AURORA — It’s not official, but the drought appears to be over for the Aurora football team.
Of course, it wasn’t particularly lengthy in the first place.
The host Greenmen moved another step closer to reaching their postseason goal after ripping Revere 48-7 Friday night at Veterans Stadium.
With the win, Aurora improved to 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the Suburban League American Conference. The Minutemen dropped to 4-5 overall and 1-5 in the conference.
The Greenmen also clinched at least a share of the American Conference title. Such things aren’t really a big deal on West Pioneer Trail considering Aurora’s sparkling résumé.
After all, the Greenmen, who captured a Division III state title in 2008, have made playoff appearances and conference championships a regularity for what seems like forever.
Until last year.
Despite finishing 7-3 in 2018, Aurora’s impressive run of postseason appearances ended at 12.
It’s very like that won’t be the case this fall. Nothing appears to be going wrong for the surging Greenmen.
"We were an inexperienced team coming into this season," Aurora 19th-year head coach Bob Mihalik said. "Now you should be starting to hit your stride a little bit. I hope we’re peaking at the right time."
One could argue the Greenmen have been "peaking" since the began play in August.
Since the season began, Aurora has outscored its opponents 242-40. The Greenmen have yet to give up more than 14 points in any of their games and Friday was the eighth time Aurora held its opponents to less than double digits.
Against the Minutemen, it was more of the same.
The Greenmen completely dominated the first half to take a 41-0 lead and then watched their reserves enjoy a Friday night experience after halftime.
As for the first 24 minutes, the starters’ experience proved to be just as enjoyable.
Sophomore quarterback Alex Moore completed 10-of-13 passes for 224 yards and four touchdowns. Three of those scoring tosses went to senior wide receiver Johnny Papesh. The other went to junior running back Evan McVay, who also had a rushing touchdown.
"It was a nice first half, obviously," Mihalik said. "We seemed in sync on offense. I thought Alex Moore had a really nice first half. Other than Tallmadge, that was probably his best game."
Moore and the rest of Aurora’s plethora of playmakers also had plenty of room to operate throughout the evening.
That wasn’t a particularly easy task since Revere had some rather large defensive linemen. Nevertheless, the Greenmen’s offensive line of seniors Patrick Murray (tackle), Tucker Nietert (guard), Alex Hawk (center), Adam Hicks (guard) and AJ Barner (tight end) and junior Michael Sedar (tackle) proved to be an impenetrable wall, as always.
"I thought our line played well," Mihalik said. "We were concerned. They [the Minutemen] had some big guys up front. Our defense was solid, as usual."
Papesh was particularly sparkling on this night. It seemed like every time the senior two-way star touched the ball, something magical happened.
Papesh, who also lines up at safety on defense, caught four passes for 135 yards and also had an interception. McVay, another safety, finished with four receptions for 64 yards.
"[Papesh], McVay and [Tony] Gramm [senior tailback] are our go-to guys," Mihalik said. "Johnny and Evan are so good at safety, as well. They’re also our playmakers on offense."
There were plenty of playmakers on this night.
Senior Ben Rogge had an electrifying 73-yard punt return for a score and sophomore running back Aiden Henderson added a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter.
The Minutemen scored their lone touchdown late in the third when senior quarterback Nate Klonowski completed a 9-yard pass to Matt Kostoff.
Other than that, it was Aurora first, last and always. Seems like that has been the norm for the Greenmen thus far in 2019.
"You like a night like [Friday]," Mihalik said. "We had 61 guys dress and everyone played and got to contribute. That’s a good thing."
Aurora outgained Revere 429-180 and had a 25-7 edge in first downs. The Greenmen were ranked third in the Division III, Region 9 computer ratings and will likely have to win their regular-season finale if they want to host a playoff game.
Aurora is scheduled to host conference rival Copley in Week 10.
"We’re excited about our chances in Region 9," Mihalik said.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.