AURORA — For years, the Aurora football team has asked its quarterbacks to keep things simple and rely on its powerful offensive line and potent rushing attack.
Such advice might not be useful these days. That’s because the Greenmen have quickly learned they have a rare Hope Diamond calling the plays.
Thanks to the right arm and legs of senior quarterback Colin McNamara, host Aurora earned its third straight win after posting a come-from-behind 32-18 victory over Tallmadge in both teams’ Suburban League American Conference opener Friday evening at Veterans Stadium.
McNamara ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns and also passed for 150 yards to lead the Greenmen, who improved to 3-1 overall.
McNamara had a pair of 8-yard touchdowns runs, including the go-ahead score in the third quarter, to give Aurora a 25-18 lead. The Greenmen tacked on another TD late in the game to get a crucial conference win.
“What can you say about Colin?” said Aurora head coach Bob Mihalik, who was presented the game ball after getting his 150th career win. “To me, it was a typical game for Colin.”
McNamara completed 10 of 19 passes and had just one interception. But he was an even bigger threat with his legs as he made Blue Devil defenders miss time and time again.
“It’s special for me because I’ve played with (Tallmadge players) Sam Seeker, Rich Eyre and Jason Grassie,” McNamara said. “We knew they were going to come after us. We have some tough, hard-nosed guys. I wouldn’t trade them for anyone.”
The Blue Devils (2-2) were up 18-7, thanks to their senior quarterback.
Seeker, a three-sport standout who plans to continue his baseball career at the University of Toledo, also was an unstoppable force.
He finished with 154 yards rushing in 16 attempts and completed 14 of 27 passes for 142 yards.
Seeker had a 20-yard shovel pass for a score to junior wide receiver Evan Teeling and a 40-yard TD run.
“We had a feeling it would work out this way,” Mihalik said. “We knew we had to contain Seeker.”
The Blue Devils had difficulties with special teams throughout the night.
The Greenmen, particularly junior wide receiver John Papesh, got into good field position throughout the game, thanks to long returns.
Tallmadge also missed a pair of extra points, gave up a 94-yard kickoff return to senior wide receiver Graham Aldredge on the first play of the game and had a 12-yard punt.
“You can analyze it any way you want, but Aurora is a good team that is well-coached,” Blue Devils head coach Alan Vanderink said. “We had the momentum and gave it right back.”
After Aldredge’s return, the Blue Devils appeared to be in control. They scored on their next three possessions to take an 18-7 lead.
Senior fullback Mike Yamokoski had a 1-yard TD run to close out Tallmadge’s scoring late in the first quarter.
But senior kicker Kyle Obly booted a 27-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 18-10 and McNamara and the offense found its rhythm the rest of the way.
On the tying score with a little more than three minutes left in the first half, McNamara completed the 2-point pass to junior tight end A.J. Barner.
Sophomore defensive back Evan McVay made it a two-score game for the Greenmen with an 18-yard TD run and the Aurora defense stopped Tallmadge at the 9-yard line with four minutes left.
“Our defense has been bend but don’t break,” Mihalik said. “We know we have to prepare well for Tallmadge because Coach Vanderink has them do things the right way. He teaches them life lessons. What I love about our kids is they continue to fight.”
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.