After a tough 5-5 season last year, Eastwood appears to be back to its old form.
Behind a number of big plays, the Eagles took control early before defeating Oak Harbor, 56-7, on Friday night at Freedom Field in Luckey.
After both teams traded possessions, Eastwood's Michael Flipse returned a punt 60 yards for a score to give the Eagles the lead and they never looked back.
On the play, Flipse ran up the middle and cut to the left before outrunning the Rocket defenders to the end zone for the score. Lucas McCullough, who made all eight of his extra-point attempts, made it 7-0 with the PAT.
Eastwood made it 14-0, scoring on a 4-yard run by Grant Geiser to finish off a 42-yard drive that begin in Oak Harbor territory.
The Eagles then recovered an onside kick before Rocket linebacker Cobi Brough recovered a fumble at the 17-yard-line. Oak Harbor, however, went three-and-out and Eastwood scored on the third play of their ensuing drive when Devin Snowden ran it in from 48 yards outs.
Brent Schlumbohm pushed the Eastwood advantage to 28-0 when he ran it in from three yards out to complete a 50-yard drive. Quarterback Jake Schmeltz made the key play, running for 12 yards on a draw on third-and-9 from the 34.
Oak Harbor got on the board, cutting the deficit to 28-7 when Cole Weirich took the pitch off a reverse from quarterback Andre Ramsey and raced down the sidelines 82 yards to give the Rockets new life.
Oak Harbor was able to force a punt, and, with under a minute remaining in the second quarter, tried to get another score before halftime.
However, Ramsey threw an interception and the Eagles responded, scoring on a 38-yard pass from Schmeltz to Flipse with 20 seconds remaining.
“That punt return right away was key,” said Eastwood head coach Jerry Rutherford. “The exact same thing happened to them last week against Genoa. When they ran that reverse with Weirich and got it to 28-7 and then stopped us and got the ball back, they had a chance there. But they threw the interception and we were able to score right before the half and make it 35-7 instead of 28-7 or possibly 28-14.”
Last season, the Rockets edged the Eagles, 28-21, in a hard-fought game that went down to the wire.
In the second half, Eastwood put the game away on its opening drive, making it 42-7 when Schlumbohm scored on a 4-yard-run with 9:42 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles' ground game was the difference in the game. The Eagles ran it 41 times for 322 yards and had three running backs finish with at least yards on the ground. Snowden carried it 10 times for 83 yards and a score, Schlumbohm had 11 carries for 72 yards and two touchdowns and Brennan Seifert ran it three times for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Weirich, who recently moved from quarterback to wide receiver, had two carries for 86 yards and a touchdown and Kalob Vargas carried it 12 times for 42 yards. Ramsey completed 4-of-8 passes for 49 yards with an interception.
This week, the Rockets travel to Port Clinton to face the Redskins.