WALES — Through five games the Oak Hill High School football team has routinely found its spark on the offensive side of the ball.

Saturday afternoon it was the defense’s turn to ignite the Raiders.

A 67-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Steven Gilbert late in the second quarter proved to be the tipping point for Oak Hill (6-0 Campbell Conference Class D) as it went on to deal visiting Lisbon (3-2) at 27-18 defeat.

“The fumble turned things around,” Lisbon coach Dick Mynahan said. “We were on a drive there and if we could have gone up at that point, I think that it would have been important for us.

“But … no one play controls the game for us and I’m happy with both teams. A good, clean game out there.”

Oak Hill quarterback Dalton Therrien completed 9-of-13 passes for 124 yards and a pair of scoring strikes to wide receiver Connor Nilsson in the win. The senior signal caller also added five carries for 34 yards, most of which came on a 25-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.


Lisbon was led by bruising running back Noah Francis, who rumbled his way to 116 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries. For the game, the Greyhounds ran 39 more offensive plays than the Raiders in an attempt to grind out a win, but Oak Hill’s depth and a few big plays helped carry the home team to victory.

“We were rotating guys in and out,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “Their gameplan was grind it out, keep the ball away from us and they executed it pretty good.”

Lisbon controlled the pace of the game for the better part of the first half, limiting Oak Hill to just 60 yards on its first four possessions. The Greyhounds jumped ahead 6-0 with 8:40 remaining in the second quarter with a grinder of a drive, going 68 yards on 15 plays and taking a little over seven minutes off the clock.

Francis — who carried the ball eight times on the drive for 31 yards — capped off the possession with a 4-yard touchdown plunge, but his extra point kick was off the mark.

“Noah is a very big and strong kid and he’s hard to take down, that’s for sure,” Oak Hill senior defensive lineman Connor Elwell said. “He pumps his legs and he runs hard.”

A few minutes later, Lisbon was at it again and looking for more points with the ball at the Raiders’ 31-yard line. Momentum switched in an instant, though, as Lisbon quarterback Tyler Halls rushed to the right side on second-and-7. Halls was popped by Elwell on the run, which caused the ball to squirt out of the hands of the Greyhound quarterback. The ball took a single bounce before Gilbert scooped it up and ran it 67 yards the other way — untouched — to pay dirt with 3:27 remaining in the half.


“I just saw Tyler rolling out and I just knew I had to make a play,” Elwell said. “I hit him and the next I know Steven’s running down the sideline with the ball in his hands.”

The score remained tied after the ensuing extra point was missed, but the pendulum had decidedly tipped in favor of the Raiders. Lisbon answered with a three-and-out, giving Oak Hill an opportunity to take the lead in the closing minutes of the first half.

Therrien perfectly executed the two minute drill for the Raiders, connecting on a 7-yard pass to Nilsson, 6-yard strike to Darryn Bailey, 11-yard toss to Colby Spencer and 10-yard pass to Jonah Martin to get down to the Lisbon 22-yard line with 45 seconds left in the half.

A pass interference penalty gave the Raiders another 10 yards and on the ensuing play Therrien found Nilsson for a 12-yard touchdown strike with 35 seconds left in the half. Therrien then took the two-point conversion in himself to give Oak Hill a 14-6 lead at intermission.

“The kids caught the ball and Dalton put the ball right on the money,” Doucette said. “Dalton has complete control of the offense and he’s a very good QB.”

The two teams traded punts to start the second half before the Raiders caught a break. After coming up short on third-and-3 at their own 45-yard line the Greyhounds elected to punt, but the ensuing snap was launched over the head of the punter, Halls, who fell on the ball at the 36-yard line to give Oak Hill a short field.


The Raiders took advantage just three plays later. Therrien swung a short pass out to the right to Nilsson, who bounced off one tackle and then spun out of another on his way to a 24-yard touchdown scamper down the right sideline to give Oak Hill a 21-7 lead with 1:58 to play in the third quarter following Levi Buteau’s extra point.

“This is my senior year. I have to do the best I can, execute and really I’m just here for the team,” Nilsson said. “That’s all I’m trying to do.”

Lisbon threatened to make it a one-possession game when Halls capped off a 15-play, 53-yard, seven-minute scoring drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge with 1:57 remaining, but the ensuing conversion run from Francis was stuffed by Elwell and a host of Oak Hill tacklers. Trailing 21-12, Lisbon attempted an onside kick but it did not go the mandatory 10 yards.

The Raiders added another score with 58 seconds to play on a 25-yard touchdown run from Therrien, while the Greyhounds countered with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Halls to Tyrese Joseph with 11 seconds remaining to round out the scoring for the game.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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