Rockets, Flyers narrowly miss out on league titles

J. Patrick Eaken

The Lake and Oak Harbor boys soccer teams were not league champions, but they came as close as a team can get, finishing as runners-up in their respective leagues.

A break in one or two league games could have made the difference for either team.

Oak Harbor finished 11-4-2 overall, finishing second in the Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division at 7-1-2. Lake was 8-8-2 overall, but their 6-2-2 league mark was good for second in the Northern Buckeye Conference.

The Flyers had six seniors, many of whom had been starting since they were freshmen, and they were determined to win a championship.

“I thought it went great. Obviously, I feel for our seniors not getting a championship,” Lake coach Brian Reed said. “That is what they were shooting for. It was a rough way to go, but I thought we fought pretty hard. The chemistry with having six seniors on the field was huge for us. The chemistry between those guys who grew up together, playing together, is always nice to have. They had their eyes on the prize. They had a rough year their sophomore year without any wins.”

The first meeting with eventual league champion Genoa went Lake’s way, as the Flyers won 5-4 on a last second shot.

“It was exciting. We were up, and then they come back, and they tied it and then they took a lead,” Reed said. “We had Nolan Nowicki, a defender, had a free kick from close to midfield, all the way back to their bleachers, and that tied it up, and then we had a great swatted ball with 10 seconds left to one of our freshmen who finished, so that was the game winner. The boys were ecstatic. It was always nice to get by Genoa, especially with the talent that he (Genoa coach Tim Memmer) had. We were their only league loss this year.

“The Genoa win was huge for us. Being able to beat Rossford is nice because they were league champs last year. I know they had their own problems this year with everything (pandemic) going on. (Rossford senior center forward) Jordan (Clark) — he’s tough to defend, but I thought we did a great job in our games with them.” 

Lake beat Rossford 2-0 and the two teams tied at two goals apiece the second time around. The other obstacle was Eastwood (7-6-3 overall, 4-4-2 NBC), who beat the Flyers 1-0 and then the Flyers and Eagles played to a 1-1 draw.

The Flyers and Comets met a second time at Lake Community Stadium, but this time Genoa prevailed, 6-2. The Flyers were missing four key players, including Jayden Berlin (six goals, one assist), who was out with an ACL injury. A Lake win could have meant a co-championship if both teams won out. The Flyers were that close.

Lake’s offense was led by first team All-Press selection Aidan Wamer, a senior forward who had 39 points on 16 goals and seven assists.

“He played great for us this year. He is not that natural finisher that you want, but he’s just a workhorse. He works hard. He is a great student, too,” Reed said.

Lake senior goalkeeper Luke Heebsh was part of two shutouts and ended the season with 91 saves, but he had to leave the second Genoa game because of an injury. However, he made his mark on the Lake program.

“He was our back-up keeper a few years ago, and then got thrown right into it,” Reed said. “I don’t think he was ready but has really come a long way. He actually broke the save record for a career. He put a lot of work into it and played a lot of club ball. Quite a few of our guys did.”

Oak Harbor was the Bay Division runner-up behind the play of junior attacker Josh Collins (23 goals, eight assists) and senior defender Levi Jacobs (13 goals, 12 assists). Jacobs, a four-year letter winner, and sophomore goalkeeper Danny Tack, who had 81 saves and five shutouts, were first team All-SBC and second team all-district.

Oak Harbor coach Ryan Lacer says, “the boys had a good season,” with the only league hiccups being a 2-1 loss to Edison and ties with Huron (2-2) and Edison (1-1). 

“We will be losing three seniors and bring back a good core for next year,” Lacer said.



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