CANTON -- After intercepting Eastmoor Academy quarterback Malon Johnson and with his team already leading by two scores, Aurora's Dee Brizzolara was asked by coach Bob Mihalik whether he
was ready to be the intended receiver on the next play in the Division III state final Saturday in Canton's Fawcett Stadium.

Brizzolara, tired from returning the interception 25 yards, immediately perked up, and moments later his team had its third touchdown of the second quarter on his 26-yard touchdown pass down the
left sideline from Brendan Gallagher.

It amounted to an insurmountable deficit for the Warriors, who ended up on the short end of a 21-10 decision in their first championship game appearance.

Both teams finished 13-2 overall, with the Greenmen winning their final 12 of the season to capture their first state championship.

"We just had some mental breakdowns," coach Jim Miranda said. "They did what we thought they were going to do. We knew they were a very opportunistic team coming in, and they were able to
capitalize on turnovers. Unfortunately, we had quite a few."

Eastmoor committed three turnovers overall and were whistled 11 times for 78 yards, with Brizzolara's interception serving as the biggest miscue. That came one play after Aurora had taken a 14-3
lead on a 3-yard run by Steven Schultz with 1:13 to go in the second quarter.

The Greenmen took a 7-3 lead on a 49-yard touchdown pass from Gallagher to Steven Yung with 8:50 left in the first half. A fumble by Touche Hopkins at the Eastmoor 49 set up the score, which
came three plays later.

"We just had some blown coverages," Eastmoor linebacker Victor Rodriguez said. "We made mistakes."

Eastmoor took a 3-0 lead with 8:26 to go in the opening quarter on a 34-yard field goal by Kwesi Sample and had six running plays go for seven or more yards in its first two drives.

Aurora allowed only 68 yards rushing throughout the game's remainder, however, and the Warriors' only other scoring drive took more than six minutes to complete.

Johnson hooked up with Alex Coleman 10 times for 149 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown with 1:52 to go in the third quarter that made it 21-10.

The Warriors had one fourth-quarter drive end on an interception and another come up short when they turned it over on downs at the Greenmen's 27-yard line.

Hopkins led Eastmoor with 72 yards on 12 carries and Johnson added 11 rushes for 25 yards as Eastmoor outgained Aurora 297-191.

"Our goal was to make them go on long drives because we wanted to keep everything in front of us," Mihalik said. "We knew they were a running team because they had over 5,300 yards on the
season and over 4,000 were running. The key was to play man-to-man (in the secondary) in order to get more guys in the box."

AURORA 0 21 0 0 -- 21
EASTMOOR 3 0 7 0 -- 10

E--Sample 35 FG
A--Yung 49 pass from Gallagher (Heacox kick)
A--Schultz 3 run (Heacox kick)
A--Brizzolara 26 pass from Gallagher (Heacox kick)
E--Coleman 30 pass from Johnson (Sample kick)