ROCKLAND — In a game between two evenly-matched high school football teams, often the squad that wins the turnover battle ultimately wins.

That is exactly what transpired between Oceanside and Hermon on Friday night, Sept. 16 at Wasgatt Field in an early-season contest that saw the home team nearly rally from a 22-point deficit.

The Mariners trailed early and twice cut their deficit to two points in the second half, but an interception late in the final quarter halted Oceanside’s potential game-winning drive as the Hawks held on to collect an exciting, 38-36 victory.

Cohen Galley finished 7-of-20 under center for Oceanside, which has two wins in three games, and tossed for 136 yards and two touchdowns, along with one interception. He also rushed 10 times for 64 yards and one score and one two-point conversion for the Mariners.

Aiden Sergent rushed for 128 yards on 15 carries and two TDs. He also hauled in three passes for 11 yards, while Hale Morris made four catches for 125 yards and two TDs for Oceanside.

Gary Glidden accounted for four touchdowns on the ground for Hermon in the road victory.

The Hawks (2-1) scored the first 22 points and looked well on their way to a lopsided win before a late 19-yard touchdown run by Sergent put the Mariners on the board.

In the third quarter, the Mariners put themselves back into the game — aided by a pair of long touchdown passes from Cohen Galley to Morris — as the Mariners found themselves down 30-28 as the teams entered the final quarter.

After a Hermon touchdown and two-point conversion put the visitors up 38-28, Oceanside converted a pair of fourth downs on the ground on the ensuing drive, including a touchdown run and two-point conversion rush by Galley to bring the hosts within 38-36 with 4:50 to go.

The Mariner defense stood tall on the next Hermon possession as the Hawks turned the ball over on four plays, but an interception with 1:04 to play — the first turnover of the game for either team — sealed the win for Hermon.

“We spotted Hermon 22 [points],” said first-year Oceanside coach Sam Weiss. “Football is a game of inches, and we gave them a mile to work with. I’m proud of how we fought back. We made some changes at halftime all-around and it paid off. Our guys wanted it. We need to improve our defense. We’re still trying to find our identity there. Once we do, we are going to be very tough to beat.”

The Mariner defense was led by Sergent (6 solo tackles, 6 assisted tackles), Nate Thompson (2 solos, 3 assists, 0.5 quarterback sacks), Galley (5 solos, 2 assists), Robert Blair (3 solos, assist), Morris (5 solos, 8 assists), Ben Tripp (assist), Maddox Robishaw (6 solos, assist), Gavin Ripley (solo, assist), Larry Robbins (assist), Zeb Foster (assist), Brady Proctor (2 solos, assist), Chris Mills (assist), Jack Elwell (solo, assist, 0.5 sacks) and Andrew Gehouskey (2 assists).