A week without an opponent appeared to serve the Oak Hill football team well.

Playing a team for the first time in two weeks, the Raiders looked plenty sharp, racking up 41 points in the first half before coming away with a 48-21 victory over Madison on Friday night.

Oak Hill, which got a bye last week after Dirigo cancelled its season, ran for 232 yards in the first half alone en route to improving to 3-2, while Madison fell to 1-4.

Madison quarterback Bryce Willette throws against Oak Hill during a Campbell Conference game Friday in Madison. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

“I thought the kids prepared well during the bye week. I think we went back to basics,” coach Stacen Doucette said. “We went back to things we want to hang our hat on fundamentally. We did go back to conditioning and a little bit of physicality, and we think it paid off.”

Quarterback Gavin Rawstron said he wasn’t sure how the team would react to the off week.

“I was (wondering), because we started off that bye week, our first practice was not our best practice,” said Rawstron, who ran six times for 32 yards and completed six of 10 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. “After that I was like ‘Oh, this might be a rough week for us.’ ”

His coach had his questions, too.

“You never know how you’re going to respond,” he said. “A bye week can be a very difficult thing. You just never know.”

They quickly found out. The Raiders offense used the big play often, starting with the first series of the game when Caden Thompson (four carries, 51 yards) took a sweep left, bounced off an attempted tackle behind the line, and then reversed course through the middle of the field and down the right side for a touchdown and 7-0 lead.

A bobbled snap on a punt attempt on the ensuing series gave Oak Hill the ball at the Bulldogs’ 43, and after Sam Lindsay took a screen pass 31 yards to the 5, Rawstron plowed ahead from a yard out three plays later for a 14-0 lead with 4:51 left in the first quarter.

Oak Hill continued to pull away. On its next series, penalties caused Oak Hill to face a 3rd-and-goal from the Madison 20, but Rawstron fired a dart up the seam to Liam Rodrigue for a touchdown with 43.4 seconds left in the first quarter.

“Coach put in great game plans, everyone was ready, we were eager having that week off and not being able to hit a different color jersey,” Rawstron said. “We all were ready to go, we came here and it was a good game for us.”

The Raiders went with a more methodical pace on their next drive, going 77 yards in 15 plays to find the end zone again. Big plays and missed tackles continued to be a theme, however, as Rawstron weaved his way through the entire Madison defense for a 20-yard gain on a 3rd-and-18 from the Oak Hill 45. That set the stage for a Quentin Pelkey 5-yard touchdown run, making it 28-0 with 5:46 to go in the half.

“We knew when they were in certain defensive formations we could open up running lanes, and our line blocked really good and our fullback, Luis Elwell, did a good job of blocking and setting the edge,” said sophomore Tiger Hopkins, who led the team with 107 rushing yards on nine carries, all in the first half.

Madison coach Paul Withee said fundamental mistakes have been a problem for his team all season.

“We’re still missing tackles, not playing well defensively, and we got handled up front,” he said. “(We have) so many inexperienced players, even though they’ve played in varsity games, they’ve played five of them. Nothing seems to be working for us.”

Madison countered on special teams, as Cameron Cobb took the ensuing kickoff and broke his way through a crowd of Raiders for an 84-yard return, cutting the gap to 28-7. That momentum was short-lived, however, as Lindsay answered with a 59-yard return of his own to the Bulldogs’ 21. Three plays later, Thompson darted through the line for a 13-yard touchdown run and 34-7 advantage with 3:55 to go in the second half.

Hopkins got his turn in the end zone when he took a sweep left, shook a group tackle near the left sideline and pulled away towards the middle of the field for a 40-yard run and 41-7 lead with 2:34 left in the half.

Shyre Bonito’s 1-yard touchdown run for Madison rounded out the scoring before the break. In the second half, Jackson Arbour had a 29-yard touchdown run for the Raiders, while Reid Campbell scored on a 3-yard run for Madison.

Bryce Willette passed for 78 yards for Madison, while Danny Handley had two catches for 62 yards.

 

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