The state playoffs are becoming familiar territory for coach Bob Mihalik and the Aurora Greenmen. The last 8 years, they have found themselves part of the post season. Last season, the Greenmen went all the way to the state semi-final before falling to Avon.
This season, the Greenmen are back. They will take on powerful Toledo Central Catholic tonight at 7p.m at Huron Memorial Stadium. Many believe that Aurora is the underdog in tonight's game. Many believe that Aurora will face a great amount of adversity dealing with the Irish.
If there is one thing that Aurora knows, it's dealing with adversity
One year ago, Thanksgiving Day 2011, sophomore lineman Paul McGhee was killed in a single car accident at approximately 1:20pm. The football team had just practiced that morning. It was also on the eve of their state semi-final game against Avon the next day. The players gathered together and decided to play the game.
This season, with McGhee's number "57" stuck to their helmets, the Greenmen have used McGhee as an inspiration as they try to advance to the Division II state championship, and win their second state crown.
Meet the Greenmen.... Aurora does things the old fashioned way. They run the football, and stop the run. Led my the three headed running monster of quarterback George Bollas, and running backs Zach Quinn and Jake McVay, the Greenmen want to play "smash mouth" football. Both Quinn and McVay have rushed for over 1000 yards on the season, and both are starters on the defensive side of the ball. Quinn has given his verbal committment to play for the University of Toledo next season. It was Bollas who was the star in Aurora's 34-14 win last week against Chardon. The junior quarterback ran the ball 14 times for 251 yards and 4 touchdowns. Defensively, the Greenmen are led by Miami of Ohio recruit Nate Smierciak. The defensive end/linebacker has helped Aurora slow down the powerful offenses of New Philadelphia, Kent Roosevelt, and Chardon during the Greenmen's post season run. He leads the Greenmen with over 100 tackles and five interceptions. It's this old school approach that have Aurora fans hoping for a repeat of the 2008 season, when the Greenmen won their only state championship.
He and his teammates will have to be at their best to slow down the powerful offense of Toledo Central Catholic
The Irish of Toledo Central Catholic have been an offensive machine through the first 13 games of the season. Outside of a 42-0 loss to Division I state semi-finalist Toledo Whitmer, the Irish have lit up the scoreboard. The fewest points they have scored in a game has been 35. They have gone over 40 points eleven times, and over 60 points twice. They have rolled through their three playoff opponets, outscoring Midview, Mansfield Madison, and Avon by a combined score of 137-28. The school will be aiming for their first state championship since 2005, when current Chicago Bears receiver, and former Ohio State receiver Dane Sanzenbacher led the Irish. In their 42-14 win over Avon last week, junior quarterback DeShone Kizer ran for 77 yards, and threw for 108 and a touchdown. Running back Amir Edwards ran for 134 yards and three touchdowns, bringing his season rushing totals to over 1500 yards and 27 touchdowns. The Irish also feature tight end Keith Towbridge, who has committed to the University of Louisville next year. He also doubles as a defensive end on a defense that features Ohio State recruit Jayme Thompson.
"There is no doubt that they (TCC) are a very talented team, and that they will be a great challenge to us. We haven't been able to play the underdog role much this year, so we are looking forward to it"....Aurora coach Bob Mihalik
The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between New Albany and defending state champion Trotwood-Madison.
"I think people are assuming that TCC and Trotwood-Madsion are on a collision course for the state final. It's a new situation for us to be in, proving people wrong"....Aurora coach Bob Mihalik
What do expect from tonight's game? Toledo Central Catholic is very, very explosive on offense. What Aurora will try to do is play the way they have played all year, which is run the ball, shorten the game, and limit possessions. Will the Irish makes some big plays? Sure. They are too good not to. Will Aurora face some adversity during the game? Yes, they will. One thing is for sure, Aurora won't go away. They are playing for a fallen teammate, and being in the underdog role, will have nothing to lose.
Should be a great game tonight at Huron Memorial Stadium