WALES — Kyle Flaherty took the handoff and bolted to the outside. The Oak Hill High School sophomore made a quick cut, shook off two tacklers and saw what every running back dreams of: A clear path to the end zone.
“I broke two tackles and had a lot of room to run,” Flaherty said. “It felt like the longest run of my life. I didn’t think I was going to make it.”
Flaherty did make it, scoring on a 70-yard run early in the second quarter to snap a scoreless game, and the Raiders never looked back en route to a 30-14 win in a Campbell Conference Class C football game Saturday afternoon over Maranacook.
The victory sets up a showdown between Oak Hill (6-1) and Dirigo (6-1) in Dixfield in a game that could determine the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
Flaherty rushed for a game-high 196 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries to lead the Raiders, who broke open an 8-0 game with a pair of touchdowns on consecutive possessions in the third quarter.
Alex Mace also rushed for 52 yards and a touchdown for Oak Hill. Mace also recovered a key fumble on a kickoff with 8 minutes, 27 seconds left in the third with the Raiders up 16-0.
“We have a lot of guys who can run the ball and we lean on all of them,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “These were two physical teams.”
Jesse Evans rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries to lead Maranacook (5-2). Quarterback Caleb Castonguay also had a big day, completing 9 of 17 passes for 107 yards. He also rushed for 29 yards and a touchdown.
Zach Bessette had five catches for 52 yards for the Bears.
“They came out and wanted it more,” Evans said. “We came out a little flat in the first half. We picked it up in the fourth quarter but we were behind too much.”
Added Maranacook coach Joe Emery, whose defense struggled to slow the balanced Oak Hill ground game: “That double wing, (Oak Hill) has the horses to run it. We started out in a 5-3 and then switched to a goal-line defense. We tried a bunch of different stuff.”
Not much of it worked.
Oak Hill put the game out of reach with two touchdowns in the third quarter before Maranacook ran an offensive play. The Raiders opened the second half with a nine-play, 50-yard drive that ended with an eight-yard touchdown run from Mace. The Black Bears then fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Mace recovered the ball in a swarm of players.
“The ball came out, flung up, and I pounded on it,” Mace said.
Oak Hill capitalized on the takeaway with another impressive nine-play scoring drive. This one covered just 35 yards and culminated with a 4-yard TD run by Flaherty.
“I think we got a little bit of momentum,” Doucette said.
Maranacook finally broke through when Castonguay rushed for a 1-yard touchdown with 40 seconds left in the third quarter.
Bill Stewart — 621-5640