Coach: Mike May, first year, 0-0.
Last Year: 8-3 (6-1 Sandusky Bay Conference).
Forecast: May has the task of keeping the Rockets rolling after coach Gary Quisno, who is now at Sandusky Perkins, led the program to a 224-83 record in 29 years. Oak Harbor, which lost in the first round of the playoffs to Marion Pleasant last fall, made eight playoff appearances under Quisno.
"There's an old saying in football that you never want to follow a legend, but I saw it as an advantage," May said. "He left the program in such great shape. Everything was intact coming in. He and his staff did such a great job over the years. The kids already knew how to work hard and they are used to discipline and have been fundamentally sound over the years. There are a lot of advantages to following coach Quisno."
May spent eight years as the defensive coordinator at St. Mary's Memorial, and before that he spent three years as an assistant coach at Elmwood. He was also an assistant coach at Ohio Northern for one year.
May said he is keeping the same wing-T offense the Rockets ran for nearly three decades under Quisno.
"I played in this offense in college at Defiance, and the two schools I coached at previously were both wing-T schools," May said. "I've just always followed the wing-T offense and studied it. It's one of the best offenses you can run in high school."
Directing the offense will be either junior quarterback Brad Perry or sophomore Steve Young.
"They're competing for the job and both are very coachable and athletic and do a good job running the offense," May said.
Dustin Hernandez, a 225-pounder and one of two returning starters on offense, will get plenty of handoffs in the backfield along with halfbacks Jimmy Vassello, a senior, and junior Brock Harder. Nick Priesman and Matt Klippstein should also see action.
The Rockets' main receiving threats will be seniors Andrew Hopkins and Anthony Lattimore and junior tight end Mike Mallernee. Center Skylor Blay, a part-time starter in 2007, and guard Andy Krieger anchor the offensive line.
Oak Harbor will stick with its 4-3 defense, led by Blay, Krieger and Zach Sandwisch at tackle and Drew Bahnsen at end. The linebackers will be Hernandez, Harder, Mallernee and Hopkins, who may switch to the backfield.
Vassello is a returning starter at safety, and there are a number of candidates at cornerback, including Anthony Lattimore. Tom Tabbert returns at kicker.
Oak Harbor was picked by the coaches to finish third in the SBC this season behind Clyde and Huron.
"We need senior leadership and we're going to need a number of juniors to be ready to step up and play," May said. "We need to improve every day and take a step forward every day."