A win would've been nice, too. The Chargers entered Friday’s game as the eighth-ranked team in Division IV Region 14. They would be a near-lock for the playoffs had they won.
Their playoff ticket remains unpunched after a 33-14 loss to the state-ranked Rockets (8-0, 3-0), however. In the moments that decide important games like these, the Chargers (5-3, 2-1) fell short, while Oak Harbor excelled.
“They battled, they fought, they did everything we asked them to do,” Hall said. “We just didn’t execute to the level we had to in a game like this.”
It started on their first promising drive of the game. Trailing 7-0 with 35 seconds left in the first quarter, Thomas Simon was stuffed on a fourth-down quarterback sneak from Oak Harbor's one yard line.
With 5:10 remaining in the first half, the Chargers fumbled a pitch on the Oak Harbor 15. But this time, they caught a break. The Charger defense stopped Oak Harbor on the ensuing drive, and Oak Harbor turned the ball over at its own eight when Jac Alexander kneeled down to catch a low punt snap.
Four plays later, though, the Chargers turned the ball back over on downs. Thomas Simon couldn’t connect with Garrett Scott on fourth down from the seven yard line.
The mistakes only snowballed from there. Edison fumbled twice in its own territory in the second half, and Thomas Simon threw an interception near midfield in the fourth quarter.
“When you put all that together, you can’t do that on their field,” Hall said. “We know that. We just gotta clean those things up.”
To compound the Chargers’ struggles, Oak Harbor capitalized on nearly all the their shortcomings.
Oak Harbor's first touchdown came after Edison fumbled the first snap from scrimmage. After the failed sneak, Jac Alexander led his team on a 99-yard touchdown drive that culminated in his own five-yard rushing TD.
After the Chargers failed to score off Alexander’s punting mishap, Oak Harbor extended its lead to 20-0 with less than a minute left. Alexander threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Clay Schulte.
Alexander finished with 222 yards from scrimmage and four total touchdowns, including two second-half touchdown passes to Tyler May.
In addition to his first-half receiving touchdown, Schulte ran for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Hall knew these were the players he needed to focus on against Oak Harbor, but so does everyone else. There’s a reason Oak Harbor is undefeated. It only takes one mistake against Oak Harbor’s explosive offense. Of Oak Harbor’s five touchdowns on Friday, three went for 30 or more yards.
“We knew coming in that we could play everything right, and it’s still gonna come down to a one-on-one,” Hall said. “We gotta win the one-on-ones, and we didn’t always win them. So that’s the game.”
Despite the outcome, Hall thinks his players can grow from Friday’s loss. The Chargers couldn’t quite match Oak Harbor’s execution with playoff implications on the line. They had chances and squandered them.
But maybe they won’t the next time. The Chargers are still a young team.
“It’s frustrating, but at the same time, this is a young group of guys,” Hall said. “I know you don’t wanna say they’re young in Week 8, but they’re still learning. There’s a lot of pieces and parts to the game that they will get better at.
“It’s part of the process,” he added. “It’s high school football. Our guys gotta appreciate that, understand that, and we gotta build.”
Oak Harbor 7 13 13 0 — 33
Edison 0 0 0 14 — 14
OAK — Clay Schulte 38 run (Caleb Heintz kick good)
OAK — Jac Alexander 5 run (Heintz kick)
OAK — Schulte 32 pass from Alexander (kick failed)
OAK — May 41 pass from Alexander (conversion failed)
OAK — May 15 pass from Alexander (Heintz kick)
EDI — Noah Staley 3 run (Garrett McQuillen kick)
EDI — Jacob Brewer 3 run (McQuillen kick)