WALES — Several key turnovers hurt Spruce Mountain’s chances, but what might have stung the most was Oak Hill’s 33-point first-half performance.

The Phoenix did leave the runway in the second half and put a dent in the Raiders’ lead before Oak Hill pulled away for a solid 40-20 victory in a Class D South football contest Saturday.

Spruce Mountain’s Michael Shaw is taken down in the end zone by Oak Hill’s Sam Lindsay during Saturday afternoon’s football game in Wales. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“The kids played very well. We came out and I thought we executed well on offense and defense,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “We still have things we have to clean up, though, but our kids did a good job.

“I think Spruce Mountain is a good team. I am proud of the way both teams played. We start off slow at times and sometimes we start off fast. We have work to do and on to Lisbon.”

The first half featured a three-touchdown presentation from Lindsay, who scored on 24-, and 26-yard runs, and on a 40-yard pass from Gavin Rawstrom.

“It feels great, but I can’t take any of the credit for it,” Lindsay, a junior slot back/running back, said. “A lot of receivers made great blocks down the field, linemen just did their jobs, so it is really a credit to them.”

Rawstrom was a force of his own in the first quarter with quarterback keepers that seemed to baffle the Phoenix, including on the opening drive of the game when the junior QB bolted from the 48 to score a touchdown.

Spruce answered Rawstrom’s run with a drive from the 35 to the 25, capped by quarterback Jack Bryant connecting with Michael Shaw for a touchdown.

After Spruce’s TD, Rawstrom scored on another keeper and Lindsay delivered three touchdowns, with the help of two interceptions and Spruce fumble along the way to give Oak Hill a sturdy 33-6 lead.

Spruce’s offense turned in a strong second half and its defense held Oak Hill to one touchdown.

The third quarter belonged to Bryant and the Phoenix, starting when they opened up on Oak Hill on the first possession after halftime.

Bryant and Brandon Frey did most the heavy work, bringing the ball up from Spruce’s 35 to the 1-yard line before Bryant forced his way in the end zone for a touchdown. Spruce’s conversion was also successful as Bryant connected with Shaw, making it a 33-14 game with 7:52 left in the third quarter. 

But Oak Hill’s powerful offense responded with a 50-yard drive to the end zone highlighted by Rawstrom’s key 14-yard pass and a 14-yard run from Sam Lindsay. At the 17, Rawstrom let loose a pass to Caden Thompson for a TD and Liam Rodrigue split the posts for the extra point at 4:57.

““I think our team held up decently (in the second half) and we have to work on our mental toughness and get used to having teams take shots at us. That’s what happens. It’s football,” Lindsay said.

The Phoenix got the ball back on the 47-yard line and moved to the 5, where Frey forced his way into the end zone with 1:35 left in the period. The kick failed and the Raiders lead was 40-20.

Spruce Mountain then pulled a fast one one on Oak Hill with an onside kick that was scooped up by the Phoenix to regain possession. Spruce slugged its way to the 7-yard line in the beginning of the fourth quarter, but fumbled the ball back to the Raiders.

“We played very well in the second half,” Spruce Mountain coach David Frey said. “We had a horrible first half. Four turnovers can really hurt. They capitalized. We are still a good football team.

“Now we got Winthrop this week. If we play like we do today, we are in for long night. They (Raiders) are a good football team. I knew that and I told these kids. Like I said, we didn’t come out the first half and play very well.”

For the afternoon, the Raiders rushed 33 times for 263 yards and threw for 124 yards. The Phoenix, on the other hand, rushed the ball 37 times for 143 yards and gained 74 yards through the air.

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