WALES — The phrase ‘one heartbeat’ has served as a motto for the Oak Hill football team this season.

It is emblazoned on blue and red T-shirts as well as on hand-made signs held up by Raider fans in the stands.

Signs and T-shirts do not have nearly as much value as actions on the field though, and that is truly where Oak Hill has shown its commitment to chemistry beginning with its two senior stars.

Kyle Flaherty and Alex Mace have made it pretty clear that they do not care for the spotlight.

“I could honestly care less,” Flaherty said. “It’s nice to have a little recognition but I really care about what our team is doing rather than how I’m doing.”

Their humble nature in light of their obvious talent has been critical to the Raiders adopting the ‘one heartbeat’ mantra this season. After every big game each has had this season — and there have been plenty — Flaherty and Mace are quick to credit the offensive line, the coaching staff or just about anybody but themselves for their performance.

“They’re the first ones to pass off success,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “We really preach no stars and they’re living proof of it.

“It’s really kind of funny, when they sub for each other they don’t high five. They shake hands and it’s kind of a testament of their character.”

Both Flaherty and Mace have shown in their four-year careers at Oak Hill that they prefer to do their talking with their play on the field, rather than in postgame interviews.

In 10 games this season Mace has rushed for 1,286 yards and 13 touchdowns, racked up another 433 yards and four touchdowns in the receiving game, and also has an interception return for a touchdown. For his career, he has 4,118 yards and 45 touchdowns, the vast majority of which has come in the past three seasons.

Ironically enough, Flaherty’s career numbers are right on par with his counterpart’s — albeit almost exclusively in the run game.

Flaherty has rushed for 1,045 yards and 13 touchdowns in eight games this fall, bringing his career numbers to 4,177 total yards and 39 touchdowns.

For as good as each has been individually in their careers, however, it is clear they are much better when they are on the field together.

“Kyle is like my other half in football,” Mace said. “We do everything for each other. One of us blocks while one of us runs (and vice versa).”

The two have missed minimal time during their careers, but earlier this season the Raiders got a taste of what life would be like with one but not the other.

In a Sept. 13 game vs. Dirigo — the only defeat this season for Oak Hill — Flaherty left with a hamstring injury late in the first quarter and the Raiders struggled to score without him in the 13-6 loss.

The Raiders managed to beat Maranacook 21-0 and Winthrop/Monmouth 48-8 in their next two games without Flaherty, but the Cougars and Black Bears in particular had some success as they really keyed on stopping Mace.

“I’ve never had anything like that. It was kind of shocking for me,” Flaherty said of dealing with the hamstring injury. “It was definitely frustrating but our team picked it up. They did awesome in those games I was out.”

There is also something that can be said for the way in which Mace and Flaherty have found success strategically.

It is no secret that more than likely one of the two is going to get the ball on offense. In last week’s convincing 25-6 win over Dirigo the Raiders ran 49 offensive plays, 43 of which were runs by Flaherty or Mace.

“They may know where we’re going but I think our line is better than theirs, each team,” Flaherty said. “I think they carry Alex and I all the way. I have trust in them.”

Both are hoping that the line can carry them for at least one more game.

The third-seeded Raiders (9-1) travel to take on No. 1 Lisbon (8-1) Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Thompson Field for the Western D Campbell Conference championship. The winner will face either Bucksport or Maine Central Institute Saturday, Nov. 22 at Fitzpatrick Stadium for the Class D title.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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