by Brent HoveyReporterAurora -- In August during two-a-day drills, those who'd have said Aurora would finish the season 9-1 and win the Chagrin Valley Conference for the third straight year likely would've been called "hopefully optimistic."But a 56-12 drubbing of Wickliffe in the final regular season game at Veterans Stadium allowed the Greenmen to finish 9-1 and share a CVC co-championship with Perry.Coming into the season, there were many doubts and question marks. The 2006 team advanced to the Division III state semifinals, but 19 letterman were lost from that squad and only three starters returned for 2007.None of that mattered to coach Bob Mihalik and his 61 players. They cruised through the non-conference schedule and against Perry were only a last-minute touchdown away from being undefeated."I guess they [seasons] are all different," he said. "What's nice about this one is I don't think many people expected it. I think the kids felt they had something to prove. They went out and played hard and we've been 9-1 three years in a row. "We had a lot of inexperience, but I can't say enough. It's a credit to their heart and desire. I'm proud of these guys."WE HAD a tough loss to Perry in Week 4, but we told them to still believe we could accomplish our goals of the CVC championship and a playoff berth. They hung in and got it."Mihalik tried comparing this CVC title to the ones of the past two years.Senior captain lineman Andrew Knapp said it's special to be on top of the CVC once again."It's a great feeling. Three years in a row CVC champs, there's nothing better," he said. "We're so excited about it and excited about things to come."With the Wickliffe win, Aurora will make its third straight playoff appearance. The Greenmen finished fourth in Division III Region 9, which means they will host a first-round game against Cortland Lakeview (8-2).The game against the Blue Devils was never close. Aurora was up 21-0 after one quarter and 35-6 three minutes into the third quarter. Greenmen starters were able to relax and enjoy the win from the sidelines, and the backups came in and played most of the second half.The Greenmen piled up 317 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground. Junior Steven Yung led the way with 104 yards on 7 carries and 3 touchdowns.Senior Alex Welch and sophomores Steven Synder and T.J. Deninger each had a rushing touchdown.JUNIOR quarterback Brendan Gallagher completed 11 of 14 passes for 84 yards, with a 3-yard touchdown to senior Chris Jenkins.Aurora's other touchdown came thanks to special teams when junior Dee Brizzolara returned a punt 66 yards.Defensively, the Greenmen held Wickliffe to 168 total yards. Knapp and Jenkins each had a fumble recovery and junior Adam Bellamy had two sacks.All 61 players, including backup kicker freshman Kevin Rahill who kicked the final extra point, got to participate in the win."It was the fourth time this year we had all 61 players contribute," said Mihalik. "It was a fun night to win another championship."Now the Greenmen's attention turns to the playoffs, where they hope to make another run toward a state title.Knapp said he has been talking with some of the guys on last year's team and making friendly wagers on what team will go further."I'm friends with a lot of those guys and we're having bets with them." Knapp said. "They'll be surprised to see how well we've done and how far we can go. Our goal now is to go further than they did."E-mail: bhovey@recordpub.comPhone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3115