CLEVELAND -- Nothing seems to spark pride in Northeast Ohio communities more than the success of the sports teams, in particular, when the high school football squad makes a long run in a postseason tournament.

And that pride in the Mentor High School football team spread far and wide as coach Steve Trivisonno and the Cardinals made their way to the OHSAA Division I State Championship Game, including to Chicago where the school's former quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, is starting for the Bears.

“It was awesome,” Trubisky said of Mentor's playoff run in a conference call with the Cleveland media. “I have a little brother on the team, so I was following it pretty closely. My parents went to all of the games. I thought they were going to win it all this year, but unfortunately, they fell short.

“They had a really good season. Love following them -- my little brother, Coach Triv and the rest of the coaches there that believed in me from a young age. It was good to see the hometown Mentor Cardinals go to the state finals.”

Although the Cardinals came up short against Pickerington Central in the state finals, Trubisky wants the current players to understand the kind of pride they sparked within a community that has made several deep runs in the postseason over the last 20 years.

“Just that all of the alumni are proud of them and we just have a lot of pride being from Mentor and what they did and proud of the run they made and the effort they gave,” Trubisky said.

“It is always a great day to be a Mentor Cardinal and support them. Hang your heads high and get ready for next year because we are going to try to make another run at it. All of the alumni and all of us are very proud of them.”

In addition to the support from the community, Trubisky hopes this year's players take the lessons they learned while competing on the field and apply them to life, just as he has with the advice given to him from Coach Trivisonno.

“From a very young age, he always told me to believe in myself and believe in my abilities and what I'm able to do,” Trubisky said. “He said, 'You are always going to have naysayers and people say you can't do this or that,' but he has had my back ever since a very young age, and I think he saw something in me before I saw something in myself. I have always had this dream to get this opportunity. He said just to keep pushing and good things will happen.”