WALES — Oak Hill junior linebacker Samson Lacroix darted through the line, shed a block by an offensive lineman who out-weighed him by 50 pounds and found himself in the Boothbay backfield — again.

Later in the Western D Campbell Conference quarterfinal victory over Boothbay, Lacroix zipped through the line and stood up Boothbay runner Jason Maddocks for a 2-yard loss.

“He’s made a bunch of plays for us this year,” Oak Hill senior captain Luke Washburn said. “It’s been pretty incredible. He’s really stepped up after kind of coming out of nowhere.”

Nowhere, in this case anyway, is junior varsity.

That is where the 5-foot-7, 140-pound Lacroix played last season as a sophomore. Lacroix made the team this season, but was tabbed for a “depth role” on defense.

But then …

“We had some injuries and he got an opportunity to play more,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “He was going to rotate in but with attrition issues, he’s had to go in there more.”

And Lacroix made the most of his opportunity and is now a key cog in a defensive unit that is holding foes to 13.9 points a game, which ranks near the top of Western D Campbell Conference.

The No. 2 Raiders (7-2) will host No. 3 Lisbon in a conference semifinal game at 12:30 p.m., Saturday. The Raiders won the regular-season meeting 33-14 but expect a closer game Saturday.

“It’s the playoffs,” Doucette said. “We’ll need contributions from a lot of people.”

That includes Lacroix, who will start at the important middle linebacker position.

“Starting off, I was just subbing this year,” he said. “I am not one of the bigger guys so I try to play small and fast. A few games back, I started to prove myself.”

Lacroix picked up sacks against Telstar, Dirigo and Boothbay.

“I think I got noticed,” he said. “I was getting through the line. I was one of the faster guys. Coach just said, ‘Let’s try just having him out there.’ I think it’s worked out.”

Added Doucette: “He’s found a way to make plays. He benefited from some injuries but he’s really played well. We always thought he was capable.”

Lacroix, who has no prior varsity experience in any sport, is responsible for not just making plays but also setting the defense in some formations.

It’s a big responsibility, and one members of the Raiders say Lacroix has handled well.

“He’s just an aggressive defensive player,” linebacker/running back Kyle Flaherty said. “He really did well at the JV level last year and he stepped up and made this team. He’s a great player. He does a lot for us. I know not many people know about him. People, I think, are surprised.”

Added Washburn, who plays primarily defensive end: “He’s come up big, no doubt. He’s done what’s been asked and more.”

Oak Hill last season lost a semifinal game at home to Dirigo. The Raiders are determined to not let history repeat itself Saturday.

The Greyhounds, who shut out Maranacook 28-0 in the quarterfinals, could get Quincy Thompson back from an elbow injury. The return of Thompson would present Lacroix and the Oak Hill defense a stiff challenge.

“We’ll be ready,” Lacroix said. “We’re a hungry team. We just have to go out and play like we know we can.”

Big or small.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640[email protected]Twitter: @billstewartkj

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