Top 20 Gridiron Squads to Watch - No. 15 Aurora

Top 20 Gridiron Squads to Watch - No. 15 Aurora

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Top 20 Gridiron Squads to Watch - No. 15 Aurora

Greenmen set to be led by 29-member senior class

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Greenmen set to be led by 29-member senior class

Aurora football coach Bob Mihalik poses with two of the team's leaders during WKYC-TV Channel 3's football media day

Aurora football coach Bob Mihalik poses with two of the team’s leaders during WKYC-TV Channel 3’s football media day

This year’s Aurora High School football team features the largest senior class in head coach Bob Mihalik’s 14-year tenure at the helm of the Greenmen.

Mihalik is counting on the 29 members of the class to continue to provide the leadership they have all offseason and to fill many of the offensive roles open due to graduation.

Aurora is in search of a new starting quarterback and is looking to replace all of its top ballcarriers from 2013 as well as four of last season’s top five receiving targets.

Senior Alex Smierciak and junior Nolan Sotka are battling to be named the team’s top signal caller and to replace two-year starter and 2013 Associated Press Division III third-team all-state selection George Bollas.

Mihalik said each possesses a different skill set and that he has stressed to all of the team’s quarterbacks the importance of playing to their own individual strengths.

“Be confident in who you are and don’t try to be something you’re not,” Mihalik said of his message.

Smierciak has been a starting linebacker for the Greenmen each of the past two seasons.

“He understands Aurora football tradition and is one of the leaders on our team,” Mihalik said.

Mihalik described Sotka as more of a prototypical quarterback with a stronger arm, but said many factors – including intangibles – will be considered before a starter is named.

The Greenmen leader said he’s comfortable with either competitor leading the team.

A big reason why Mihalik is confident that Aurora can plug different players into the vacated offensive skill position spots and succeed is that the team returns several skilled linemen.

“We have a very strong offensive line, so we think we’re going to protect and run-block well,” Mihalik said. “Whoever ends up winning those jobs (will be) taken care of by our offensive line.”

Brandon Zamary, a 6-foot-1, 250-pound two-way lineman will anchor the line from his guard position.

Aurora has qualified for the postseason each of the past nine seasons and is expecting no different this fall. The Greenmen won the state title in 2008 and has set out each season since to replicate the feat.

“Once you get in, you want to win it all,” Mihalik said. “We talk about it all the time; we don’t shy away from it.”

Aurora opens its season at Twinsburg on Aug. 29.

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