Fuhr talks to lineman
Oak Hall head coach RJ Fuhr talks to eighth grade lineman AJ Taylor during a timeout in the Eagles 54-7 win over Saint Francis on Sep. 27.

Oak Hall hosts district rival Saint Francis in Rematch of Week 6 Matchup

Oak Hall achieved an undefeated season in 2016 and became champions of the North Florida Football Conference (NFFC). Three years later, the Eagles have a chance at another postseason run.

Friday is Oak Hall’s second home playoff game since its undefeated 2016 season and this will be the second year in a row the Eagles get to host a playoff game since it being reclassified as a Class 2A School.

“I think it’s a big deal for our players and our student body,” said Oak Hall head coach RJ Fuhr. “Our school spirit is higher now than it’s been in my six years here. There is a nice buzz around school about the program.”

Three-seeded Oak Hall is matched up against six seed Saint Francis. Oak Hall came to Saint Francis during Week Six of this season and handed it to its rival, 54-7. This week, Saint Francis will attempt to return the favor.

“I feel like being the underdog gives us something to prove,” said Saint Francis head coach Scott McDaniel. “Hopefully we will be willing to claw, scratch and fight to come out on top. The loss earlier in the season has been a source of motivation for us this week.”

Two interceptions returned for touchdowns proved to be the spark for the Eagles’ defense in its victory over Saint Francis in September.

“Coach Rawls takes pride in our defense forcing turnovers and if possible scoring on defense,” Fuhr said. “We tell our kids that good things happen when all 11 hats are on the ball.”

Keys to the game

In addition to maintaining ball security, Saint Francis must also contain sophomore quarterback Cole Gonzales. Gonzales tallied two rushing scores against the Wolves last game.

“In order for us to win we are going to need to play physical football on both lines of scrimmage,” McDaniel said. “Oak Hall’s QB is extremely talented. He killed us in the run game last time.”

As for Oak Hall, Fuhr is ensuring that his team keeps a level head.

“We are stressing to our team that everyone is 0-0 right now,” Fuhr said. “It doesn’t matter what happened earlier in the year. It is difficult to beat a team twice, so it’s our job as coaches to keep them focused.”

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