After both teams endured for a trying 48 minutes of play, Oak Harbor held off Edison for a 42-33 victory to improve to 5-1 and 3-0 in the Sandusky Bay Conference.
The Rockets rallied from a 19-0 first-quarter deficit and scored 35 unanswered points, only to see Edison rally with two touchdowns of their own to cut the deficit to 35-33 midway thru the fourth quarter. However, Oak Harbor defensive back Cole Wierich tackled Austin Utter for a loss on the two-point conversion, keeping the Rockets' lead intact.
With a 35-33 lead, Oak Harbor responded, driving 63 yards in eight plays to push the lead to 42-33. The key play came when, facing a fourth-and-1 from the Edison 40, Mark Konieczny ran for three yards to extend the drive before scoring two plays later for a 35-yard score to put the game way.
“Anytime you get an SBC win, it's a big win, especially going on the road,” said Oak Harbor head coach Mike May. “We told our guys that it was going to be slugfest to the end and it was. Edison executed and fired on all cylinders and all the credit goes to them.”
May credited his seniors with helping the group to stay poised and focused.
“It comes down to our senior class,” May said. “We have a senior class that's stuck together and is heavily invested. We've been down in a number of games (this season) and they've keep a level head.”
Oak Harbor running back Mark Konieczny had a great game, running 28 times for 307 yards and three touchdowns. His offensive line was able to consistently open holes for him and he also had several big runs off the option pitch.
“The biggest thing was to get a score back and get rolling,” said Konieczny. “On that last run that sealed it, I didn't get touched by a single defender. That's a credit to the line.”
Quarterback Austin Wiegand completed 7-of-11 passes for 165 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. A.J. Cecil caught all seven of his completions, setting a school record with 165 yards receiving.
One of the key plays of the game came when, with the Rockets trailing 19-14 and facing a third-and-9 from their own 14, Wiegand dropped back and hit Cecil deep down the sideline. Cecil made an incredible over-the shoulder catch around midfield before outrunning the defender for the touchdown to put Oak Harbor ahead for good.
“I literally just ran and caught the ball and (Austin) threw a great ball and I just outran them to the end zone,” Cecil said. “I just needed to step up and make a play.”
This week, the Rockets host Huron, which lost 35-3 last week to Perkins. The Tigers, who are 4-2 and 2-1 in the league, still have a chance to win the conference and can get back into the playoff hunt with a victory against Oak Harbor. Last season, Huron jumped out to a 35-7 lead in the first half before defeating the Rockets 42-20.
The Tigers feature a run-and-shoot offense that employs three-and four-wide-receiver sets and likes to spread things out. Huron has an athletic quarterback in Cody Thompson that creates problems for the defense and several receivers that have play-making ability. It will be up to Oak Harbor to keep the Tigers' offense in check and give themselves a chance to win.