Slowly but surely, Huron’s offense was able to make big plays when it needed to most before pulling away to defeat Oak Harbor, 34-7, Friday night in Sandusky Bay Conference action at Kalahari Field at Memorial Stadium.
The Tigers (4-2, 2-1 SBC) scored one touchdown in each of the first two quarters to take a 14-0 lead into the half before pulling away with 13 points in the third quarter as they built a 34-point lead.
Huron quarterback Cody Thompson got the Tigers on the board when he scored on a 39-yard run with 6:24 remaining in the opening period. On the touchdown, Thompson, a University of Toledo recruit, darted to the left before eluding defenders and breaking a few tackles and he raced down the middle of the field for the score to put Huron ahead for good.
After the Tigers forced an Oak Harbor (3-3, 2-1 SBC) punt, Thompson was intercepted by Rocket safety Cole Weirich at the Oak Harbor 45-yard-line, swinging momentum in the Rockets’ favor.
Oak Harbor proceeded to drive 32 yards in 11 plays but they were stopped on fourth-and-4 at the Huron 27 when Weirich, who also plays quarterback, was tackled on a draw to the left side.
The Tigers, starting at their 27, went on a 16-play, 73-yard drive that culminated with Thompson running it in from eight yards out on third-and-goal to make it 14-0. Huron had three third-down conversions on the drive and, when facing a fourth-and-goal at the Oak Harbor 3, caught a break when the Rockets jumped offsides to give the Tigers a first down. A fumbled snap on first down that was nearly recovered by the Rockets pushed Huron back to the 9 before Thompson scored two plays later.
“I think anytime you beat a team whose program you respect a lot, it feels nice to get the victory,” said Huron head coach Tony Legando. “I have a lot of respect for Oak Harbor and think Mike (May) runs a good program over there.”
Huron, which was ranked ninth in Division V, Region 16, with 5.75 points heading into the game, still has some work to do as far as Legando is concerned.
“We’ve got to address some issues,” he said. “We couldn’t get any consistency with the running game. We have the personnel to play good defense and I’m very proud of them (for tonight’s performance). To get where we want to go, we have to keep winning.”
The Tigers put the game away with two touchdowns in the third quarter to push the lead to 27-0.
On Huron’s third possession of the third quarter, the Tigers, who were winning the field-position battle for much of the period, drove 42 yards in eight plays, making it 20-0 when Thompson found Zach Souter from two yards out. The pass, which was tipped at the line of scrimmage, took a fortuitous bounced and sailed over the head of several Rocket defenders before landing in the arms of Souter.
After stopping Oak Harbor, a 38-yard punt return set Huron up at the Rocket 12 and, two plays later, Thompson found Tyler Graham in the corner of the end zone to make it 27-0.
“At halftime, I felt pretty good about where we were,” Oak Harbor head coach Mike May said. “We just couldn’t get a drive established. And you have to make plays against a good team (to win). Our guys battled tonight and hats off to Huron.”
Andrew Heberling scored Oak Harbor’s only touchdown, running it in from seven yards out with 2:29 left in the game.