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By TONY LANGE
Fridays in the fall are quite different yet quite the same for two eighth-grade girls at Harmon Middle School in Aurora.
One wears a hunter green and white football T-shirt to school, goes home after classes to her house in Twinsburg and then travels back to Aurora for Friday night lights.
The other, well, she wears a bright orange and black football T-shirt to school, goes home after classes to her house in Aurora then travels to Chagrin Falls for Friday night lights.
Meghan Mihalik and Emma Iammarino may travel their separate paths and root for different teams each Friday, but they both support their dads and brothers on and off the gridiron.
Emma cheers for her dad, Chagrin Falls head football coach Mark Iammarino, and brothers, quarterback Tommy Iammarino and wide receiver Matt Iammarino.
Tommy and Matt grew up on the Chagrin Falls sidelines as water and ball boys and now play for their dad.
"A lot of people give me some stuff about supporting Chagrin and attending Aurora, but I don't really care about social time on Friday nights," Emma said. "I just want to go watch my brothers play."
Meghan, meanwhile, cheers on her dad, Aurora head football coach Bob Mihalik, and her brother, wide receiver Matt Mihalik.
Matt grew up on the Aurora sidelines as a water and ball boy and now plays for his dad.
"Well, ever since I've been a baby, I've been watching football, and I enjoy it," Meghan said. "It's exciting watching the games every week and cheering on my brother, because he's a senior and he caught a touchdown last week. I just like supporting my dad through everything he's done, because he's accomplished a lot of things."
This Friday, as Aurora travels into Tiger territory, the two Chagrin Valley Conference rivals will clash again for yet another Chagrin Division season kickoff.
The Tigers and Greenmen have split the last four seasons, 2-2, with the away team winning each time and claiming the eventual CVC title.
"We're obviously hoping that trend of the away team winning continues this year," coach Mihalik said. "Chagrin is a solid football team. There really aren't any weaknesses that we can see on film. So we're really going to have to play to the best of our ability to have a chance to win Friday night."
Coach Iammarino also said he thinks very highly of Aurora's team.
"It's a good football team that has had a lot of success, and it should be a great challenge for us," he said. "That's what our focus will be on is how we defend and how we attack a good team."
Setting the rival mentality aside, coach Iammarino said he thinks it's funny that his daughter Emma wears a bright orange and black Chagrin Falls football shirt to Harmon Middle School in Aurora each Friday.
"I told her to be careful," he said and laughed. "But the people in Aurora, they expect it, because they know she has a dad and brothers in Chagrin."
While Emma and Meghan don't have a lot of classes together this year, they still hang out a lot, Emma said.
"We don't really talk about all that kind of rivalry stuff," she said. "It doesn't really bother us. It doesn't like affect our friendship or anything."
It's entertaining when teachers make comments or joke around about the family rivals, Meghan said.
"But I don't think anything will ever come between us or between our dads, because we're pretty good friends," she said. "We just like supporting our dads in every way that we can."
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