Head Coach: Mike May, 6th year, 26-24
Last Year: 7-3 (5-2 SBC)
Outlook: Despite having lost a number of key players from last season, including all-time leading rusher Mark Konieczny, the Oak Harbor Rockets expect to pick up right where they left off in 2012.
The team has just eight returning starters, four on both offense and defense, but those players are quite skilled. Ben Genzman, who moves over from fullback to tailback, will see the bulk of the carries this season as he looks to replace the production lost from the graduation of Konieczny. Genzman, who also plays linebacker, will team with fullback Cobi Brough in the backfield, though Brough's most known for playing linebacker, where he earned All-Ohio honors last season for his performance. The other two returning starters, WR/LB Cliff Biggert and WR/DB Cole Weirich, bring with them experience and big-play capabilities.
“We lost a good senior class,” head coach Mike May said. “We lost our all-time leading rusher, our top receiver and four of our five offensive linemen, but I feel like the guys stepping in are doing a nice job. I like the offensive line; they've put the work in and they're ready to go. Ben Genzman moves over and will play tailback for us and Cobi Brough will be our starting fullback. We also have Cliff Biggert and Cole Weirich back at receiver.”
Despite replacing four starters on the offensive line, May is quite confident in his bunch. The only returning starter, left tackle Aaron Hopkins (6-3, 240), will be accompanied by fellow tackle T.J. Lawrence (6-2, 265), guards Alex Heintz (6-2, 190) and Vince Szabo (275) and either Matt Laughlin (5-9, 195) or Josh Beckhusen (5-9, 185). Senior Josh Sarahman will play tight end.
Offensively, the Rockets will look to establish the run and hit some big plays over the top with the pass when the opportunity presents itself. Oak Harbor has long been known for its rushing attack, and this year will be no different.
The X-factor in all of this may be quarterback Andre Ramsey. Ramsey, a junior, is athletic and could provide some problems with his running abilities.
“(Andre) is coming along well,” May said. “He's probably the most coachable kid on the team. He went to some camps over the summer and he's been throwing on his own. He's put a lot of work in.”
In each of the last three seasons, the Rockets have gone a combined 20-10 and finished 5-2 in the SBC each time, just missing out on a league title and a spot in the playoffs in 2010 and '12. If Oak Harbor is able to get over the hump this season, it will have to be because of the defense. In the team's three losses last year, the Rockets gave up an average of 50 points. In their seven wins, they yielded just 15.3.
Oak Harbor, which runs a 4-4, focuses, above all, on limiting big plays from their opponents.
The defensive line has size in the middle with Lawrence, Szabo and Hopkins at the tackles and Dillon Glass, Brandon Hymore and Josh Beckhusen at the ends. And the linebacking core of Biggert, Brough, Genzman and junior Jonathan Frederick has some big-play potential as well. Finally, the secondary has Sarahman patrolling things as the safety with Weirich at one of the corners and Adam Swope and Kalob Vargas battling for the other cornerback spot.
“We're pretty much a bend but don't break defense,” May said. “The strength of our defense this year could be our linebackers, which hasn't been the case in the past. There is a lot of potential there.”