By VINCE PELUSO
While running the football may be a thing of the past for many teams these days, the Geneva Eagles are one team that still loves to pound the rock and play power football.
There’s a reason for that, though. They have Aaron Rossi lined up at running back.
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound junior has shown an aptitude for both running through opposing defenses, and around them.
Blessed with the rare gift of both power and speed, Rossi led the county in rushing for the second-consecutive year, this time with 1,501 yards, more than 200 yards clear of the next-closest rusher.
For his effort, Rossi the 2013 Star Beacon Ashtabula County Player of the Year.
“It feels so great that I go it,” he said of the award. “I worked hard for it.”
Soft spoken off the field, but hard hitting on it, Rossi was a force to be reckoned with throughout the season.
His numbers against Ashtabula County opponents were staggering this season.
In Week 1, he carried the ball 30 times for 213 yards and two scores, leading his team to a 25-13 win over Edgewood, avenging a defeat in the 2012 season opener.
“That (win) was really big,” he said. “Last year we lost that game so to open the season with that win, we just needed that.”
Not to be outdone by his opening act, in a Week 3 game at Conneaut, Rossi carried 20 times for 183 yards and four scores, helping the Eagles be the only county opponent who faced the Spartans to defeat them.
Finally, against Lakeside he had a relatively quiet game, by his incredibly high standards. He “only” rushed for 147 yards on 23 carries and one score in win over the Dragons.
All told, Rossi rushed for 543 yards on 73 carries, averaging 7.4 yards per carry and scoring seven touchdowns against Ashtabula County teams.
On the year, Rossi crossed the goalline 18 times and averaged 6.0 yards per carry.
The humble back credited his teammates for much of his success.
“I did pretty good, but it was mostly because of my offensive line and how we worked,” he said. “I felt great this season because we worked hard in the offseason and went to camps. I lifted a lot, it was all great.”
Overall, the season didn’t go quite according to plan for the Eagles.
They finished the season 4-6, although they lost close games along the way that made the record look worse than it was.
Overall, Rossi said he was pleased with his team’s work ethic.
“We worked really hard but there were some games we could’ve won,” he said. “My expectations coming into the season were we were going to win every game, we were just gonna win every game and that was my thought process.”
The son of Eric Rossi and Shelly Cadmes said his parents support was very important to him.
“They’re really supportive of me,” he said. “Ever since midget league, they’ve always been to every one of my games.”
With Rossi returning for his senior year along with a cast of talented teammates, he has his sites set on bigger and better things in 2014.
“Our goal is to win more games and make it to the playoffs,” he said. “I’m just gonna try to get bigger and try get faster and do anything to help the team. It should be a fun season.
A bigger, faster, stronger Rossi can only spell good things in the future for the Eagles and bad things ahead for the defenses they oppose.
Peluso is a sports writer for the Star Beacon. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.