This one was never in doubt.
Oak Harbor recovered a fumble on the first play from scrimmage and scored on the ensuing play before cruising to a 63-6 victory over Sheffield Brookside at home Friday.
The Rockets dominated throughout, scoring four touchdowns in the first quarter before taking a 49-0 lead into the half.
Oak Harbor running back Mark Konieczny led the way, running 15 times for 243 yards and four touchdowns. He was consistently provided with sizable holes all night as the offensive line manhandled the Cardinals’ defensive front.
Fullback Ben Genzman and backup running back Dillon Glass finished with 56 yards and one touchdown apiece and the Rockets finished with 469 yards rushing as a team.
“The (offensive line) did a nice job,” said Oak Harbor head coach Mike May. “They came off the ball and were physical and that's what we challenge our kids to do on both sides of the ball.”
The Rocket defense was magnificent, holding Brookside's running game in check and forcing six punts.
“Everybody was doing their job (on defense) and I was thrilled to see us swarming to the ball on just about every play,” said Oak Harbor safety Austin Wiegand. “The defense did an awesome job shutting them down. Altogether, the defense demoralized Brookside from the first snap.”
Wiegand, who also plays quarterback, was 2-for-2 for 39 yards and a touchdown. His 28-yard scoring strike to Jamie Balboa came towards the end of the first quarter and put the Rockets ahead 28-0.
This week, Oak Harbor plays cross-town rival Genoa for the Celestial Bowl. Genoa defeated Ottawa Hills, 58-7, in Week 1 behind 553 yards rushing as a team. All-Ohio running back Kyle Nutter led the way, carrying the ball 16 times for 237 yards and five touchdowns.
Since 2007, the Comets have established themselves as one of the top programs in northwest Ohio, going 56-7 in the last five seasons and establishing themselves as a perennial playoff team. Genoa has won the last four games in the series by a combined score of 178-20, with the closest game coming in '10 when the Comets held off Oak Harbor, 15-7.
Genoa returns just seven starters (three on offense, four on defense) and has only seven seniors on the team, but possesses incredible depth. The Comets use from six to eight running backs in a game, having juniors David Nutter, Ryan Espinoza and Alex Hayes as well as sophomores Cody Pickard and Jake Wojciechowski there to spell Kyle Nutter when he needs a break.
May knows that his team, while capable of beat Genoa, has a tough challenge facing them. He's hopeful that the Rockets' stellar play against the Cardinals is an indication of things to come this season.
“Hopefully, we can take some momentum from the (Brookside) game and use it this week (against Genoa),” May said.
The next two weeks feature a difficult portion of the schedule for the Rockets, who host Eastwood in Week 3. The Eagles beat Oak Harbor, 52-14, last season. Should the Rockets get through the non-conference portion of their schedule with a 2-1 or even a 3-0 record, things will set up nicely for them as they enter Sandusky Bay Conference play.