WALES — Three times in the second half of Saturday afternoon’s Campbell Conference Class D football game, the Old Orchard Beach offense drove deep into Oak Hill territory. Each time, however, the Raiders defense came up with a big play, keeping the Gulls out of the end zone.
“We’re designed to be a bend but don’t break defense, and the kids did a good job. They kids made some plays,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said.
Those plays were the difference in the game, as Oak Hill capitalized on a few Old Orchard mistakes in the second half to score a pair of touchdowns, breaking a halftime tie and taking a 26-14 win.
“It was tough. We’ve got to keep trusting each other. As long as we trust each other and do our responsibilities I think it will keep working out,” Oak Hill senior Steve Gilbert said. Gilbert’s interception in the end zone midway through the third quarter crushed one potential Old Orchard scoring drive.
Oak Hill is now 2-0, while Old Orchard is 0-1. The Gulls had a bye last week, and while they played an exhibition game against Sacopee Valley, the starters played just a quarter, hardly the proper tuneup when preparing to play the three-time defending state champs.
“As a (coaching) staff we had some concerns about that. Game conditioning, just game situations, yeah, that’s probably part of it, but I don’t want to make excuses,” Old Orchard coach Dean Plante said.
Plante’s Gulls spotted the Raiders a 14-0 first quarter lead before rallying to tie the game. With 3:11 left in the first quarter, tight end Kyle Allen caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Boudreau. In the second quarter, after recovering an Oak Hill fumble on its own 1-yard line, Old Orchard mounted a 99 yard, 15 play scoring drive. The big play was a 53 yard run by Boudreau on third down and six from his own 8-yard line. Boudreau capped the dive with a two yard touchdown run, tying the game 14-all with 3:56 to play in the first half.
Boudreau led Old Orchard with 147 yards rushing and 104 yards passing.
“(Boudreau’s) a great athlete. He’s a very good quarterback in our conference. We knew he could make plays with his leg and his arm. We were just trying to keep him in the box,” Doucette said.
Added Gilbert: “They like to run up the middle. They keep running up the middle, but then they hit you with a pass. You just need to do your responsibilities.”
After tying the game, Plante felt his team had the momentum coming out the half, but a penalty on the third quarter kickoff pushed the Gulls back to their own 4-yard line. When the drive stalled at the 10, Darryn Bailey returned the ensuing punt 25 yards to the Old Orchard five. Quarterback Matthew Strout scored on a two yard run two plays later, pushing the Raiders lead to 20-14.
“I love the way we responded to the hole we dug. We thought we had all the momentum going into half, coming out and getting the ball. You’ve got to capitalize on the momentum against things like that,” Plante said.
The Gulls got another prime chance when Dylan Creswell intercepted a Strout pass at the Oak Hill 43 late in the third quarter. That drive ended, though, when Strout recovered an Old Orchard fumble at the 15 and returned it to the 35.
“We think we’re as good as (Oak Hill). They played more sound. If the phrase beat yourself could apply, we did,” Plante said. “We had a few more penalties that them… Our special teams didn’t play well at the beginning of the second half. Just little things, and you don’t beat Oak Hill when you don’t do the little things well.”
Strout scored on a one yard run with 4:21 left in the game to push Oak Hill’s lead to 26-14. Their was a scary play on the ensuing 2-point conversion try, when Creswell was injured making the tackle. Creswell stayed on the field for minutes, before emergency services worked placed him on a backboard and took him from the facility via ambulance. No word was available on Creswell’s condition immediately after the game.
The Gulls marched their final drive to the Oak Hill 13, but dropping back on fourth down, Boudreau fumbled when he was sacked by Peter Flaherty and Cruz Poirer.
The Raiders scored on just their second play of the game, when Gilbert went 27 yards for a score. Gilbert ran for 64 yards on five carries.
“I couldn’t have had that touchdown without my linemen and everybody doing what they needed to do,” he said.
Poirer scored on a four yard run midway through the second quarter to push Oak Hill’s lead to 14-0.
WINTHROP/MONMOUTH 19, TRAIP 7: Alec Brown rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Ramblers to the Campbell Conference Class D win in Kittery.
Brown’s one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter erased an early Traip lead. Abram Sirois ran one in from two yards out in the second quarter to give Winthrop/Monmouth (2-0) the lead for good.
Matt Ingram finished at 9 of 15 passing for 72 yards for the Ramblers.