Rockets clinch playoff spot with win over Willard

BY YANEEK SMITH, BEACON CONTRIBUTOR

OAK HARBOR — After watching Willard take an early lead on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Alex Strayer to Dario Lopez, Oak Harbor scored the game’s next 29 points to cruise to a 58-32 victory over the Crimson Flashes (0-9, 0-4 SBC Bay).

Following Willard’s opening touchdown, which also included a two-point conversion, the Rockets (9-0, 0-4) scored on a 55-yard touchdown run by Clay Schulte, and Jac Alexander ran it in on the two-point conversion with 8:16 to play in the first quarter to tie the score at 8-8. Later in the quarter, Alexander hit Buddy Nuhfer on a 44-yard touchdown pass, and Caleb Heintz made it 15-8, giving Oak Harbor the lead for good.

Schulte added two touchdown runs (8, 26 yards) and made it 29-8 after one quarter.

“I thought Willard came out and threw everything at us. There were some trick plays and onside kicks. We faced some adversity,” said Oak Harbor coach Mike May. “It was the first time we’ve been behind all season, (but) our guys did a good job of settling in. The offensive line really opened things up for Jac and Clay, and Buddy Nuhfer had a big touchdown.”

Two offensive line replacements have filled in nicely.
“We have two starters out — Ryan Rodriguez and Reese Laughlin,” said May. “Aidan Hall has stepped in at center and Ian Bolander has stepped in for Reese at guard. They’ve both done a good job.”

Schulte scored three more touchdowns in the second quarter, two via the run (3, 18 yards) and one on a 17-yard reception. The other touchdown came on a 32-yard by Alexander.

On Friday, Oak Harbor travels to Port Clinton to face the Redskins. Port Clinton (4-5, 2-2) is coming off a 41-26 loss to Huron.

“(Port Clinton) is going to play hard, they always do. On offense, they do a good job of keeping you off balance with the run and the pass,” said May. “They have some explosive players on offense, (and) we’re going to have to have a great week of practice.”

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