Aurora moves up to Division II after ‘magical’ season


Aurora Greenmen Football

Aurora roared to the Division III state
championship last year and the Greenmen are moving up to D-II this season with just five starters returning.

How will Aurora fare in 2009?

The following is a look at the upcoming season for the Greenmen.

Aurora (13-2)

* Players To Watch – QB Ty Watson (6-4, 215, Sr.),
WR/DB Mike Ganoe (6-1, 180, Sr.), WR/DB Steven Snyder (6-1, 185, Sr.), TB/OLB
Eric Schultz (5-9, 185, Sr.), TE/DE Mitch Knapp (6-5, 220, Sr.), C Ben Jubell
(6-2, 305, Sr.)

* Outlook – Aurora roared to the Division III state
championship last year and the Greenmen are moving up to D-II this season. The
problem is, they graduated an extremely talented senior class, including OL/DL
Adam Bellamy (now at Ohio State), QB Brendan Gallagher and WR/CB Dee Brizzolara.
Aurora beat Sunbury Big Walnut (which also moves up to D-III this season) 20-14
in the state semifinals and then knocked off Columbus Eastmoor 21-10 in the
championship game.

“Last year was a magical season,” head coach Bob Mahalik
said. “You have to have so many things go right to win a state title. Fire and
foremost, we had great senior leadership and good kids that believed in each
other. And we were talented and we had some breaks go our way.”

Bellamy might be playing big-time college football for the
Buckeyes, but he’ll never forget leaving high school with a state championship.

“That was the best thing that could have happened,” Bellamy
said. “I grew up with a lot of those guys and love a lot of those guys to death.
We just kept going and never looked back and had a lot of fun doing it and we
listened to our coach and great things kept happening. It was pretty cool to
have it end that way.”

Watson – who played some linebacker last year – takes over
the quarterback duties this season and the coaching staff is confident in him.

“Ty is a big, strong kid and has waited his turn for two
years and is going to have great senior season,” Mahalik said. “He can make all
the throws; he really has a major league arm. Since he hasn’t played much,
colleges want to see what he does this fall. MAC schools are interested in him.”

The Greenmen return five key starters from their
championship squad. Ganoe and Snyder each hauled in over 20 receptions last
year. Their roles will increase both as receivers and defensive backs. Schultz
was the defensive MVP in the state title game with two sacks and the
interception which clinched the game. His role will also increase, especially
offensively at tailback.

Even with the loss of Bellamy who started both ways, Aurora
returns solid offensive and defensive lines. Jubell graded out very high last
year and he returns at center. Knapp will anchor the defensive line and Mahalik
calls him a “strong kid who never leaves the field and is a throwback football

As for moving up in competition to Division II, the
Greenmen think they are ready for the challenge.

“We kind of knew it was coming,” Mahalik said. “We were one
of the biggest D-III schools the last couple years. We had an inkling it would
happen and it’s exciting. If we’re fortunate enough to make the playoffs, we’ll
face new teams and it’s a new challenge.

“Then again, a couple of our rivals from Region 9 moved up
with us to Region 5. Walsh moved up and so did Lake Catholic. Several Region 9
teams moved up. So, there are some familiar faces. But hopefully we get to see
some different ones as well.”

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Aug. 28, at Avon, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 4, Mantua Crestwood, 7 p.m.

Sept. 11, Twinsburg, 7 p.m.

Sept. 17, Chagrin Falls, 7 p.m.

Sept. 25, at Pepper Pike Orange 7 p.m.

Oct. 2, at Chesterland West Geauga, 7 p.m.

Oct. 9, Wickliffe, 7 p.m.

Oct. 15, at Perry, 7 p.m.

Oct. 23, at Painesville Harvey, 7 p.m.

Oct. 30, Chagrin Falls Kenston, 7 p.m.


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