H.S. Football: Big plays power Raiders past Clippers

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Oak Hill’s Gavin Rawstron is driven out of bounds by Yarmouth’s Noah Eckersley-Ray during Saturday afternoon’s game at Oak Hill High School.

WALES — Like a boxer staggering his opponent with a left-right combination, Oak Hill set Yarmouth back on its heels early Saturday with a big defensive stop followed almost immediately by a big play from the offense.

The big plays kept coming, mostly from running back Cruz Poirier, wide receiver Darryn Bailey and quarterback Gavin Rawstron, as Oak Hill rolled to a 36-12 victory over the Class C Clippers.

Poirier rushed for 189 yards, including touchdowns of 82 and 52 yards, and Bailey and Rawstron connected on touchdown passes of 71 and 21 yards.

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“It starts off with the linemen. The linemen have to have great pass blocking,” Bailey said. “I think we could have passed all game because our linemen are just that good. Gavin is pretty confident in the pocket, so it’s just there.”

The defense got in on the big-play action, too, as Austin Pierce had a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown. Poirier , Justin St. John, Bryce Harlow and Bailey Drouin each had sacks for a Raider defense that regularly collapsed the pocket on Yarmouth QB Noah Eckersley-Ray. 

“We all played a solid game up front,” Drouin said. “We rushed hard and quick.”

Junior Cole Beaule had perhaps the biggest stop of the day on the game’s opening series, stuffing Yarmouth running back Liam Harke a yard shy of a first down on 4th-and-3 at Oak Hill’s 26.

“Our defense came up strong,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “We’re a bend-don’t-break defense and I felt we did that at times.”

Three plays later, Rawstron threw a bomb over the middle to Bailey for the 71-yard touchdown. Bailey also caught the two-point conversion from Colby Webster on a PAT fake for a quick 8-0 lead.

“It was really important to score early,” Drouin said. “We were kind of off to a sluggish start. They basically drove all the way down our field. We had to stop them, and then that play to Darryn really helped us out.”

Early in the second quarter, Pierce stepped in front of an out route, picked off Eckersley-Ray’s pass and, without breaking stride, sprinted down the right sideline to paydirt to make it 15-0.

Oak Hill’s defense, which allowed just 61 total yards in the first half, forced a punt on Yarmouth’s next possession. Two plays into the offense’s turn, Poirier eluded a tackler at the line of scrimmage then turned on the speed down the left sideline for an 82-yard touchdown and a 22-0 lead the Raiders carried into halftime.

“There’s been no one that we’ve put more pressure on in three years than him,” Doucette said of Poirier. “It’s nice to see him have some success. He’s been a hard-working kid, and he just doesn’t shy away from any accountability or pressure.”

Yarmouth had a chance to make some headway after Ben Gleason recovered a Poirier fumble at Oak Hill’s 48 on the first play of the second half. The Clippers drove to the 19 before the Raiders’ Ethan Richard pounced on a fumbled pitch to the running back.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries in our program recently and we’re still trying to come back from that and get the kids in the right positions,” Yarmouth coach Jason Veilleux said. “We have a long way to go.”

Oak Hill made the turnover sting even more with a 11-play, 79-yard drive that ended with a 29-0 lead when Bailey out-leaped two defenders in front of him in the end zone for Rawstron’s 21-yard pass.

“Sometimes you’ve got to go up and get it,” Bailey said. “The only thing (the quarterback) can do is just throw it up there sometimes, so you’ve just got to go make a play.”

Yarmouth finally got on the board on a 24-yard pass from Eckersley-Ray to Wyatt Sullivan on 4th-and-20.

The Raiders answered quickly when Poirier took a handoff to the left, then cut back across the grain toward the right sideline before turning the corner to complete his 52-yard touchdown run.

Eckersley-Ray capped the scoring midway through the fourth quarter with a two-yard touchdown run.

Rawstron, a freshman, finished 5-for-10 for 118 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Bailey had three catches for 101 yards.

Harke led Yarmouth (0-2) with 75 yards on 21 carries. 

Oak Hill’s Cruz Poirier runs the ball down the field as Oak Hill’s Bryce Harlow, DJ Pushard and Colin French work to keep Yarmouth’s Liam Sullivan and Jack Buthy from catching him during Saturday afternoon’s game at Oak Hill High School.Oak Hill’s Darryn Bailey catches the ball in the endzone for a touchdown as Yarmouth’s Noah Eckersley-Ray and Joshua Harlow unsuccessfully try to intercept during Saturday afternoon’s game at Oak Hill High School.Oak Hill’s Cruz Poirier runs the ball down the field for a touchdown being chased by Yarmouth’s Noah Eckersley-Ray and Harry Steinharter during Saturday afternoon’s game at Oak Hill High School. Darryn Bailey from Oak Hill is in on the play on the right.

Oak Hill’s Darryn Bailey sprints down the field, evading Yarmouth’s Ben Gleason during Saturday afternoon’s football game at Oak Hill High School.

Oak Hill’s Darryn Bailey catches the ball in the endzone for a two-point conversion during Saturday afternoon’s game at Oak Hill High School.

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