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Aurora -- The end of August marks the beginning of the high school football season. On Aug. 26 at Veterans Stadium, only one team showed up ready to play.
Solon opened the season with a dominating 36-6 victory over the Greenmen. The Comets were led by a passing attack that put up 254 yards and a defensive unit that allowed only 6 points and 248 yards of total offense.
"They're a very good Division I football team," said Aurora head coach Bob Mihalik. "We dropped the opening kickoff and it kind of snowballed from there."
The Comets jumped out to a 29-0 lead in the second quarter and never looked back.
Solon had its foot on the gas pedal from the very moment the game began. Aurora coughed up the opening kickoff, giving Solon the ball just outside the Greenmen 20-yard line.
After a few runs up the middle, the Comets converted on fourth-and-9 on a screen pass to Thomas Wilks to keep their first drive of the game alive.
Senior quarterback Joe Bubonics then threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Taj Ward, and the onslaught was on. The Comets added a 2-point conversion to make it 8-0.
One play later, Solon attempted an onside kick, but a Solon player touched the ball before it traveled 10 yards, giving the Greenmen the ball near midfield.
After an AHS drive that resulted in a punt, Solon marched down the field into Greenmen territory. The drive seemed to be nearing an end when Bubonics found senior receiver Darryl Sinclair on a short pass on third-and-20, but a crucial Aurora missed tackle allowed Sinclair to take it 37 yards to the house, putting Solon up 15-0.
Solon forced another Greenmen punt and wasted no time putting more points on the board. On second-and-13, Bubonics threw a jump ball to senior receiver Jake McCurry, who ended up in the end zone 39 yards later.
THE TD PUT Solon up 22-0 with just over two minutes left in the first quarter.
Solon tacked on another 7 points after Bubonics found Sinclair on a screen pass that resulted in a 58-yard run down the sideline to pay dirt.
Aurora drove deep into Solon territory just before halftime, but stalled after the Greenmen failed to convert on fourth down inside the Comets' 30-yard line.
The Greenmen forced a three-and-out on Solon's first possession of the second half. Led by Austin, it looked like a completely different offense in the second half.
"We told them at halftime we wanted to go out and pretend it was a new game, and I think we battled and played them even in the second half," Mihalik said.
The Greenmen drove down the field on their first possession of the second half, a drive that resulted in their first points of the night when senior fullback Bubba Arslanian punched it in from inside the 1-yard line.
The extra-point attempt was blocked, making the score 29-6 with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
AHS continued to fight and had numerous drives that reached Solon territory, but by the time the fourth quarter arrived, the Comets were playing conservatively in an effort to kill the clock.
Solon turned the fourth quarter into a game of keep-away. The Comets extended their lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Wilks.
The visitors completed 12 of 17 passes for 254 yards and rushed for 80 yards on 27 attempts. Aurora completed 16 of 23 passes for 134 yards and rushed for 114 yards on 38 attempts. The hosts fumbled three times and lost two.
"Our kids kept battling, and we told them it's a long season," Mihalik said. "We don't have any time to feel sorry for ourselves because we have to play Euclid in six days (Sept.1) and they beat Glenville last week. We've got another big one next week."