High school football rivalries always stir up excitement for avid home town fans, particularly leading up to this coming Friday night’s game in Ottawa County when the Oak Harbor Rockets and Port Clinton Redskins renew their gridiron rivalry.
Dating back to 1925, with the occasional lapses in play (1961-66, 68-73, 77-83), the Redskins-Rockets is a clash of generational proportions.
To date, Oak Harbor holds a substantial lead in the overall record with 47 wins, 27 losses and 5 ties.
Port Clinton takes on Oak Harbor at the Rockets Field in Oak Harbor on Friday, with a 7 p.m. kick-off. Mayor Mike Snider of Port Clinton and Mayor Quinton Babcock of Oak Harbor have announced the friendly wager on the outcome of Friday’s pigskin classic.
Coming off the most recent Redskins win in 2021, the colorful Snider is feeling chipper, as always.
“Our team has been putting in the work and they’re ready to win,” said Snider, who played for the Redskins more than three decade ago. “As Babcock knows from last year, our team prefers piping-hot pizza with a perfectly baked crust. They deserve the best.”
At stake is enough pizza to feed the winning team’s Senior Class members.
Should the Redskins win, Babcock will drive to Port Clinton to feed Port Clinton’s senior team members while wearing Redskins colors. Should the Rockets prevail, Snider will deliver pizza to Oak Harbor’s seniors while wearing their distinctive red, white, and green.
“This is the Rockets year,” said Babcock. He exudes confidence despite last year’s loss.
“We have another hardworking team and the homefield advantage, so clearly it’s Snider who needs to worry about keeping the pizza warm for the westerly drive down State Route 163!”
“This is the fourth year Quintin and I have done this, and it’s a friendly wager between two communities with a lot of pride in their athletes,” said Snider. “It is also another way of showing both of our teams that we really support them.”
It’s a year-end rivalry that used to be played on Thanksgiving Day.
“We each have a chance of giving our players and fans bragging rights for 364 days until we can do it again,” said Snider. “Our towns are so close, about 20 miles apart.”
High school football is a serious sport, and athletes prepare year-round to make the playoffs — and challenge their local rivals. Friendly banter and piping-hot pizzas aside, both mayors agree the wager is about recognizing the history of this local rivalry, and the meaning the game has to both communities.
Hall of Fame Coach Gary Quisno of Oak Harbor often shakes a finger at Port Clinton fans, many long-time friends, with a big smile. Quisno had only one loss in the rivalry with Port Clinton, where he grew up and still lives.
It’s always been a friendly rivalry, and fans can’t wait to get back to work on Monday morning to talk about the game.
“It will be just a little more fun for my family and friends if Babcock has to go east to present the Redskins their winning pizza,” said Snider, “but he and I have a lot of shared local interests to talk about, too, like the new Art Corridor between the two communities and the scenic Portage River Water Trail that connects the towns.”
Both teams are in the rugged Bay Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference. Oak Harbor is 8-1 and coming off a stunning victory over Willard, 63-7. Port Clinton is 5-4 after a close loss to Huron, 27-26.
It’s the last game of the regular season for both schools, and you know they’ll both be eager to capture bragging rights and a piece of that pie.