LISBON — For the second time this postseason, Oak Hill is still playing football by the slimmest of margins.

A 40-yard touchdown by Alex Mace on quarterback Dalton Therrien’s only completed pass of the game and an Adam Merrill extra point proved to be the difference as the third-seeded Raiders edged No. 1 Lisbon 7-6 to win the Western D Campbell Conference championship Saturday at Thompson Field.

“At the end of the first half we had a gut check,” Oak Hill senior Kyle Flaherty said. “They played a very good game.”

Offensively it was Mace and Flaherty who carried the load for Oak Hill, as 45 of the team’s 49 offensive plays went to one of the two. Mace finished with 93 yards on 17 carries to go with the 40-yard touchdown grab, while Flaherty carried the ball 28 times for 104 yards.

The defending Class D champs will face either Maine Central Institute or Bucksport for the Gold Ball on Nov. 22 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

“We get to defend it,” Oak Hill senior Mike Pease said. “I don’t know what else to say. It’s just a great feeling.”

Mace’s touchdown grab came with 7 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the first half but it did not come without a response from the Greyhounds.

After a lengthy first drive that stalled out at the Oak Hill 37-yard line Lisbon made sure to cash in on its second possession following the Oak Hill touchdown.

Sophomore Tyler Halls — playing quarterback in place of the injured Kyle Bourget — led the Greyhounds down the field, converting a third-and-6 on a pass to Noah Francis and rushing for another first down on fourth-and-inches before Shawn Grover capped off the 10-play, 72-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown rush.

Lisbon elected to go for the two-point conversion, but its gusto would not be rewarded. The Raiders got good pressure on Halls and his pass attempt fell incomplete to keep Oak Hill in front 7-6 at halftime.

The final margin of victory may have already been determined by halftime, yet Oak Hill’s work was far from over.

Lisbon was poised to take its first lead of the game after Halls completed a 7-yard pass to Joe Philbrick on the first play of the fourth quarter to set the Greyhounds up with a first-and-goal situation at the Oak Hill 4-yard line.

Lisbon fumbled on the ensuing play just a single yard short of the end zone though, where junior Brendon Tervo alertly jumped on the loose ball.

“I just saw the guy going down and the ball fly out,” Tervo said. “I saw my brother (Kyle) come, try to jump for it and miss it and he sort of hit it towards me so I jumped on it.”

“That was a big morale booster for us,” Flaherty added. “That was the changing point in our game.”

The turnover kept Lisbon from taking the lead, yet at the same time put Oak Hill in a position to give it up.

After a false start penalty on first down the ball was less than one foot away from the Raiders’ end zone and a safety would be enough to give the ‘Hounds the lead.

Therrien snuck ahead for a single yard on first down, Flaherty grounded out another on second and Mace picked up four on third down to give Oak Hill a little breathing room.

Still, Flaherty was forced to punt from his end zone.

“I always get a little nervous punting in my own end zone,” Flaherty said. “I try to be as fast I can with my punts so I don’t get block but I don’t know. I just try my best, I guess.”

A player known far more for his running ability, Flaherty came through with a season-saving punt as his 47-yard boot prevented the Greyhounds from getting great field position. Lisbon picked up one first down on its next drive before punting it away with 7 minutes to play.

Oak Hill — as it has done so many times this year — utilized its double wing formation to grind out the remaining time on the clock, ending the game in the victory formation at the Lisbon 31-yard line after picking up four first downs on the ground.

“We’re just happy to be moving on,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “It was hard work throughout the year. We talked about being in shape in the fourth quarter when it’s time to burn out the clock and I thought we executed that.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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