WALES — Oak Hill senior Matt Strout turned in a strong performance in his first start at quarterback to lead the three-time defending Class D state champs to a 38-18 win against Maranacook in the season opener for both teams Saturday.

Strout rushed for 86 yards on 11 carries and completed 4 of 8 passes for 98 yards and three touchdowns. Drew Davis rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns for the Black Bears.

Strout missed his first three pass attempts in the first quarter, but in the second connected for touchdown passes of 10 yards to Darryn Bailey, 20 to Austin Pierce and 55 to Steve Gilbert.

“He’s only thrown three varsity passes,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said of Strout who served as backup QB last season. “I think once he ran the ball a few times he calmed down and I think he had a little more touch on his passes.”

Strout was happy to get the passing experience but admitted “we’re more of a run team.”

At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Strout is the team’s most powerful runner, but he has some speedsters to help him out in Cruz Poirier (15 carries, 49 yards), Ryan Birkbeck (8-41) and Brian Thorpe (3-62). The Raiders rolled up 305 yards on the ground on 48 carries.

Maranacook suited only 20 players for the game and played a corps of 15 while Oak Hill has a roster of 49. The heat and pounding of the game took its toll on the smaller, less-experienced Black Bears.

“We had some success running,” first-year Maranacook coach Bill Getty said. “That’s an incredible coaching staff. I knew they were going to have a plan for everything we did, which we aren’t doing a lot of things. They had the plan and they had the athletes to execute it.”

The Raiders drove 61 yards on their opening drive with Poirier scoring from the 3 and Gilbert kicking the extra point. Strout had the big play of the drive, a tackle-breaking run of 26 yards on fourth-and-3 at the Maranacook 29.

Davis scored on Maranacook’s first play from scrimmage as he broke off tackle out of the team’s double-wing formation and scored untouched from 80 yards out. The Raiders went to the air in the second quarter with results. Strout completed a pass of 13 yards to Austin Noble coming out of the backfield to keep a drive alive and finished it off with a 10-yarder to Bailey in the left corner of the end zone.

Later in the quarter, facing a fourth and 1 from the Maranacook 20, Strout rolled right and found his tight end Pierce behind the defense.

“He made the right read,” Doucette said. “I said take the first down and the kid was covered and the deep pass was (there). He did what he was coached.”

Strout connected on his third touchdown of the quarter when he found Gilbert in the right flat and the senior slot back slipped a tackle and sprinted to the score.

The Raiders led 26-6 at the half and stayed exclusively on the ground in the final two quarters. Gilbert picked up a botched snap and scored from 6 yards to make it 32-6.

Maranacook freshman Skyler Boucher made his first start ever at quarterback at any level and took his lumps in the first half. But he made a few plays in the second, including a 29-yard pass to Liam McNamara on 3rd and 11 on the team’s opening drive of the fourth quarter. Boucher followed with an 11-yard run, and Davis capped the drive with a 24-yard counter through the right side of the line. Thorpe tacked on a 51-yard run off tackle to give the Raiders a 38-12 lead before McNamara completed the scoring with a 1-yard run on a drive in which he gained 45 yards on a cutback run.

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