Freezing weather with a wind chill of 23 degrees. Snow falling down. Wind blowing. Some say this is typical playoff weather for Ohio. I would have to agree. Unfortunately, for both teams, this was the weather they had to endure. With temps that low and winds that high, you knew it was going to mostly be a running game. Both teams have a great running team and that alone made this a game to watch.
The Greenmen Lead the First Half
Aurora Greenmen went into the game knowing that they were listed as the underdogs. They went into the game knowing that the Toledo Central Catholic Fighting Irish had a scoring average of 46 points a game. They also knew that TCC had been shut out in week 10 of play. It was going to be a fight and the Greenmen were ready to give it their all. Wearing number 57 stickers on their helmets, they put up the first points up on the board when Zach “Zach Attack” Smierciak caught an 11 yard pass from George Bollas. Joey Melchiori put the ball through the uprights giving the Greenmen the lead at 7-0. The Fighting Irish weren’t going to end the first quarter without scoring themselves. With seconds left on the clock, Paul Moses ran 2 yards for a Central Catholic touchdown. Jack Suder made the point after attempt, tying the score going into the second quarter.
Both defenses worked hard during the second half. Aurora was able to hold Central Catholic for a turnover on downs, showing that they were going to fight. With a little over a minute to go in the half, The Fighting Irish fumbled the ball and the Greenmen recovered on Central Catholic’s 33 yard line. Aurora wasn’t able to hold onto the ball when, just 20 seconds later, they fumbled the ball on Central Catholic’s 17 yard line with the Fighting Irish recovering. Aurora was still able to hold the Fighting Irish, ending the half with a tied score of 7-7.
TCC Take the Lead and the Win in the Second Half
Toledo Central Catholic started out the second half with Aurora kicking off to them. The Fighting Irish weren’t able to keep possession very long. Miles Milner snagged the only interception of the night, taking the ball from the Irish. Although they weren’t able to do anything with that turnover, they made sure that on their next possession they were going to put up points. Jake McVay helped make it possible when he caught a 45 yard Bollas pass in double coverage. Bollas finished off the possession when he ran in for a one yard touchdown on a keeper. Melchiori wasn’t able to put the ball through the uprights, making the score 13-7.
The Greenmen went into the fourth quarter knowing that this was going to be the toughest quarter yet. Central Catholic made that known when they took over the lead with a 2 yard run by Amir Edwards. Suder’s kick was good making the score 13-14. Aurora fought back with the offense and defense working hard to hold the Fighting Irish. The Fighting Irish still prevailed on offense when Edwards scored his second touchdown with a 20 yard run. With Suder’s failed point after attempt, Aurora was still in the game. Smierciak and Bollas did their best at moving the Greenmen down the field. With seconds left on the clock, they weren’t able to hold off the Fighting Irish when Central Catholic held them for a turnover on downs.
Despite Bollas racking up 116 rushing yards, one touchdown, and passing for 108 yards and one touchdown, the Greenmen weren’t able to pull off the win. Jake McVay and Zach Smierciak played hard on both sides of the ball keeping Aurora’s season alive this year. McVay had 95 rushing yards of his own in the game. I can’t forget about Justin Wazbinski and Nate Sotka who both played two-way linemen and helped get Aurora as far as they did. The defensive and offensive players played well this year. Almost like a well oiled machine. I mean, they held Central Catholic to only 20 points, the only team to do that this year. Congratulations go out to some of the Greenmen players. Zach Smierciak and Patrick Dougherty made the Associated Press Division II All-Ohio High School Football Team’s First Team along with Zach Quinn and Brett Rodgers making Special Mention.
A Former Player Gone But Not Forgotten
Even though the Greenmen lost this game, they went home holding their heads high. They knew that they played exactly the way that Paulie McGhee III would have. Before the season started, they all made a promise that they would play the way he did; full of heart and joy for the game. Paulie passed away in a car accident a year ago with the anniversary falling on the day this game took place. He was a sophomore backup defensive linemen on the Greenmen’s Varsity team last year and a huge part of the team’s spirit. Paulie wore number 57, and this year, Aurora retired his number in his memory. The team has gone out on the field every day playing, not for Paulie but with him. His spirit lives within every boy on that team and everyone in the community. Paulie’s parents have set up a scholarship fund for one Aurora senior who best exemplifies his spirit.*
Congratulations to the 2012 Aurora Greenmen Varsity Football Team. You all played hard with determination and spirit. Your season may have finished this past Friday, but your team will forever be a winning force. For the seniors; remember this season as you go forward in life. The memories you have made on that field will always be there for you to look back on. For the underclassmen; bring back what you learned this season to next year. I know that if you do that, you will be an even bigger force. Keep your heads high and your hearts full. Congratulations again. You had an amazing season!
*If you would like to contribute to the scholarship fund, donations are tax deductible and can be sent to:
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
attn: Keith Smith
c/o Paulie McGhee Memorial Scholarship Fund
36 E. Streetsboro St.
Hudson, OH 44236
Checks should be made payable to Paulie McGhee Memorial Scholarship Fund. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated by the McGhee family. For questions regarding this fund, call Keith Smith at 440-315-8613.