When the Oak Hill and Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale football teams meet, two things tend to be true.

The teams are usually pretty good. And so are the games.

“It’s one that you circle on the calendar. ‘Okay, this one’s the Oak Hill game,’ ” W/M/H-D coach Dave St. Hilaire said. “I’m sure they do the same for us.”

Both teams are playoff regulars; since 2013, when Class D was implemented, only one season — 2017 — has included neither the Ramblers nor the Raiders. And since the start of 2013, the teams have met seven times. There was one blowout in there, a 48-8 Oak Hill win in 2014. Over the other six contests, there were 116 points scored by the Ramblers, and 116 scored by the Raiders.

Adding to the mix is a familiarity with each other on and off the gridiron, which Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette adds another dimension to the game.

“The kids compete in every other sport,” he said. “The kids play each other in basketball, they play each other in baseball. And not just the male sports, but the female sports too. … It’s Campbell Conference football, but it’s Mountain Valley Conference as well.”

The teams are also similar in that they both have quarterbacks that run the show. The Ramblers’ Keegan Choate and the Raiders’ Gavin Rawstron can take games over with their arms or their legs, and though the squads differ from there — W/M/H-D is lightning quick, Oak Hill is deep along the lines — they resemble each other in that important area.

“I think so. I think with (both) teams it starts and ends with the QB,” Doucette said. “We’re pretty happy with our complete offense, I think that since Gavin’s become the starter we’ve actually put some talent around him to help alleviate that pressure. And they have some athletes over there as well.”

Here’s a closer look at the Oak Hill-Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale matchup:

When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Where: Oak Hill High School, Wales

W/M/H-D coach Dave St. Hilaire on Oak Hill: “It starts with their quarterback, he’s a dual threat throwing and running, so we need to make sure we keep him in check as best we can and not let him go off on us. There are a few skill players we have to be aware of. They’re a well-coached team. We expect it to be a close game.”

Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette on W/M/H-D: “Winthrop’s history is to play physical football in the front two lines on defense, and I believe they have more speed in the secondary. And offensively, it seems (like) much of the same.”

Three keys for W/M/H-D:

Be careful through the air. Oak Hill knows how to jump on mistakes, having picked off two passes versus York before intercepting five against Mountain Valley. Choate was efficient last week, completing all eight of his passes, but if he gets wild with his throws on Saturday, the Raiders will make him pay.

Have the responsibilities down pat. The Raiders are comfortable going three wide, but they’ll also bring everyone in and go under center to better utilize the running game. If the formations change, the Ramblers have to be aware of how their respective jobs do too.

“We expect them to come at us through the spread and come at us through the double wing,” St. Hilaire said. “We have to be able to know our defensive assignments. … If they start having success with one formation, they’re going to stay with it until we stop it.”

Stay balanced. The strength of the Ramblers so far has been their ability to spread out their touches and targets, with four players notching 10 or more carries and four recording three or more receptions. The key to maintaining that unpredictability is to run and pass the ball effectively from the start.

“We need to establish a running game,” St. Hilaire said. “If we’re able to run the ball, it opens up an ability to throw the ball on first down. We can’t get ourselves in 3rd-and-long situations.”

Three keys for Oak Hill:

Avoid penalties. The Raiders’ offense isn’t explosive, so holds or false starts that lead to long chunks of yardage to gain are particularly costly.

“We want to limit penalties,” Doucette said. “We don’t want to be in 1st-and-15 and that (kind of) scenario. We want to have a good pace to the offense.”

Watch out for the big play. Choate and the Ramblers aren’t looking for just three yards and a cloud of dust. They’ll go for the home run — and Doucette knows the defense can’t be caught flat-footed when the attempt comes.

“Their quarterback throws a great long ball,” he said. “I think they can score from anywhere on the field with their speed. So we’ve just got to follow our keys, everybody’s got to do their job.”

Hold up against the rush. Rawstron wasn’t sacked often in the Week 1 loss to York, but he was constantly forced to throw on the move and was held to 3-of-16 passing as a result. He also got banged up at the end of the first half, and the Raiders will need him at full health to win this game.

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