After two first downs, the Crimson Flashes used a double reverse pass to score and tack on the two-point conversion.
Then, an onside kick was recovered by Willard's Sage Fox.
Suddenly, the Crimson Flashes led Division III No. 5 Oak Harbor with the ball inside Rocket territory.
But, order was quickly restored.
Oak Harbor exploded for eight first-half touchdowns — six from Clay Schulte — as the Rockets defeated Willard, 58-38, in Sandusky Bay Conference Bay division action.
"Willard came out and threw some trick plays at us," Oak Harbor coach Mike May said. "They got some big plays. Offensively, I thought we played consistent offensively the entire first half with our older guys in there. They really could not stop us."
The Rockets improve to 9-0 overall and 4-0 in SBC action. The win clinches at least a share of a second straight league title for Oak Harbor. The Rockets will have the chance to win the title outright next Friday at Port Clinton (4-5, 2-2).
An 11-yard run by Jon Rothhaar gave Willard it's opening first down and on the next play, a face mask penalty against Oak Harbor gave the Flashes (0-9, 0-4) the ball inside Rockets territory.
A double reverse ended up back in the hands of Willard quarterback Cooper Parrott, who hit a wide-open Dario Lopez for the 48-yard pass. The tricky play by the Flashes continued, as on the two-point conversion, Parrott went out wide and hauled in the pass from Cooper Wiers.
"We went into the game with nothing to lose," Willard coach Kade Long said. "We just wanted to play the game we all love. You only get a short amount of time to play it."
Willard made it a trio of plays when they recovered the onside kick at the Oak Harbor 44. The Flashes turned the ball over on downs and the Rockets went to work. It did not take long though, as Schulte exploded for a 55-yard touchdown run up the middle. OH quarterback Jac Alexander ran in the two-point conversion run and the game was tied.
After a Willard three-and-out, Alexander found Buddy Nuhfer in stride for a 44-yard score. The Flashes punted again and Alexander kickstarted the drive with a 39-yard run that was aided by a face mask penalty. Schulte then scored from three yards out. Caleb Heintz added the extra point and the Rockets led, 22-8.
"We went man to try to stop their run," Long said. "We packed as many dudes in the box as we could. That is a credit to Oak Harbor's offensive line. Those kids are ready to go."
The stiff defense of Oak Harbor continued, as another three-and-out set the Rockets' offense up in good field position. After a short pass, Schulte scored his third touchdown - this one on a 27-yard run with 1:40 left in the first quarter.
Willard put together another nice drive as the second quarter began. Parrott continued to pass well when given time. He hit Lopez for seven yards and a first down. Later, facing fourth-and-one at the 50, Parrott threw a short screen pass to Lopez who broke a few tackles and was off to the end zone. Parrott faked a run and tossed the two-point conversion to Rothhaar.
But, as they have done in many games this year, Oak Harbor responded in a big way. Schulte scored from three yards out — one play after Alexander scrambled for a 33-yard pickup. After Willard turned the ball over on downs in its own territory, Alexander busted through the line for a 32-yard score with 8:17 left in the second quarter.
Alexander forced the only turnover in the first half when he intercepted Parrott and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown. The score was negated by a late holding penalty, but Alexander hit Schulte on a swing pass on the first play for a 17-yard score.
Schulte added his sixth touchdown of the half and fifth on the ground when he ran in from 18 yards out with 3:24 left in the half.
Oak Harbor out-gained Willard, 330-154 in the half. The Rockers ran 12 times for 248 yards in the two quarters.
The Flashes did control the second half, even eliminating the running clock midway through the fourth quarter. Lopez had a seven-yard touchdown before Parrott added two touchdown passes — one to Trey Paxton for 16 yards and another to Hayden Meisner for 34 yards.
"We preached all night not to give up on each other," Long said. "We had to fight until literally the last second. I am super proud of them not giving up on each other. We fought, no matter what the situation was."
Schulte ran seven times for 118 yards while Alexander added five carries for 130 yards.
"Hopefully we can build on this," Long said. "We have a big week coming up for us against Vermilion. We will go back to work Monday and get ready."
Parrott completed 28 of 45 passes for 363 yards.
Willard 8 8 8 14 — 38
Oak Harbor 29 29 0 0 — 58
WIL — Dario Lopez 48 pass from Cooper Parrott (Parrott pass Cooper Wiers)
OAK — Clay Schulte 55 run (Jac Alexander run)
OAK — Buddy Nuhfer 44 pass from Alexander (Caleb Heintz kick)
OAK — Schulte 8 run (Heintz kick)
OAK — Schulte 27 run (Heintz kick)
WIL — Lopez 50 pass from Parrott (Jon Rothhaar pass from Parrott)
OAK — Schulte 3 run (Alexander run)
OAK — Alexander 32 run (Heintz kick)
OAK — Schulte 17 pass from Alexander (Heintz kick)
OAK — Schulte 18 run (Heintz kick)
WIL — Lopez 7 run (Trey Paxton pass from Parrott)
WIL — Paxton 16 pass from Parrott (Lopez pass from Parrott)
WIL — Lopez 34 pass from Parrott (no attempt)