WALES — A team that can control the running game often finds success in football. Wells proved that Saturday afternoon against Oak Hill.
The Warriors rang up all 341 yards on the ground, while holding the Raiders to just 33 rushing yards in a 41-21 Class D South football victory.
“They’re a very physical team. They’ve committed to weightlifting as a program and as a community, and it showed in their play,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “Because of their ability to lift and their workout program and their commitment as a team … we had a hard time running the ball.”
Wells (5-0) ran the ball for 119 yards in the first quarter and led 14-0 after touchdown runs by Tyler Bridge and Nolan Potter.
They were held to just 13 yards on the ground in the second quarter, and they gave up 96 passing yards to Gavin Rawstron and the Raiders (2-3) offense after holding them without a yard through the air in the first quarter.
“We just thought we’d throw the ball a little bit and allow our receivers and our QB to make some plays, and the offensive line did a good job in pass protection,” Doucette said.
Rawstron through touchdown passes to Darryn Bailey and Caleb Treadwell to tie the game up 14-14 at halftime.
“I think that second quarter was our weird quarter for us,” Wells coach Tim Roche said.
The Warriors went back to basics in the second half. Very basic.
“We basically ran two plays, one to Nolan and one to Tyler, and just kind of said to the kids, ‘Let’s stuff it right down their throats,'” Roche said. “It’s funny, you make all these adjustments, then you come out and just run two plays in the second half.”
Bridge and Potter each ran for touchdowns in both the third and fourth quarters. Bridge ran for 115 of his 122 yards in the second half, while Potter picked up 94 of his 141 rushing yards.
“The line did a great job the second half,” Bridge said.
Wells led 28-14 after three quarters, then Cruz Poirier cut it to 28-21 early in the fourth. The Warriors didn’t make the same mistake of letting the Raiders back in it, however. Bridge bounced the next play to the outside and broke a couple tackles along the left sideline on his way to a 59-yard touchdown run that seized momentum for Wells for good.
“It was a little stuffed in the middle, so I bounced out, got some nice blocks, I just kept my feet moving,” Bridge said.
Potter closed out the scoring on another one-play drive, rumbling in from 10 yards out on the ensuing play after a bad Oak Hill punt snap.
The Raiders struggled to do the same kind of rumbling. Their longest run of the game went for 10 yards, and Poirier spent the game looking for running room that didn’t exist.
“We have a tough run defense,” Roche said. “I think teams are forced to kind of put it up on us a little bit.”
That’s what Oak Hill did down 14 points in the second quarter. After Rawstron started the game 0 for 4 passing, he completed 5 of his next 6 passes, including the two scoring strikes.
“Gavin played a good game,” Doucette said. “When we throw the ball well, it’s not just the quarterback. It’s the pass protection, it’s the receivers doing their job, running their routes. So I thought it was a good team effort passing the ball.”
Rawstron finished 11 of 20 for 121 yards.
Oak Hill High School’s Darryn Bailey grabs a 25-yard pass from quarterback Gavin Rawstron over Wells High School’s Christian Saulnier during first-half action in Wales on Saturday. Wells High School’s Nolan Potter runs past Oak Hill High School’s Darryn Bailey for a 19-yard touchdown in the first half in Wales on Saturday. Wells won the game, 41-21. Wells High School’s Chad Fitzpatrick runs past Oak Hill High School’s Bailey Drouin, left, and Cruz Poirier, right, during a first-half carry in Wales on Saturday.