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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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First-year Oak Harbor football coach Mike May doesn't have Eastwood's game plan in his back pocket, but he pretty much knows what to expect when his Rockets host the Eagles on Sept. 5.
May was an assistant coach at Elmwood in 1996-97 and 1999, when the Royals and Eagles squared off for Suburban Lakes League supremacy.

"That was a huge rivalry and still is," May said.

"They play each other for a Log every year. Our kids at Elmwood always got pretty excited for that week and Eastwood did, also. Those were always tough games.
"Coach (Jerry) Rutherford runs a tough program and they're fundamentally sound. Year in and year out, they're always up there in the SLL. I have tremendous respect for him and his program."

Rutherford's Eagles opened the season with a 34-17 loss at Clyde, the preseason favorite in the Sandusky Bay Conference. Oak Harbor was picked to finish third in the SBC, but opened the season with a 58-14 home loss to Springfield.

"We had a lot of kids in their first varsity action and they were a little shell-shocked at the beginning because of Springfield's speed," May said. "We tried to do some things on defense, but one of the big keys was we need to control the ball on offense and we didn't do a good job of that.

We had too many three-and-outs and negative yardage plays."
It was the first game Oak Harbor played without coach Gary Quisno in 30 years. Quisno is now the coach at Sandusky Perkins.

The Rockets traveled to Genoa (1-0) on Friday before hosting Eastwood next week. May said his team didn't dwell on the season-opening loss.

"One of our goals by our senior captiains is to be 1-0 every week," May said. "We focus on that. We don't look ahead or look behind. We want to be 1-0 and improve every week - just try to be prepared and ready for Friday night the best we can."

Eastwood, which hosted Rossford (0-1) on Friday, lost two fumbles that Clyde turned into scores in the Eagles' loss last week.

"Turnovers hurt us," Rutherford said. "I'm not saying it would have been a different game, but obviously it would have been a lot closer. It was our first game and a lot of guys' first game. Our quarterback (Jason Faykosh) was 12-for-14 for 150 yards and two touchdown passes, so we were pleased with his performance."

Rutherford said suiting up against Clyde and Oak Harbor year in and year out gets the Eagles prepared for SLL competition.

"Playing Clyde and Oak Harbor, two of the top teams in the SBC, you'll find out how good you are," Rutherford said. "They're going to be really physical. Oak Harbor's kids will still be tough and physical. I can't imagine there will be much change there. I think it's a good rivalry.

"It's a good game for us and a good game for them. It's one team we definitely would like to keep on our schedule. It's a good Game 3 for us. Some years they have a big, physical team and we've gotten guys hurt in that game. It was a concern. You know you're going to be hit when you play Oak Harbor."

The two programs resumed playing each other in 2001, with the Rockets winning the first two games in the series. Eastwood won in 2003 and 2005, with Oak Harbor winning in 2004 and 2006.

The Eagles won last year's contest 21-0, and both teams advanced to the state playoffs.
Do Eastwood's players view Oak Harbor as a big rival?

"It's not like an Elmwood or Otsego (game)," Rutherford said. "Oak Harbor is still kind of far away. But it's still going to be a good, well-played, hard hitting game."

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