Perkins departed Friday night's game at Oak Harbor with a 48-28 victory over the Rockets, but it was a well-earned, hard-fought win that the Pirates are happy to have after being tested.
Oak Harbor (4-5, 3-3 SBC) scored on its first two possessions to take a 7-0 and 14-7 leads, respectively, in the first quarter before the Pirates rallied to take the lead for good at 21-14 on a 64-yard scamper by running back Dale Irby with 9:28 remaining in the first half. Perkins (9-0, 6-0) pushed the lead to 41-14 after scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter, though the Rockets did fight back to make it interesting.
Irby turned out to be the difference in the game, rushing 18 times for 276 yards and three scores (57, 64, 4) and giving the Oak Harbor defense fits with his speed and quickness. As a team, the Pirates carried the ball 49 times for 419 yards and finished with 451 yards of total offense. John Workman helped to pace the Perkins offense with 12 carries for 57 yards and two scores.
With the win, the Pirates clinched at least a share of their second consecutive Sandusky Bay Conference title.
"First off, I just want to say that Coach May and his staff and his players fought hard tonight," Perkins head coach Jason Ziegler said. "It was a heavyweight fight—their kids battled and our kids battled. Their guys fought, and I knew it was going to be a battle. We made some mistakes, but when it mattered most, our guys stepped up. Our defense played well at times and we were able to hold them."
In the third quarter, the Pirates took control, driving 55 yards in four plays on the opening drive of the second half before scoring on a 3-yard run by Workman. Two plays later, Perkins defense back Vince Scavio intercepted a pass at the Oak Harbor 26-yard-line to set his team up for another score. The Pirates drove 26 yards in eight plays, converting two thirds downs along the way before Trevon Moore scored from three yards out. And Adam Snyder's 6-yard touchdown run with 1:06 remaining in the period made it 41-14.
But Oak Harbor stormed back, scoring on the next play from scrimmage when sophomore Andrew Heberling ran it in from 72 yards out. On the play, he darted to his right, and burst through the hole made by his offensive line before utilizing his speed to outrun the Perkins defenders for the score.
After the Rockets recovered a fumble, Ben Genzman scored from 42 yards out to cut the deficit to 41-28. Oak Harbor then managed to recover an onside kick, but it was nullified because it was grabbed out of the air before it had a chance to touch the ground, a violation of high-school rules.
The Pirates then put the game away, driving 43 yards in eight plays before Irby's 4-yard-run with 6:58 put the game away.
Heberling gave the Perkins defense fits all night, running 13 times for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Genzman had 18 carries for 96 yards and two scores and Cole Weirich had 11 carries for 52 yards before leaving with an injury.
"Overall, I was proud of our kids," said Oak Harbor head coach Mike May. "They came out and battled and fought hard. We battled for four quarters.
"I think our offensive line played really well. Heberling is capable of making plays for us and Ben Geznman ran well, too. But I'm just really proud of our kids."
In the first half, the Rockets took the game's opening drive 65 yards in eight plays, converting a fourth-and-2 at the Perkins 30 on a 12-yard run by Genzman before Heberling took a reverse from Weirich to score from 20 yard out.
The Pirates responded, scoring on the next play from scrimmage when Irby took the handoff on a jet sweep and ran 57 yards for the score to tie it at 7.
Oak Harbor again drove 65 yards, this time on 12 plays before Genzman scored on a 6-yard-run on fourth-and-1. The Rockets also converted two third downs on the drive.