BY YANEEK SMITH, BEACON CONTRIBUTOR
Oak Harbor was set to play Elyria Catholic in the second round of the Division V, Region 18 playoffs, but a coronavirus outbreak at ECHS forced the No. 4 Panthers to forfeit their game, 1-0, to the Rockets.
Oak Harbor (4-3), which is seeded 13th in the region, will face a familiar foe in Eastwood, which is ranked fifth. The game, which will be at Freedom Field in Pemberville, starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
The teams are familiar foes, having played from 2001-16, and they also squared off in the regional semifinals last year with the Rockets winning, 34-14.
“We are fairly familiar with Eastwood, we played them for years and in the playoffs last year,” said Oak Harbor coach Mike May. “For our Friday practice, that’s normally a light practice, we got out some of our old Eastwood information and did a little intro for the players.”
The experienced Eagles, who have a 6-1 record, are coming off a 35-0 victory over Apple Creek Waynedale. Eastwood, which runs the Wing-T, averages 32.3 points per game and allows 11.7 per contest. Bryce Koprowski-Kistner leads the rushing attack with with 138 carries for 771 yards and nine touchdowns while Emmet Getz has 65 rushes for 330 yards and five scores. The quarterback, Jared McNulty, has completed 25-of-42 passes for 359 yards and four touchdowns.
“They’re very comparable to last year’s team, they have a lot of guys back,” said May. “They’re a typical Eastwood team — well-coached, and they run the Wing-T to perfection. I’m always impressed with them defensively and they run to the ball so well and are fundamentally sound. They always have good athletes. They really don’t have any weaknesses.”
The Rockets are happy to be playing at this point in the postseason after not knowing if there was going to be a season at all.
“It’s fun and I’m so happy for our players, especially our seniors. Back in the summer, a lot of us didn’t think we’d be able to have a season. We didn’t get the normal workouts in the summer,” said May. “We’re very happy to be playing and to be in the playoffs.”