Steubenville eliminated at Aurora
AURORA — Big Red’s season came to a difficult end on a frigid Friday as Aurora earned a 27-21 victory in the Division III, Region 9 quarterfinals.
With the victory, the fourth-seeded Greenmen improve to 11-0 and advance to play New Philadelphia in the semifinals.
The top-seeded Quakers eliminated defending champion Kenston. Big Red, which was making its 19th consecutive trip to the playoffs, finishes at 6-4.
After a scoreless opening quarter, both offenses got rolling in the second.
Aurora struck first thanks to a 38-yard field goal by Alex Bibza. Big Red, the region’s fifth seed, stormed right back and went up 7-3 on a 5-yard run by Randy Mitchell.
The score moved to 10-7 Aurora when Alex Moore bulled in from 1 yard away. The lead changed hands again just two minutes later as Mitchell found Stone Biacco for a 6-yard score.
Aurora’s last scoring drive of the half took just 31 seconds, A.J. Barner catching a 10-yard pass from Moore.
Another 1-yard Moore run made it 24-14 Aurora with 4:47 left in the third. Big Red immediately answered as Tayveon Crawford burst through the line and sprinted 67 yards for a touchdown.
Both defenses stiffened during the fourth quarter. The only score came on a 28-yard Bibza field goal.
Big Red, which suffered its first opening round loss since 2010, moved the ball down field on its possession following Bibza’s field goal and appeared to have picked up a crucial first down on a fourth and long near midfield. The gain was nullified, however, by an illegal man downfield penalty. Mitchell’s next passing attempt was broken up, allowing the Greenmen to run out the clock.
In his final game for Big Red, Crawford ran the football 28 times for 187 yards. Mitchell finished with 83 yards rushing and 47 yards passing.
Moore, Aurora’s sophomore quarterback, had a solid night, completing 16 of his 20 passing attempts for 298 yards and a score. Evan McVay hauled in eight Moore aerials for 162 yards.
Big Red’s defense did a solid job against Aurora’s high-powered run game, holding the Greenmen to just 56 net yards on 32 carries.