AURORA — He wasn’t just their best offensive player.
He was their offense.
All quarterback Colin McNamara did was accumulate 2,125 yards to go along with 20 touchdowns for the Greenmen last year.
McNamara, a three-sport star at Aurora, is now a member of the Ohio University wrestling team in Athens.
Thus, Bob Mihalik needed a new field general when the Greenmen started practice back in August.
The 19th-year Aurora head football coach opted for Alex Moore, who attempted a miniscule four passes in 2018.
How much pressure did the 6-foot-2, 210-pound sophomore face when he took his spot behind center?
Look at it this way: Would Darth Vader be the same iconic villain if you heard the voice of David Prowse instead of the legendary James Earl Jones?
“It was crazy, but I knew I could get the job done,” Moore said.
No one will argue with that.
Thanks to their, well, “armed” and dangerous signal caller, the Greenmen are back in the playoffs after a one-year hiatus.
Aurora demolished its Suburban League American Conference competition on its way to its first perfect regular season since 1998.
As it turned out, that was just the beginning.
The Greenmen have a date in the Division III, Region 9 semifinals after toppling one of the most storied programs in Ohio history.
That would be Steubenville, which has won four state titles, including three championships in the 21st century.
Moore used both his lethal right arm and his robust legs to lead Aurora past the mighty Big Red 27-21. The first-year QB’s breakthrough performance took place Friday at Veterans Stadium.
“It’s awesome,” Moore said. “I love to throw it. I like running the ball too. I don’t mind throwing a shoulder at someone.”
Steubenville’s defense learned that the hard way.
Moore completed a sizzling 80 percent of his passes (16-of-20) for 298 yards and a touchdown. He also got to use his rebellious, graphene shoulder on a pair of occasions deep in the red zone. Moore bulldozed his way into the end zone from a yard away in the second and third quarters, respectively.
Such performances have been the norm for Aurora’s talented sophomore, particularly in the last few weeks.
When it comes to his completions, passing yards and touchdowns, Moore has already surpassed his ridiculously gifted predecessor.
Thus far, Moore has completed 110 of his 162 pass attempts for 1,653 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also has run for five more scores.
“Last year, I got to play a little behind Colin,” Moore said. “I learned a lot. I think they [his teammates] trust me. I think they believe in me now. I couldn’t have done it without the coaching staff.”
His coaching staff is certainly looking like a bunch of geniuses this fall.
However, a huge gasp could be heard throughout the stadium Friday when Moore took a vicious shot in the third quarter. The tough-as-nails’ signal caller appeared a little woozy and was forced to the sideline.
He returned to the gridiron on the team’s next possession and guided his team into the red zone, which eventually led to senior kicker Alex Bibza’s 28-yard field goal. Those three points gave the Greenmen a 27-21 lead. That advantage remained the same the rest of the way.
“I knew they were big up front, but I thought we could get thrown them over the top,” Moore said. “I thought that was their only weakness. We found a way to do it.”
Aurora got a little bit of revenge in the process.
Back in the 2006 state semifinals, Big Red, led by future NFL quarterback Zach Collaros, smashed the Greenmen 48-13 on its way to the state title.
It’s a safe bet Moore wasn’t too distraught, though. He was just 2 years old at the time.
“It was a great team effort,” Moore said. “I don’t think anyone can doubt us.”
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.