Whenever Oak Harbor struck, Genoa responded.
At two different points in the game, the Rockets were able to score a touchdown and cut the deficit to eight points, only to see the Comets respond each time to create some breathing room on their way to a 43-21 victory over their cross-county rivals.
Genoa scored first on a one-yard touchdown run by Kyle Nutter and made it 8-0 on the two-point conversion. They pushed the lead to 15-0 on a 44-yard pass from Logan Scott to Quin Spiess.
Oak Harbor, which had failed to score on its first two drives, responded wth a 12-play, 75-yard drive that featured a fourth-down conversion and ended with Austin Wiegand finding A.J. Cecil in the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, Genoa's Casey Gose returned it 72 yards to set the Comets up at Oak Harbor's 21-yard-line. Three plays later, Nutter scored from a yard out with four seconds remaining to give Genoa a 22-7 lead at halftime.
While Oak Harbor head coach Mike May was pleased with his team's effort, he acknowledged that they made some costly mistakes.
“We came out and played hard,” May said. “But we had some breakdowns and just couldn't finish it off.”
The same thing happened in the second half. After the Rockets cut the deficit to 22-14, the Comets responded, running the ball five consecutive times for 37 yards before Scott hit Jake Young for a 26-yard touchdown to push the lead to 28-14.
Genoa was able to establish the run early, finishing with 32 carries for 205 yards as a team. The rushing attack set up the pass, and the Comets scored three touchdowns (44, 26, 52) on play-action fakes, which proved to be the difference in the game.
“That game could've been very different without the three pass plays,” Wiegand said.
Nutter finished with 23 carries for 160 yards and three touchdowns and Scott connected on all three of his passes for 122 yards and three touchdowns.
Oak Harbor, which finished with 263 yards rushing as a team, was led by Wiegand, who had 129 yards on 22 carries. Running back Mark Konieczny finished with 23 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown.
This week, the Rockets host Eastwood. Last season, the Eagles went 11-1, won the Northern Buckeye Conference title and advanced to the Division IV Regional Semifinals. However, this season has been more difficult for Eastwood as it has struggled to an 0-2 start. Both of their losses, though, have come against elite teams, Patrick Henry (40-28) and Clyde (28-23). Last season, the Eagles beat Oak Harbor, 52-14.
Eastwood is known for its potent running attack and a defense that limits big plays. On top of that, the Eagles will be looking to win their first game of the season as they enter conference play, knowing that another loss or two could significantly hurt their chances of qualifying for the playoffs.