The Oak Hall Eagles head into the Class 2A regional semifinal game against Foundation Academy this Friday at 7 p.m.
This year’s Oak Hall team is young. Over half of the team is made up of sophomores, including starting quarterback Cole Gonzales. Despite the relative inexperienced nature of this Eagles team, they dominated their first playoff game last Friday. The Eagles toppled over the St. Francis Catholic High Wolves with by score of 47-0. According to head coach RJ Fuhr, this was the team’s first playoff win. Although the win last Friday was a major milestone for the Eagles, Fuhr is striving for more.
A large reason for the success of the Eagles is how coachable the players are. Fuhr admires the players and their ability to adapt and change based on their opponents and the various offenses and defenses the team sets. The Oak Hall offense is led by sophomore quarterback Cole Gonzales. Gonzales has thrown for 1,877 yards with 22 touchdowns and just four interceptions. The young quarterback is looking to lead his team into their second playoff win this Friday.
According to coach Fuhr, Oak Hall’s offense has previously been defined by large running backs on offense. However, this year the team is much smaller. The offense has had to change things up to fit this type of personnel. For the Eagles, this means playing in the shotgun formation more as well as running a spread offense.
On the defensive side of the ball, Oak Hall appears rather advanced for a high school team. Coach Fuhr says that the team runs four to five coverages on the back end and three different fronts on defense. Fuhr believes that their ability to transform on defense could be the key to continued success in the playoffs. The Eagles’ defense has not given up more than 18 points to their opponents, with the exception of Evangelical Christian.
Foundation Academy’s team this year finished their regular season with an 8-2 record. The Lions earned themselves a bye in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs. The Lions are led by senior quarterback Henry Austad. Austad has thrown for 2,649 yards with 28 touchdowns and six interceptions.
According to Fuhr, the team is rather large for a 2A team and has speed up front. The key for Oak Hall’s defense is to get to Austad quickly and neutralize the speed the team has up front.