A big play early can often swing momentum in one team’s favor, and that’s just what happened in Oak Harbor’s 42-21 victory over Edison on Friday night in Sandusky Bay Conference action at Rocket Stadium.
On the game’s second play from scrimmage, Edison quarterback Chris Smith raced 59 yards down the sideline before being knocked out of bounds by Rocket safety Cole Weirich at the Oak Harbor 4-yard-line. Then, on first-and-goal, Oak Harbor linebacker Cobi Brough forced a fumble that was recovered by Jourdan Maguire and suddenly the Rockets had dodged a bullet and seized momentum.
Early in the second quarter, Genzman scored from seven yards out to push the lead to 6-0 and Maguire, who converted on all six of his extra-point attempts, connected on the PAT to make it a seven-point lead.
The key play of the drive came on third-and-5 from the Edison 17 when Weirich rolled right and pitched the ball to Andrew Heberling on a reverse that netted 10 yards and set the Rockets up with a first-and-goal at the 7. On the drive, Weirich carried it three times for 42 yards.
Edison’s ensuing drive stalled and Heberling returned the punt 24 yards to the Oak Harbor 48 to give the Rockets good field position. Oak Harbor proceeded to drive 52 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 4-yard run by Weirich to make it 14-0. Genzman had two key runs, converting two third downs to help move the chains.
A 48-yard run by Genzman on the Rockets’ next drive help set up Brough, who scored on a two-yard run up the middle to push the lead to 21 with 8:45 remaining in the third quarter. The Chargers were unable to get within 14 points the rest of the contest.
For the game, Genzman finished with 26 carries for 190 yards and two scores and also threw a 44-yard touchdown pass. Weirich carried it 18 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns and was 2-of-3 passing for 10 yards. Heberling had a nice game as well, rushing four times for 66 yards and Brough had five carries for 26 yards and a key touchdown in the third quarter. As a team, the Rockets carried it 59 times for 423 yards.
“Every game, it starts with our offensive line,” Genzman said. “It starts with our offensive line, the tight end, fullback and wide receivers. I don’t touch the ball until they’re three yards downfield, and I have faith that they can open up holes for me. They helped tremendously tonight.”
“Anytime you get a win in the SBC, it’s a big deal,” said Oak Harbor head coach Mike May. “We were able to limit Edison’s big plays on defense and established the run. Give Edison’s kids credit for fighting to the end.”
May also talked about the job his offensive line did in helping to open up running lanes for the backs.
“Our offensive line is starting to gel,” he said. “I think the key was the guys up front. Cole can take it to the house on any play and Ben is our hammer inside. And Kalob Vargas and Andrew Heberling did a nice job filling in to give some of our running backs a break.”
Late in the third quarter, Smith, who also plays safety, picked up a fumble for the Chargers and ran it back 49 yards to get within 21-7, giving Edison new life.
However, Oak Harbor responded to go up 28-7, scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter when Genzman hit tight end Cliff Biggert for a 44-yard touchdown on a halfback pass on third-and-11.
Edison was able to get within 35-21 and recovered an onside kick, driving to the Rocket 41 before Keegan Hall’s pass was intercepted by Maguire with 2:30 to play, effectively ending the game.
For Edison, which fell to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the SBC, Smith carried it eight times for 111 yards and score, but was just 1-of-6 passing for five yards and an interception. Fullback Austin Utter had 11 carries for 51 yards and Luke Hagelberger finished with four carries for 36 yards.
“I think it was a tough matchup for us size wise,” said Edison head coach Jim Hall. “They’re very big up front and we’re not. I’m proud of our kids’ effort, but size does matter.”