H.S. Football: Oak Hill shuts out Traip Academy

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WALES — It didn’t take long for Oak Hill High School’s senior day to become the Alex Mace show. 

Playing in his final regular season home game, Mace had arguably the best game of his high school career Saturday afternoon.

The 6-foot, 190-pound senior running back/defensive back rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on offense and intercepted Traip Academy quarterback Angelo Succi twice, returning the first pick 98 yards for a touchdown in Oak Hill’s 35-0 victory over the Raiders. It’s the fifth game this season the Raiders have scored at least 30 points. 

“I’ll remember this for the rest of my life,” Mace said. “It’s a feeling I’ll never forget.” 

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Mace’s memorable day started less than a minute into the game. On the second play from scrimmage, Mace sprinted 77 yards to the end zone to give Oak Hill (6-1) an early 8-0 lead. Mace had 100 yards rushing on just four carries in the first half. 

“All our running backs have expectations to play the best they can,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “It could be a different guy each week and this week it was Alex. Alex had a great game, he broke a lot of tackles and we felt the line was blocking well for him.” 

The backfield duo of Mace and Kyle Flaherty made life miserable for Traip’s defense. While they only carried the ball a combined 18 times, Mace and Flaherty rushed for 240 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 13.3 yards per attempt. Flaherty hit paydirt on his fourth carry of the game, an 11-yard run up the middle with 6:53 left in the first to put the Raiders ahead 15-0. 

Oak Hill’s defense set up the final 13 points of the half. With Traip inside Oak Hill’s 10-yard line late in the first quarter, Mace jumped a route and picked off Succi at the 2. Mace raced up the right side and got a couple big blocks en route to the end zone. 

“Jonah Martin had a heck of a block,” Mace said. “I never would have got to the end zone if Jonah didn’t make that block and everyone else blocking for me.” 

Mace intercepted Succi two passes later, making a diving catch at his own 30-yard line. He was rewarded for his efforts, scoring on a 10-yard option to the right side two minutes later as the Raiders led 28-0 at halftime. 

Traip dominated time of possession in the second half, but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. The Rangers ran 29 plays in the final 24 minutes, while the Raiders ran just seven. Traip’s opening drive of the second half clicked off more than eight minutes on the clock. It ended on a botched snap on fourth down. 

“Defense played well at times,” Doucette said. “Our bend-don’t-break philosophy worked today. They are a very physical team and I thought we played well.” 

Oak Hill only had two drives in the second half, but it made the last one count. On his first carry of the second half, Mace picked up 40 yards down to the Rangers’ 9-yard line and Flaherty punched it in from five yards out two plays later. 

“They’re an experienced group,” Traip coach Ron Ross said. “That’s where we want to be. It’s good the kids got a chance to see that. We’re young and they’re old. It’s good to get that first half out of the way. Second half we played a lot better. One thing they learned is they have to play 48 minutes, not 24.” 

Flaherty’s final carry of the game gave him 100 yards on 13 carries. 

Nate Henderson led the Rangers with 71 yards on 18 carries. Succi finished 4-for-11 for 47 yards. 

mkraft@sunjournal.com

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