The intensity’s rising. The stakes are changing.

Meanwhile, Stacen Doucette’s focus doesn’t waver. And neither does his Oak Hill High School football team’s.

“It’s week to week for us,” the Raiders coach said. “We want to rebound and have another competitive game against another good opponent, and this time play a little better than last week. That’s our goal.”

The Raiders are in the second game of a three-game gauntlet through Class D’s Campbell Conference with playoff positioning up in the air. The first, a 29-22 loss to undefeated Winthrop/Monmouth last week, put Oak Hill (3-1) on the outside looking in for the conference’s No. 1 seed. The second, Saturday’s afternoon game against 3-1 Lisbon, will likely decide which team gets the second of the byes that go to the Campbell’s top two teams.

The Raiders proceed as if nothing major is on the line. But Doucette said they know that isn’t the case.

“It’s a rivalry game. The kids know it, and they’ve been very focused,” he said. “We’re not talking about seedings, we’re talking about how each win from here on out is a home playoff game. So it is a big game. We are talking about that being important.”

Here’s a look at the Oak Hill-Lisbon matchup.

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Lisbon High School, Lisbon Falls

Doucette on Lisbon: “I think they have a very dynamic quarterback in Tyler (Halls), they’re very physical up front, they’ve got an inside game and outside game with the Francis brothers (Noah and Lucas). … We have to cover the whole field, inside and outside, and the passing game.”

Lisbon coach Dick Mynahan on Oak Hill: “They’re well-coached. Coach Doucette does a great job preparing them. Right now they have a lot of confidence in what they do, and they’ve had a lot of confidence for three years. … (Doucette) finds a weakness in the team he’s playing and develops an offense to take advantage of it.”

Keys for Oak Hill:

• Everyone to the ball. Noah Francis, at 285 pounds, is a blend of strength, size and speed that’s rare in Class D (or any division, really). A 1-on-1 tackle is a lot to ask; Oak Hill defenders will need to flock to Francis to keep him from getting through the line into the deeper levels of the defense.

• Shake it off. The Raiders undoubtedly wanted to keep the state’s longest winning streak going that ended last week against Winthrop/Monmouth, but now that it’s over, the team has to avoid a hangover. This would be a bad time to follow up 24 straight wins with two straight losses.

• Follow your assignments. Stopping Lisbon’s ballcarriers will be tough enough. Blown assignments and out-of-position players will be especially costly against this group.

Keys for Lisbon:

• Cover the pass. According to Mynahan, pass defense has been the Greyhounds’ Achilles heel, and while Oak Hill is a run-oriented team, the Raiders have a pair of dangerous receivers in Steven Gilbert and Darryn Bailey.

• Forget — or feed off — the past. The Greyhounds lost a pair of close games to the Raiders last year, including a 21-20 decision in the playoffs, which can either psyche a team out or motivate it for a dose of revenge.

• Stay patient with the run game. The Raiders had difficulty stopping Winthrop/Monmouth’s ground game on pivotal drives, allowing 334 yards on the ground overall. The ground game may stall early for Lisbon, especially if Oak Hill comes out aiming to stop it, but running the ball is what the Greyhounds do well, and the Raiders showed they can be susceptible to it.

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifant


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