CANTON — For a large group of teenagers, it seemed more like an annoying inconvenience rather than an ominous threat.

One particular person, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure.

As it turned out, that one person overruled his helmet-wearing jury.

Or, as David Stern once tersely stated: "It was unanimous … one to nothing."

"Coach was really getting on us," John Papesh said.

In this case, though, Aurora head football coach Bob Mihalik was significantly less irate than the former longtime NBA commissioner.

Fortunately, there was no malice at this particular palace. But like the infamous incident in Detroit 15 years ago, more security was needed.

This time, it was strictly up to the Greenmen to restore law and order.

‘‘[He was] telling us, ‘Look guys, we have to focus,’" said Papesh, a senior split end/defensive back for Aurora. "‘We can’t be taking this lightly. We still have to finish our business.’"

This unfinished business has yet to reach its completion. And not a single soul is the least bit cranky about it.

Certainly not the ones who represent West Pioneer Trail, at least.

The fourth-seeded Greenmen’s dazzling season continued after supplanting top-seeded New Philadelphia 34-17 Friday evening. The Division III, Region 9 semifinal contest took place at Canton South High School’s Brechbuhler Stadium.

With the win, Aurora improved to 12-0. More importantly, the Greenmen received an invitation to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2012.

Aurora earned these illustrious distinctions after tormenting the overwhelmed Quakers throughout the evening. However, New Philadelphia nearly pulled off a miraculous escape from what appeared to be inexorable torture chamber.

The Quakers, down 27-3 midway through the third quarter, scored 14 unanswered points in a seven-minute span.

In the end, New Philadelphia’s bold getaway plan was thwarted by a rather prominent group of "Green" Berets.

This group includes a 6-foot-5 senior linebacker/tight end, who plans to wear his prestigious service headgear for at least four more years.

He won’t have to change colors either.

"We obviously knew they were a good team," said AJ Barner, who plans to continue his academic and football careers at Ohio University in Athens. "They’re here for a reason."

The same could be said of Barner’s "Gang Green." Of course, this specific condition does no damage to body tissue. It hasn’t done any damage to the Greenmen’s record either.

That sure sounds convenient, doesn’t it? It certainly does to Papesh. It does for Mihalik and the rest of the players too.

Therefore, this vote is unanimous, right?


That’s because a green-clad jury has decided to wait at least one more week to deliberate.

"We say every week, ‘We have 48 guaranteed minutes left in every single game,’" Papesh said. "If we have 48 minutes left with our brothers, we have to make it count. We earned 48 more."

Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, or @FrankAceto_RPC.