H.S. football: Wells pulls away from Oak Hill — WITH PHOTOS

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Wells’ Devin Chace, left, tries to avoid Oak Hill’s Gabe Bergeron during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

WALES — What began as a close game Saturday at Oak Hill turned into a rout, thanks in large part to Wells senior Tyler Bridge.

A heavy underdog against the two-time defending state champion Warriors, the Raiders found themselves in a second-quarter tie and the home crowd behind them. But a couple of miscues in their kicking game turned the momentum toward the Warriors, who never let go.

Bridge threw an option pass for a touchdown and rushed for three more scores to lead Wells to a 56-13 victory in a Class D South contest. The Warriors improve to 4-0 while Oak Hills fall to 2-2.

Wells won the Class C title two years ago before dropping to Class D last year, where it dominated the competition. With the graduation of all-conference running back Nolan Potter, opponents hoped the Warriors might take a step back this season, but Bridge has picked up where Potter left off.

“I’m getting a lot more carries without Potter here,” Bridge said. “He was a beast.”

Bridge looked pretty beastly himself Saturday, rushing for 113 yards on 11 carries. He also rushed for two conversions, returned punts, played safety and held for extra points.

“He carries a load for us sometimes,” Wells coach Tim Roche said. “Oak Hill did a good job trying to shut down the sweep at first and so we came back with a little counter play that gets him the ball. And then he threw the ball once for a touchdown. He’s one of those kids you kind of get on his back sometimes and let him carry us where we need to go.”

Wells rushed for 360 yards on 35 carries and enjoyed several standout performances. Payton Mackay scored on a 54-yard sweep and caught a 28-yard option pass from Bridge in the second quarter.

“We just put that play in this week,” Bridge said.

The Raiders had their moments early on. They drove 65 yards, all on the ground, on the game’s opening drive that concluded with sophomore quarterback Gavin Rawstron sneaking in from the 1.

Wells responded with two scores, the first a 7-yard run from Matt Tufts, and the second the option pass from Bridge.

“Wells is a very well-coached team,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “You can tell the time they put in the weight room. They’re just a winning program, they do a lot of good things. We’re young and we made some mistakes. We had a rough time in the second, more mentally than physically.”

The Raiders came back after the touchdown pass — the only pass for Wells all day — with a passing series of its own. Rawstron completed 4-of-5 passes on the ensuing drive, highlighted by a gain of 21 yards to Sam Lindsay and a quick screen to Caleb Treadwell that went for 13. The young QB capped the drive with another 1-yard scoring plunge that tied the game at 13 early in the second period.

But the momentum would soon fade.

A bad snap on a punt and a short punt on the next Oak Hill drives gave the Warriors short fields and they capitalized both times, with the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Bridge scoring on runs of 2 and 39 yards to make it 28-13 at the half. Bridge, Mackay and Matt Sherburne scored on runs of 12 yards, 54 and 22 in the third quarter to out the game out of reach.

Rawstron finished 6-of-10 in the first half but lost his top receiver, Treadwell, to injury and didn’t complete a second-half pass. He also led the Raiders in rushing with 77 yards on 17 carries.

Jonah Potter finished with 52 rushing yards for Wells, while Tufts rushed for 49.

“The expectations are the same every year,” Roche said. “We want to win it. It’s kind of like what Wells want to do.”

Wells running back Tyler Bridge, center, tries to get between Oak Hill defensive players Gavin Rawstron, left, and Caleb Treadwell during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Oak Hill quarterback Gavin Raswstron runs the ball against Wells during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Wells outside lineback Devin Chace, left, tries to stop Oak Hill’s Caleb Treadwell during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Oak Hill tailback Samuel Lindsay, left, blocks for quarterback Gavin Rawstron during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Oak Hill quarterback Gavin Rawstron drops back to pass during a game against Wells on Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Oak Hill defensive players Caleb Treadwell, left, and Gabe Bergeron, right, try to stop Wells running back Devin Chace during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Wells running back Jonah Potter runs the ball during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Oak Hill’s Caleb Treadwell gets caught by Wells defense during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Wells’ Payton Mackay, top, celebrates with teammate Matt Ouellette after Mackay caught a pass for touchdown during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Wells’ Payton Mackay catches a pass for touchdown during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Because of wind gusts, James Borkowski Jr., left, holds the ball so that Liam Rodrigue can kick off during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Oak Hill running back Caleb Treadwell runs the ball during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Oak Hill’s Gabe Bergeron returns a kickoff against Wells during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Wells running back Devin Chase, left, runs as guard Dylan Whitney blocks Oak Hill’s Cole Beaule during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucettte during a game Saturday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

Oak Hill quarterback Gavin Raswstron looks for a receiver against Wells on Saturday at Oak Hill High in Wales. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

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