WALES — Oak Hill senior Joel Wells made a big play at the beginning of the game, returning the opening kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown. He made another one late with a key interception.
In between, the rest of the Raiders were just as dominant.

Oak Hill made its season opener for new head coach Stacen Doucette a memorable one, crushing two-time defending Class C state champ Yarmouth 33-7 on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

“I think a lot of people will be surprised to hear what happened (Saturday),” said Oak Hill junior tight end Luke Washburn, who caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Parker Asselin. “It’s a big deal. I think a lot of people are going to look at us differently.”

The Raiders (1-0) certainly have a believer in the Clippers, whose 24-game winning streak came to a screeching halt.

Oak Hill gained 256 yards, made the big plays it needed, and outmuscled Yarmouth (0-1) up front.
“Streaks can’t last forever,” Yarmouth coach Chris Pingitore said, who is also in his first year. “But the loss is not the end of the world. In a way, it takes the pressure off us a little bit. We’ll see how we bounce back.

“I knew Oak Hill would be ready. I knew they’d be fired up, and they played us extremely tough.”

It didn’t take long for Oak Hill to set the tone in a statement-making game.

Yarmouth won the coin toss, deferred to the second half, and then paid dearly for the decision when it kicked off to Wells.

The shifty senior sliced through a few holes up the middle, made a quick move to the outside and raced 79 yards for a score.

“It was a real good way to start the game off,” Wells said. “We needed that.”

Yarmouth quarterback Brady Neujahr, who completed just five of his 17 passes for 46 yards, said the quick strike was tough to absorb.

“The first play, that killed us,” he said. “That deflated us a little bit.”

Added Doucette: “It gave us some fire. We were looking for a strong start.”

Oak Hill padded the lead thanks to a Yarmouth turnover in the red zone.

Senior defensive lineman Chris Harlow stripped Yarmouth tailback Matt Klepinger of the ball with 8 minutes, 11 seconds left in the first quarter.

Oak Hill defensive end Cody Collingwood recovered it on the Yarmouth 8-yard line. Sophomore tailback Alex Mace rushed for a 4-yard touchdown two plays later.

“I knew when I got the ball I had to get to the end zone,” said Mace, who rushed for a team-high 81 yards on 15 carries. “It was all I was thinking.”

Added Neujahr: “The fumble in the red zone, it’s hard to come back from that.”

The Clippers did answer on their ensuing possession when Klepinger rushed for an 80-yard touchdown to help make it a 14-7 game.

But that would be as close as Yarmouth would get.

Asselin hit Washburn on a bootleg for a 15-yard touchdown with 6:38 left in the second quarter to help Oak Hill take a 21-7 lead.

“I thought I came up a bit short but they gave it to me,” Washburn said. “I’ll take it. It was my first-ever touchdown.”

The game stayed that way until Asselin plunged into the end zone from a yard out just one minute into the fourth quarter.

Kyle Flaherty rushed for a 2-yard touchdown later in the quarter to cap the scoring. The play was set up by an interception from Wells in the closing minutes.

Flaherty rushed for 54 yards on 14 carries.

“This is a really big win,” said Wells. “We’ve been dreaming of this game for awhile. Yes, it puts a target on our back, but so what, we can handle it.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640
[email protected]

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