Things are about to get tougher.
The Oak Harbor High School football team defeated Rogers 35-7 Friday, Sept. 22, at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup to lift its record to 4-0.
The combined record of the teams the Wildcats dispatched in the first half of their schedule is 4-12. Now Oak Harbor will face three teams in the next four weeks that were ranked in the top 10 of the state Associated Press 3A poll last week: Ferndale, fourth; Squalicum, seventh; and Arlington, 10th. Their combined record is 14-2 after Ferndale handed Arlington its first loss, 41-13, and Squalicum was upset 36-28 by Stanwood Friday.
Oak Harbor hosts defending league champion Squalicum at 7 p.m. this Friday, Sept. 29; entertains Ferndale Oct. 13; and goes to Arlington Oct. 20.
Squalicum’s stunning loss to previously winless Stanwood was the Storms’ first regular-season setback since 2014.
Regardless, Squalicum, averaging 45.5 points per game, will show up at Wildcat Memorial Stadium with the second-ranked 3A offense in Washington, according to Oak Harbor coach Jay Turner.
The Storms’ defense, however, has not been as stellar, yielding 37.25 points a game.
Oak Harbor, on the other hand, scores 34 points per game and gives up 10.
“Huge game this week,” Turner said. “Their running backs are fast and their offensive line is huge.
“The key this week will be if we can get stops on defense and get the ball back to our offense. You don’t want them to get into a rhythm offensively.”
Oak Harbor 35, Rogers 7
TJ Hollins-Passmore returned the second-half kickoff 90 yards to the Rams’ 5-yard line.
“(It) was the key play of the game as it really kick started the second half for us,” Turner said. “After that we never looked back.”
Soon after the big return, Mac Nunez scored on a three-yard run, and Oak Harbor led 19-7.
Later in the quarter, Nuanez scored again, this time bolting through the middle of the Rogers’ defense on a fourth-and-four play for a 37-yard TD romp. Jordan Bell threw to Nuanez for the two-point conversion.
In the fourth quarter, Andrew Miller scored from five yards out, and Bell tossed to Hollins-Passmore for the points-after.
Oak Harbor tallied twice in the first quarter: Hollins-Passmore scored on a 3-yard run and Kyle Nickols scored on a 24-yard pass from Bell. Bell kicked the PAT after the first TD.
Rogers scored in the second period on a short drive after an interception.
The Rams struggled all night against the Oak Harbor defense, Turner said, and never put together a substantial drive.
“It was a great team effort on defense as all 11 guys were getting to the football,” Turner said. “I thought that Hunter Bos had a really good game up front.”
Bos squared off with an offensive lineman who outweighed him by 100 pounds but had “a field day against him,” Turner added.
The Wildcat linebacking crew (Isaac Gomez, Aaron Martinez and Nickols) “played their normal outstanding game,” Turner said.
“The DB’s — TJ Passmore, Andrew Miller, Mac Car, Dorian Hardin — had great coverage all game with no coverage breakdowns.”
Nuanez (140 yards, 31 carries) and Hollins-Passmore (104, 15) each passed the century mark in rushing. Hollins-Passmore also had 15 receiving and 107 return yards.
Bell hit eight of 15 passes for 71 yards. Nickols caught three for 41.
The Wildcats finished with 378 yards of offense.