Despite outplaying Huron significantly in the first half, Oak Harbor, because of several miscues, among them a fumble at the Tigers five-yard-line with a chance to push the lead to 14-0, had just a 7-6 lead at halftime.
In the second half, however, the Rockets got their act together and scored two touchdowns in the third quarter and had a goal-line stand to take control of the game before winning 27-14.
On Oak Harbor's first possession of the second half, the Rockets ran the ball on seven of their eight plays, consistently moving the ball with Mark Konieczny and Ben Genzman before Konieczny scored from three yards out. Jourdan Maguire's extra point pushed to lead to 14-6, and the Rockets sustained control of the game.
Oak Harbor held Huron on defense again before scoring to make it a 21-6 game. On the drive, A.J. Cecil caught a 23-yard pass from Austin Wiegand to help key the drive before Konieczny scored from seven yards out.
“I thought we came out and were physical and got after it,” said Oak Harbor head coach Mike May. “Defensively, I thought we played pretty well. We gave up the one big play in the first half. Other than that, we were able to hold Thompson in check, which is never easy to do. In the second half our offensive line took over the game.”
Oak Harbor's defense was able to hold Huron quarterback Cody Thompson in check, limiting him to 99 yards on 22 carries. Throughout the evening, the Rocket linebackers were able to contain Thompson and prevent him from making big plays.
With the win, Oak Harbor improves to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the Sandusky Bay Conference. Huron, meanwhile, drops to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the SBC.
The difference in the game was Oak Harbor's offensive line. Center Zane Troknya, guards Mitch Hayslett and Nate Segaard, right tackle Dalton Reau and the combination of Aaron Hopkins and Vince Szabo at left tackle were able to exert their will on the Huron defensive line, consistently opening holes for Konieczny and Genzman.
Konieczny finished with 31 carries for 178 yards and two touchdowns. On top of that, he broke the school's career rushing record of 2,885 yards that was held by 1995 graduate Roger Hamilton, who played collegiately at the University of Findlay.
Genzman served as a nice complement to the rushing attack, carrying the ball 14 times for 67 yards and a score.
“It's exciting (to get the record). I hope the line's as excited as I am.”
The game's key play came late in the third quarter when Huron, facing a fourth-and-goal from the Oak Harbor one-yard-line, was stopped short when Brough and Jamie Balboa tackled running back Dom Maschari to end the Tigers' threat.
After Huron missed a field goal on the game's first possession, Wiegand connected with A.J. Cecil on a 37-yard score midway through the first quarter to make it 7-0. Cecil caught two passes for 60 yards and a score and Wiegand connected on 4-of-5 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.
This week, the Rockets travel to Clyde to face the Flyers, who are 3-4, though each of their losses have come against quality teams. Clyde, which was the preseason pick to win the league, has struggled with injuries this season, most notably to running back Brad Smith, the SBC Player of the Year last season.
This will likely be one of Oak Harbor's toughest games this season, but, should they pull it out, they'll be in good position heading into the stretch run.