After completing an undefeated regular season and receiving a first-round bye heading into the playoffs, the Oak Hall Eagles entered their state semi-final matchup against the Merritt Island Mustangs with high hopes. A potential State Championship birth was on the line. Fortunately, their goals were achieved and Oak Hall handled Merritt Island by a final of 34-12.
Early Breaks Favor Merritt Island
The game started with many key plays that often went the way of Merritt Island. The Mustangs began the game with the ball. On their first possession, they were forced to punt. During the punt, the long snapper launched that ball over the head of the punter. Shockingly, he was able to run back to the goal line, pick up the ball and execute a successful 50-yard punt. Then, shortly after Oak Hall took a 6-0 lead, Merritt Island received another fortunate break. Specifically, the Mustangs were able to convert a crucial 4th down at mid-field, thanks to a defensive pass interference call. Merritt then turned that call into 6 points and tie the game at 6-6. The Mustang’s luck soon ran out and Oak Hall took over from there.
Second Half Domination
While the first half was rather hotly contested, Oak Hall proved the dominant team in the 2nd half. After receiving the 2nd half kickoff, the Eagles quickly drove down the field and extended the lead with a Jalen Scott rushing touchdown. On their next possession, the Eagles scored another touchdown courtesy of Andrew Pickens, again on the ground. After their first two drives of the 2nd half, the Eagles had widened their small halftime lead to 26-6. From that point on, Oak Hall remained in control and cruised to victory.
Next week, Oak Hall gets the opportunity to achieve their ultimate goal, win a state championship. The Eagles will face All Saints’ Academy who they already played and beat 20-13 earlier this season. When Oak Hall head coach R.J. Fuhr was asked how he is going to prepare for a team he has already faced this season, he said, “We do what we do; we are a single-wing team, there is not a whole lot we are going to change, that’s who we are”. Considering their recent dominance, if Oak Hall continues to operate in its run-heavy system, it will be difficult to stop.