Leading in the fourth quarter, the Aurora Greenmen could not withstand two late Toledo Central Catholic touchdowns, as the Irish came away with a 20-13 Division II state semifinal victory in the Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week, presented by PNC Bank.
In a game that most tabbed Aurora as heavy underdogs, the Greenmen nearly overcame a talent-laden Central Catholic team, which earned the right to play Trotwood-Madison in next Friday’s State Championship.
"People thought we didn't stand a chance and that drove us all week to perform as best as we could," Aurora senior Zach Smierciak said. “We played with heart and it showed. I feel like we won respect from this game."
Central Catholic used its quick-striking offense to put the game away behind a bruising 20-yard run by Amir Edwards. The touchdown followed a failed fourth down attempt by Aurora from their own 38-yard line while trailing 14-13.
The loss was Aurora’s second in as many years in the state semifinals, as the Greenmen fell to the Avon Eagles in last year’s contest. The game was also played on the one-year anniversary of the death of sophomore Paulie McGhee.
"We wanted to play like Paulie McGhee with a great head on our shoulders and I feel like we really went out there tonight and did that," Smierciak added.The Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week is presented by PNC Bank, in association with Russell Athletic and The Ohio Army National Guard.