's PAT cut the margin to 33-27.
Hope began to dwindle as Thurgood went for it on fourth-and-2 from its 30 and converted on a 4-yard run by Copeland.
But two plays later, quarterback Jamahl Manley got loose for a 16-yard run, but fumbled the ball and Bellevue's Matt Dudek recovered at the Bellevue 40.
It was Bellevue's turn to respond with a lengthy drive, as it marched 60 yards in 13 plays, taking off 5:11 off the clock in the process. Santoro found Derek Smith for a 15-yard gain on a key third-and-7 to the 12-yard line, and four plays later was faced with a fourth-and-2 at the 4.
Santoro cut to his left and dove across the 2, but it wasn't until a measurement confirmed a first-and-goal for the Redmen.
Two plays later, Santoro went in standing up to his left for a 1-yard TD run with 1:57 left, and Strayer converted the all-important PAT for a 34-33 lead.
For more information on this story, see Sunday's Sandusky Register.