ORONO — A ball-hawking defense and an incredible effort from quarterback Dalton Therrien helped the Oak Hill High School football team win its third consecutive Class D state championship, 34-21, over Maine Central Institute at the University of Maine’s Morse Field on Friday night.

With the victory, Oak Hill (11-0) became the first team to win three consecutive state titles since Orono High School won three straight from 1979-1981. Oak Hill’s win streak now stands at 21 games.

Oak Hill forced seven MCI (10-1) turnovers, including three in the final five minutes of the game.

Therrien ran for 179 yards and four touchdowns. He also threw for 243 yards. Therrien’s 16-yard touchdown run on the final play of the third quarter gave the Raiders the lead for good, 26-21.

Oak Hill added a safety with 9:36 left in the game, with a tackle in the end zone. After a Levi Buteau interception at the Oak Hill 40-yard line with just over two minutes to play, Therrien capped the game with a 48-yard touchdown run.

With 4:37 to play, Oak Hill’s Buteau forced a Greg Vigue fumble at the Raiders’ 40-yard line. Austin Goucher recovered the ball for Oak Hill, but the Raiders were unable to convert a fourth-and-1 at midfield, giving the Huskies one more chance at a tying score.

Down 18-14 at the half, MCI put together its best drive of the game in the third quarter to take the lead. The Huskies went 63 yards in 10 plays, scoring on Eli Bussell’s 1-yard run to take a 21-18 lead with 1:23 left in the third quarter.

The lead was short-lived. The Raiders answered with a five play, 61 yard drive, culminating in Therrien’s 16 yard scamper to the left. When Therrien lofted a pass to Connor Nilsson for the 2-point conversion, Oak Hill had a 26-21 lead.

Therrien’s 63-yard touchdown pass to Jonah Martin just 1:24 in the first quarter gave the Raiders a 6-0 lead. MCI answered early in the second when Willie Moss scored on a 1-yard run following an Oak Hill turnover at the Raiders’ 19-yard line, taking a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter.

Therrien touchdown runs of 1 and 5 yards pushed Oak Hill’s lead to18-7, and the Raiders had the ball after stopping the Huskies on downs at the 6-yard line. A Braden Monteyro 37-yard interception return to the Oak Hill 1-yard line set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Moss, which cut Oak Hill’s lead to 18-14 with 15 seconds left in the half.

Nilsson caught six passes for 148 yards for the Raiders.

Moss ran for 142 yards on 29 carries for MCI, while Monteyro had three interceptions, all in the first half.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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