WALES — As the visiting crowd cheered along the fencing surrounding the far side of the football field at Oak Hill High School, quarterback Dalton Therrien and his teammates huddled around the 25-yard line.

Only 4:36 remained in the third quarter and, for the first time this season, the Raiders were trailing in the second half. The senior signal caller had a message for his teammates that was still audible on the sidelines despite the roar of the crowd: “Do you want this to be your last game?”

In the fourth quarter the Raiders answered that question.

Therrien hit classmate Connor Nilsson for a 34-yard touchdown strike on the opening play of the final period and No. 1 Oak Hill (9-0) managed to hold on from there for a 13-10 win despite a spirited effort from upset-minded Winthrop/Monmouth (5-4) Saturday afternoon. The Raiders will now play third-seeded Lisbon on Saturday for the Campbell Conference Class D championship Saturday in Wales.

“(It was) scary. We’re not used to it,” Therrien said of facing a second-half deficit. “This game is going to help us move on for next game and hopefully a game after that.

“…The games that we’ve played this year we’ve been up early. Coming back right now I think it proved to a lot of people — including ourselves, which I think is the biggest part — that if we get down, we can still come back.”

The Ramblers threatened to score on each of its two possessions in the fourth quarter. Winthrop/Monmouth had the ball at the Oak Hill 22-yard line with just over nine minutes remaining when linebacker Matthew Strout ripped the ball out of the hands of Dustin Tripp to force the turnover.

“I saw the ball, grabbed it and I ended up with it in my hands,” Strout said. “I took it out of his hands like a handoff pretty much.”

The Ramblers — who won games against Dirigo and Maranacook earlier this season on go-ahead scores in the final minute — got the ball back at their own 33-yard line with 5:49 remaining after stopping the Raiders at midfield. Winthrop/Monmouth picked up a pair of first downs on the ground before quarterback Matt Ingram completed a 26-yard pass to Nate Scott on fourth-and-9 to give the Ramblers a first down at the Oak Hill 19-yard line with 1:34 remaining.

The potential game-winning drive stalled from there, though. Scott was stopped for no gain on first down, while Therrien batted down Ingram’s pass on second down. Garrett Gile nearly intercepted the ball on third down and Ingram’s final attempt on fourth-and-10 fell short of his intended receiver, Bennett Brooks.

“We thought we outplayed them (Saturday), they just got the breaks when they needed them and we didn’t,” Ramblers head coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “They executed when they needed to and we just had a couple things that we couldn’t connect on and that was the difference in the ballgame.

“The positive attitude that these guys bring everyday it’s always move onto the next play, move onto the next play and never say die. With that positive attitude we’re always in the game, it just wasn’t meant to be (Saturday).”

Therrien rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, and also completed 7-of-11 passes for 107 yards and the touchdown strike to Nilsson. Fourth-seeded Winthrop/Monmouth — who benefited from a pair of safeties — got its lone touchdown on a 3-yard rush from Alec Brown.

Brown had 89 yards rushing on 20 carries to go along with the score, while Scott had 19 rushes for 65 yards and three catches for 40 yards. Brooks had six catches for 135 yards as the Ramblers outgained the Raiders 338-275 in the contest — including 201-114 in the second half.

“We could not flip field position in the second or third quarters,” Oak Hill head coach Stacen Doucette said. “We played defense the whole quarters. They’re well-coached (and) they’re a very good football team.”

Oak Hill jumped ahead 6-0 with 1:46 remaining in the first quarter when Therrien converted a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line after he had been stuffed for no gain at the 1 on the previous play.

The Ramblers threatened to slice the deficit in half with 7:57 remaining in the second quarter, but Tyler Cote’s 28-yard field goal attempt clanked off the right upright. Cote made amends later in the quarter, though, booming a 54-yard punt to pin the Raiders at their own 4-yard line.

On the first play of the next drive, Antonio Meucci and Zach Wallace combined to stand up Brian Thorpe in the end zone for a safety. The Ramblers very nearly took the lead on the ensuing drive but a pass down the left sideline bounced just off the fingertips of Brooks on first-and-10 at the 33-yard line with 36.4 seconds remaining in the half. Three plays later on fourth-and-5, Therrien batted away an Ingram pass to keep the Raiders in front 6-2 at the break.

Winthrop/Monmouth threatened to score on the opening drive of the second half when Brooks broke free along the left sideline on a pass from Ingram, but Therrien managed to chase him down and knock Brooks out of bounds at the 3-yard line. It would prove to be a key stop for the Raiders, as the Ramblers could not punch it into the end zone from there.

Oak Hill did not escape its own end of the field unscathed, though, as Andrew Pazdziorko got to Therrien 1 yard into the Oak Hill end zone on the ensuing possession. Therrien tried to throw the ball away, but with no eligible receiver in the area he was whistled for intentional grounding to cut the Raiders’ lead to 6-4.

The safety gave Winthrop/Monmouth great starting field position at the Oak Hill 35-yard line and eight plays later Brown barreled his was into the end zone from 3 yards out to give the Ramblers their first lead of the contest at 10-6 after the two-point conversion attempt failed.

The lead would not last, however, as Therrien found Nilsson behind the Ramblers’ defense on third-and-4 for what would prove to be the winning touchdown.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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