The winning streak had to stop at some point. It’s how it’s been followed up that’s been the surprise.

After winning 24 straight games, and three straight state championships, the Oak Hill football team has slipped into the closest thing to a slump the Raiders have experienced in years. A 29-22 loss to undefeated Winthrop/Monmouth was hardly a shock, but a 36-14 loss to Lisbon — one in which the Raiders were outscored 30-0 in the second half — was the one worthy of a double take.

“I just thought we made a few mistakes, Lisbon made a lot of good plays and they capitalized,” coach Stacen Doucette said. “It was tough to stop the train. They were rolling.”

October is the time for playing the playoff scenario game, and this time, Oak Hill is in the middle of the pack rather than leading it. After looking like they were on the fast track to title No. 4, the Raiders’ back-to-back losses have likely cost them a chance for a first-round bye. Instead, they’re in a three-way tie for third at 3-2 with Old Orchard Beach and Dirigo, the latter of whom they’ll have to beat on the road Friday night in order to avoid potentially dropping to fifth.

Their fortunes have changed, and Doucette said inconsistency has triggered it.

“We just want to put two halves of football together,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve had two good halves in a football game yet. That’s our goal. We want to have two good halves this week.”

Nobody in Wales is pushing the panic button, however. The coach said he likes the way his team has gone into its games this season, even the losses, and said it wasn’t an accident his team went into halftime with a 14-6 lead on the Greyhounds (4-1).

“I thought we did decent on the line of scrimmage. I thought our backs did a good job of running to daylight,” he said. “I think we made some assignment mistakes (in the second half). We made a few mistakes as far as personnel, being in the right place at the right time.”

As for the players being shaken by the turn of events, Doucette said the opposite may have occurred.

“I think it’s just making the kids hungrier to work hard this week,” he said. “It was a learning experience. We’re going to try to improve and learn from it, we’re going to try to better ourselves from it.”

• • •

Given a reprieve from the beasts of the Pine Tree Conference’s Class B, Cony took full advantage — and the Rams picked up some swagger at a good time to start feeling good about themselves.

The Rams went into a must-win game with Hampden Academy on Friday and aced the challenge, shredding the Broncos en route to a 61-26 win.

“I think that gives us some confidence,” coach B.L. Lippert said. “We hadn’t played particularly well offensively. We did OK the week before against Brewer, but I think we pass protected better and (quarterback Taylor Heath) was really accurate. Short throws, intermediate and long, he was right on the money.”

At 2-4, the Rams are in full control of their playoff future. They currently sit in sixth place and in the final playoff spot in the PTC B, they hold the tiebreaker over Hampden and they can still likely afford a loss to high-octane Skowhegan this week and still qualify, since Hampden has a game with 5-1 Brewer remaining.

More important than how well they stand, however, is how well they feel about themselves after a game in which everything finally seemed to go right.

“That game was huge for us,” Heath said. “That’s kind of the starting point of when we started to mesh together. Our offense was starting to smooth out, our defense was starting to smooth out. As a team, we played pretty well together.”

They played particularly well whenever Heath dropped back to throw. The Rams always like to pass the ball, and it was hard to argue with the approach after the senior threw for 321 yards and seven touchdowns, the latter being a school record. Heath also scored on a 5-yard run, giving him another school record of eight total touchdowns, while five of his scoring passes went to wide receiver Jordan Roddy.

“When Taylor Heath gets time to throw the football, he’s pretty accurate,” Lippert said. “He can be pretty deadly. … I felt really good for him, shining on senior night. Obviously Jordan Roddy’s a weapon to throw to, but he distrubuted the ball to other people.”

• • •

In a season full of tough breaks on the injury front, the Gardiner football team finally got some good news Monday.

After tweaking his left ankle during Friday night’s loss to Lawrence, starting running back Cody Spencer was at practice and participating in drills, according to coach Joe White.

“He’s doing better,” White said. “It was a strain on that ankle, (he) landed on it wrong. He was walking gingerly on it that evening and Saturday as well. He’s back, about 75 percent, seemingly. He looked pretty good. … Still some soreness, but he’ll be OK for Friday.”

Spencer took a sweep right midway through the fourth quarter Friday, then limped off the field after the tackle. It was the final carry of a 14-rush, 55-yard game for Spencer, who had a wrap on the ankle by the end of the 34-10 loss.

He’ll return for the Tigers against Hampden, though, which is good news for a team that, due to injuries and swapping players around, hasn’t played the same offensive lineup two games in a row and has cycled through three quarterbacks.

“We’ve got some continuity going into this week. We’ll see what we can do,” said White, whose team is still in playoff contention despite a 1-5 record. “It is nice. It would be nice to have that throughout the year so you can learn to click better together and you play better in sync, but sometimes you just have to deal with what you’re given.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

dbo[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifant


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