Aaron Aguilar almost missed his chance to play football. Worried about the injuries he might suffer, his father wouldn’t let him take the field. But Aguilar was determined to play, so in eighth grade, his mother snuck him out of the house to sign up for Junior All-American Football.
“Ever since then, I’ve loved it,” said Aguilar, a senior mechanical engineering major from Orange, California. “I love the guys that I’ve played football with. I love just being out there—everything about it.”
His father since has come around and is one of Aguilar’s biggest fans—a club that’s growing after his performance in the team’s playoff win over Illinois Wesleyan University last Saturday. Aguilar recorded three touchdowns, as the Spartans won 28-0—notching the program’s second-ever postseason victory.
In the second round of the playoffs, the Spartans will take on the No. 2-ranked University of Mount Union Purple Raiders in Alliance, Ohio, on Saturday, Nov. 25, at noon. Catch a livestream of the game at portal.stretchinternet.com/mountunion/.
Facing cold, snowy conditions during last weekend’s game, Aguilar had a career-high day, running for 136 yards against a team that only allowed one rushing touchdown during the season. “I just remember trying to keep my head down and keep running,” he said.
Once the game was over, he said, everything felt like a blur.
Aguilar’s performance during earned him a University Athletic Association Athlete of the Week honor, along with teammates Cody Calhoun and Justin Phan.
This historic season for the Spartans built on the team’s momentum from the 2016 season, Aguilar said.
“It’s just the rewards of being consistent—getting what we missed out on last year,” Aguilar said.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s game against Mount Union, Aguilar and the team are ready. “I’m not a big win-lose guy. As long as we go out there and execute and play our absolute best game, that’s my main goal,” he said. “Winning is great, but just going out there and having no mistakes on our part and doing everything we can to put ourselves in the right position to win—that’s sometimes more rewarding and important.”
Read a preview of the game, but first, take the time bto get to know more about Aguilar in this week’s five questions.
1. What’s your favorite spot on the Case Western Reserve campus?
Einstein’s [in Nord Hall] because I’m there so often.
2. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you pick?
Somewhere sunny—take me to Jamaica, Bora Bora—with sand and an ocean.
3. What new skill would you like to learn?
Flying [as a pilot].
4. If you could only watch three movies for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Tarzan—the Disney version, of course—Warrior and Seven Pounds.
5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?
Definitely the people I’ve met at work, at football and in classes. They’ve helped me through the whole [college] experience and carried me through a lot of things.