WALES — During the preseason a number of Western D Campbell Conference coaches named Old Orchard Beach as a team on the rise in 2014.

The Seagulls showed why after they jumped out to a 3-0 start to begin the season, but are now beginning to find out just what they are made of with three straight games against perennial conference favorites Lisbon, Oak Hill and Dirigo.

The Greyhounds dropped Old Orchard Beach 42-7 last weekend, and Saturday the Raiders (3-1) will be looking to follow suit. Oak Hill enters the contest having won its previous two contests by a combined 69-8.

Playoff seeding could potentially be on the line Saturday afternoon with the two teams having the same records at the midpoint of the regular season.

Here’s a look at the match up:

• Last season: Old Orchard Beach defeated Oak Hill 22-21 during the regular season.

• Oak Hill players to watch: WR/TB Alex Mace, TB/LB Kyle Flaherty, RB Steven Gilbert, QB Dalton Therrien, MLB Samson Lecroix, NG Garrett Gile, WR/KR Kyle Tervo.

• Old Orchard Beach players to watch: QB/FS Bryan Roberts, RB/OLB Andrew Graves, DT/OT Zach Belanger

• Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette on Old Orchard Beach: “They’re a very tough team, a very physical team. Offensively they’re explosive and defensively they’re very gritty, so I think it’s going to be a good football game.”

• Old Orchard Beach coach Dean Plante on Oak Hill: “They’re the defending state champs, to me that makes them the favorite going in. I know they lost Flaherty for a week or two but I’m assuming he’ll be back versus us. They’re very athletic, fast in a lot of spots and deep at the skill positions, so we’ll have our work cut out for us.”

Three keys for Oak Hill

1. Ready or not? Doucette said once again this week that Flaherty will be a game-time decision against the Seagulls. The Raiders have done just fine without him in wins over Maranacook and Winthrop/Monmouth, but Old Orchard Beach figures to be a much more challenging opponent. His presence very well could be a deciding factor for Oak Hill.

2. Win the turnover battle. Coughing up the ball cost Oak Hill in its only loss of the season, a 14-6 decision against Dirigo on Sept. 13. Outside of that game, the Raiders have taken care of the football and have outscored their opponents 116-22.

3. Limit Roberts’ impact. Roberts is one of the top two-way players in the conference, leading the Seagulls out of the quarterback and free safety positions. The Raiders should be in good shape if they can minimize the senior’s impact on the game.

Three keys for Old Orchard Beach

1. Don’t get Mace-d. In four games this season Mace has 722 total yards and 11 touchdowns, most of which have come on long runs or pass plays. The Seagulls will need to make Mace and his teammates work for their points on long drives to be successful.

2. Make special teams special. Three of the five touchdowns Oak Hill has given up this year have come on kickoff returns, and a strong performance in the often overlooked area of the game could give the Seagulls just the push they need.

3. Short memory. After starting the season off 3-0 the Seagulls were brought down to earth last week, getting rolled 42-7 at home by Lisbon. They’ll need to hit the restart button in preparation for Saturday, as a talented team like Oak Hill is not the type to take pity on a reeling opponent.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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