Oak Hall Dominates in Front of Homecoming Crowd Against Rocky Bayou, 49-14
Gainesville, FL. Written By: Wes Trotta
The field was wet, the ball was wet, and the players hands were wet, but that didn’t stop the Oak Hall Eagles from putting the ball in the air during their 49-14 win over the Rocky Bayou Christian Knights.
Friday night’s game at Oak Hall was an important one for the Eagles. It was homecoming night, which can pull players attention away from the game throughout the week.
“There’s so many distractions, I’m not going to lie,” head coach Rj Fuhr said. “I’m glad homecoming week is over.”
Not only was it their homecoming night, but there were special guests in stadium. The 1979 state championship team was in the house.
Led by quarterback Cole Gonzales, the Eagles did not get off to the fast start that they wanted, but they were able to score first. A long drive was capped off when running back Ryan Nolan took the handoff, hesitated and weaved through the defense for a score.
Down six early, the Knights responded with a touchdown pass from Aaron Grabinger to Ryan Duncan. This score gave the Knights their first lead. For much of the first half, the Eagles and Knights exchanged blows.
Gonzales connected with Andrew Pickins for an Eagles’ score. The Knights countered that with a long pass play to receiver Zach Balthazar. Balthazar was active all night, making big plays on offense and defense.
If not for some early turnovers, the Eagles may have had a large lead. Instead, they trailed 13-14 midway through the second quarter.
From this point on, Gonzales gained control of this game and started scoring at will. He threw perfect passes to all his receivers. When his receivers were not open, he would use his legs to gain yards.
He also used his legs to score the next touchdown to give the Eagles a lead. They would never give up this lead.
When Gonzales is running around, it’s not always to gain yards, but it buys time.
“When he’s rolling a round, I know to change my routes and get open,” Nolan said. “'Cause he’s going to throw it to me and I know he’s going to put it on the spot.”
On the next Eagles possession, Gonzales scrambled and found fellow captain Zhai Smith for a touchdown.
Going into halftime with a 28-14 lead, Coach Fuhr knew that his team could allow his team to back off, “Don’t let up,” Coach Fuhr added. “This is too good of a football team.”
His team definitely did not let up, coming out hot in the second half. The Eagles defense were able to make a red zone stop when Smith stripped the runner and recovered it.
Smith was impressive the entire game, but after this turnover that he forced, he had his most impressive moment.
Getting behind the defense, Smith had the ball slip through his hands. But, it’s what happened after this moment that stood out.
He picked himself up off the soaked field, ran back to the line and did it again. This time on a perfect corner route, Smith made the catch for a huge gain to kickstart the Eagles’ drive.
“We have confidence in him, everyone’s going to drop a ball,” said coach Fuhr, “especially in these conditions.”
That drive was capped off by another impressive throw from Gonzales to Nolan in the back corner of the end zone.
Passing and running for touchdowns is always a sign of a good game for a quarterback, but Gonzales added one more impressive play to his performance.
At halftime, he was told that they were putting him in on defense, “I’m ready,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales stepped in front of a pass and returned it for six, Capping off an incredible performance for him.
The Eagles final dagger came late in the third quarter when Carter Coleman powered past the goal line. This put the Eagles up 49-14 with zero need to score again.
“We played excellent,” Gonzales said. “It feels great to show them what Oak Hall can do,” Gonzales said of playing in front of the 1979 team.
Player of The Game
Cole Gonzales, Quarterback: 3 TD passes, 1 TD run and a pick-6.