TWINSBURG — When Aurora and Twinsburg renewed their backyard rivalry Friday at Tiger Stadium, it was a classic case of the steady Greenmen vs. the explosive Tigers.
Steady won the race Friday, as Aurora scored a 21-7 win — though fans could be forgiven if they didn’t recognize the Greenmen’s offense.
Aurora coach Bob Mihalik had his team working from trips and spread formations, which threw the Tigers’ defense off and opened up the game a bit.
“We were able to run and throw the ball tonight. We showed some formations that we hadn’t shown before,” Mihalik said. “I am so proud of our offensive line. We lost our 10 best linemen from last season and they really controlled the game.”
Tiger coach Mike Bell was left cold by his team’s performance.
“It was an incredibly disappointing night tonight,” Bell said. “We talked about being flawless in our execution and we were nowhere near that tonight.
“This entire program needs to take a good look at itself,” Bell added.
After fumbling away its first possession inside the Tiger 5-yard line, Aurora was able to find the end zone twice with long drives in the first half.
First, quarterback Colin McNamara found Kyle Obly with a 9-yard pass for a touchdown with 14 seconds left in the first quarter.
Then, McNamara hit Evan McVay with a 7-yard touchdown pass with 4:08 left in the first half.
McNamara was the star for Aurora. The senior quarterback went 14-of-27 for 118 yards and three touchdowns passing, along with 117 yards rushing.
“When you trust your quarterback, there’s a lot of things that you can do,” Mihalik said. “He didn’t make a bad decision all night.”
“I always go to coach on every play, but I let him know I would like to have the ball every so often,” McNamara said. “We were pounding the ball pretty well tonight.”
Twinsburg got back in the game via the long pass. Tiger quarterback Adam Van de Motter completed only one pass in the first half, but it was a 54-yard bomb to James Besett for a touchdown with 2:16 left in the half.
That turned out to be the only offensive highlight of the night for the Tigers offense. The issues continued when Van de Motter fumbled at the Aurora 28 to end Twinsburg’s first second half drive.
Van de Motter went just 3-of-13 for 68 yards passing and 53 yards rushing. Twinsburg was led by Marvahun Johnson with 55 yards rushing.
Twinsburg’s fumble led to another long drive capped by McNamara’s third touchdown pass, which went for 5 yards to John Papesh.
Twinsburg had a touchdown negated by an offensive pass interference call on Jamir James, early in the fourth quarter. Twinsburg’s offense was in reverse from there.
“I want to give credit to Aurora,” Bell said. “Formation-wise, they did some things tonight that we had seen before. It took us about a quarter to adjust. It comes down to us and our execution.”
Both teams will open conference play this week. Aurora will play host to Tallmadge Friday, while Twinsburg hosts Cutyahoga Falls. Both games start at 7 p.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_RPC