As has been his custom, third-year Grove City Christian football coach Hank Patterson required all of his players to return to the school on the bus following the season finale Nov. 1 at Berne Union.
The Eagles lost to the Rockets 33-2 to finish 3-7 overall and 1-3 in the MSL-Cardinal Division.
Patterson said the bus ride home allows the players to reflect on the game while also looking ahead to the future.
"Everybody stays together," he said. "They took (the game) as an experience."
Quarterback Jayden Hanks completed 12 of 30 passes for 148 yards with two interceptions, and Berne Union limited Grove City Christian to minus-40 yards rushing while rushing for 279 yards.
Landon Godenschwager rushed for 188 yards and a touchdown on 41 carries to lead the Rockets, who finished 5-5 overall.
Patterson said Berne Union's rushing attack didn't surprise him.
"They have size on the line," he said. "The majority of them are seniors and it was senior night, so that led to some things that you have to get ready for."
Patterson and junior Christian Lautenschleger believe the Eagles turned in a stronger effort in the second half, allowing just six points in the fourth quarter after trailing 27-0 at halftime.
"We definitely played better in the second half," Lautenschleger said. "We went out there and most of us did our jobs and did what we were supposed to do because if you do your job and do what you're supposed to, you can stop them every time."
The Eagles finished fourth in the MSL-Cardinal behind Worthington Christian (4-0), Fisher Catholic (3-1) and Berne Union (2-2) and ahead of Fairfield Christian (0-4).
Worthington Christian qualified for the playoffs in Division VI, Region 24 while Fisher Catholic qualified in Division VII, Region 27.
The Eagles finished 18th in Region 27. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
"It's definitely different at the end of the year," Lautenschleger said. "It's one step closer to my senior year. I'll be a senior next year, so it's a whole different experience."