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Chagrin beats Aurora, 42-34
Chagrin beats Aurora, 42-34
Tigers soar to 28-point lead, coast
By TONY LANGE
As Aurora (3-1) fans rang their cowbells loud and constant from the visitor stands, many Tigers fans in the home blackout crowd must have been thinking, "Oh, man. This is going to be a long night."
To open the Chagrin Valley Conference season last Friday, Chagrin Falls (4-0) started the game three and out and then let Aurora's Zach Quinn run 80 yards up the middle for a touchdown on the Greenmen's first offensive play.
Less than two minutes into the game, Aurora was up, 7-0.
Oh, the cowbells.
That's when the Tigers' experience kicked in.
Suiting up for 44 games in the last three seasons, Chagrin Falls' 21-player senior class has seen more football than any other team in Ohio.
Led by offensive senior linemen Grant Lingafelter and Wes Bomback, who started all 14 games last season, senior back Jack Campbell was able to run the ball down the Greenmen's throat and set the stage for a 28-yard touchdown pass from senior Tommy Iammarino to senior Ben Vandertill, who was wide open in the middle of the end zone.
Aurora committed double coverage on receiver Matt Iammarino, which allowed Vandertill to open up and tie the game, 7-7.
"The coaches always tell us we need to get the momentum back right away," Vandertill said. "So Tommy found me on that play, and we got the momentum back, which was really important."
Aurora fumbled the ball three plays later, and the Tigers' polished offense went back to work on a short field.
A 29-yard pass on third-and-14 to senior receiver Bradley Munday brought the Tigers to first and goal. On a quarterback keep, Tommy Iammarino bulled his way to the 1-yard, carrying a standing pile 7 yards before going down.
Campbell put his head down, drove his legs and punched in another touchdown for the Tigers' 14-7 lead.
Converting a turnover and a short field is always big, head coach Mark Iammarino said.
"We were able to spread the ball around, and that was key, because I don't know that you can beat Aurora with just one guy," he said. "We've got four available receivers, and we'll hit them all, and then we'll run the ball with Jack, and I thought our offensive line did a good job, and Jack was just a beast tonight."
Aurora went three and out again as Chagrin defensive end Tommy Murtaugh came up with a big third-down sack on George Bollas.
Coach Iammarino called for a reverse, flea flicker trick play when the Tigers' offense went back on the field.
Quarterback Iammarino handed the ball off to Campbell, but the play appeared broken as he was wrapped up from behind by an Aurora defender in the backfield.
Somehow, someway Campbell used the strength of his wrists to pitch the ball to Vandertill, who then unleashed a 62-yard bomb downfield to an open Munday for the touchdown.
"He kind of grabbed my arms, but I still had it in my hand gripping it, so I just flipped it," Campbell said about getting off the pitch. "I was just thinking, if I could get this to Vandertill, it's a touchdown. If I can't, it's a big loss. So I really wanted to get it off."
Vandertill said, "In my life, I'll never understand how he got the pitch off, because he was tied up, his arms were pinned, and he flipped it out to me with just his fingertips. I caught it and just set up and saw Munday out there and just let it fly."
The Tigers went up, 21-7, and the second quarter had just begun.
On the kickoff, Aurora fumbled the ball, and the Tigers' offense stayed on the field but came up empty on a failed 31-yard field goal attempt.
Aurora had another three-and-out possession after a third-down sack by Chagrin senior linebacker Dan Kuenzig, who gutted out the entire game after suffering back spasms all week.
"Basically, the mindset was just to do whatever the coaches told me to do and follow our game plan," he said. "If everyone did their job, we knew we'd be OK."
When Chagrin took over on another short field, receiver Iammarino went up and somehow caught a 32-yard pass in double coverage to get the Tigers right back into the red zone.
Quarterback Iammarino finished off the drive with a 1-yard quarterback keep in the end zone for a 28-7 lead.
Aurora went three and out yet again as the Tigers' line supplied tackles and passer pressure.
Returning senior starter Matt Markley, defensive end, said the Tigers did a real good job matching up.
"We had a couple guys going in for injuries and stuff, but I think we did a solid job all around," he said. "Aurora has a talented offensive line, and it was important of us to show up."
Campbell then scored a 1-yard touchdown to finish off a 35-0 run by the Tigers during a 20-minute stretch when Chagrin outgained Aurora, 245 yards to 3 yards.
It was the Aurora fans thinking it was going to be a long night at that point.
Aurora ended the half on a 76-yard drive with a touchdown but a failed extra point to make it a 35-13 game at intermission.
In the third quarter, Aurora outscored Chagrin, 13-0, and the score was 35-26 heading into the final 12 minutes as the Greenmen waved their hands in the air to rile up their cowbell-dinging fans.
The Tigers then were forced to punt on fourth and 37 with 10 minutes to go, and Aurora had complete control of the game.
A game-changing interception by Chagrin's Joey Casarona gave the Tigers the break they were looking for, however, and then Campbell ran the ball four times and scored on a 4-yard carry into the end zone for a 42-26 lead with 7:46 to go.
On fourth and five from the Tiger 43, Aurora managed to toss a long pass into the end zone and then converted a two-pointer to make it 42-34 with 29 seconds remaining in the game.
The ensuing onside kick was recovered by Casarona for the win.
"It felt amazing," he said. "I was really just watching the football and didn't see the Aurora players coming at me. It's a great feeling securing the win. Beating Aurora obviously is a big deal. We beat a great team, so it's a great feeling."
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