Monday Morning Quarterback: Bailey stands tall for Raiders

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It’s no surprise to any opponent by now that Oak Hill likes to get the ball into the hands of senior receiver Darryn Bailey. Wells just had to learn the lesson the hard way about what happens when Bailey does get the ball.

Bailey helped ignite a Raiders passing offense in the second quarter of Saturday’s 41-21 loss. He caught two passes for a combined 51 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown, on Oak Hill’s first scoring drive.

“Touches is a big deal, getting Darryn touches,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said.

In all, Bailey was targeted 12 times by quarterback Gavin Rawstron, and the duo connected seven times for 73 yards.

“(Bailey) is a good, little player. He goes up and gets the ball. He’s an athlete, and he goes up and gets the ball,” Wells coach Tim Roche said. “I thought we were there (one play), and he just outplayed us. We’re small. That’s our issue, is we’re short on one side of the ball.”

The play Roche pointed out was a 25-yard catch by Bailey in which he beat Christian Saulnier to a jump ball on that first Oak Hill scoring drive.

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The Warriors decided after that drive to switch out the 5-foot-5 Saulnier for 6-foot-3 Tyler Bridge to cover Bailey.

“First half, we just covered whoever was on our side. And then second half we ended up switching so I could cover him,” Bridge said. “He was probably one of the best receivers we’ve faced yet so far. He was tough to cover. It was fun playing against him.”

Bridge fared a little better on Bailey, defending two passes headed Bailey’s way in the first quarter, while keeping him in check in the second half.

Bailey got some defensive revenge on Bridge late in the second quarter, knocking away a fake-punt pass intended for Bridge.

Can’t stay blue

Lewiston still has time to bounce back from its second loss of the season, a 19-18 gut punch at Deering’s Memorial Field. 

It was also the second time the Blue Devils have let a game slip through their fingers in the second half. A 14-0 halftime lead at Windham ended in a 20-14 loss. They squandered an 18-0 lead in the final 6 ½ minutes.

Those losses chip away at the confidence and excitement around a team that thought it had an opportunity to establish itself as a contender after shutting out Oxford Hills for a 2-0 start.

Coach Bruce Nicholas said the team still has a lot  to prove in the last three weeks.

“For our whole community. Who are we?,” Nicholas said. “You know, Lewiston is a little bit fired up about us doing well, but now, they’re going to say ‘Well, maybe you guys aren’t that good,’ and whatever. We just have to be a solid group this week and come back. There’s a lot of football to play.”

Lewiston is back at its home away from home, Garcelon Field, where it is 2-0 this season, to a date with Cheverus. The Mustangs are coming off a 31-21 win over winless Portland. The Blue Devils go to those same Bulldogs the following week and hope to have some momentum heading into what could be a big Battle of the Bridge with Edward Little.

Vikings take a break with South

The good news for Oxford Hills is it picked up its first home win of the season with Saturday’s  29-17 homecoming comeback victory over Windham. And the Vikings have two of their last three games at home.

That win was even more vital for the Vikings because they are going on a two-week hiatus from the North.

The next game is against Class A South power Thornton Academy, which will be anxious to put its 49-14 loss to Bonny Eagle behind it. After that, the Vikings have arguably a tougher test the following week at Scarborough. The Red Storm’s only loss was a close one to Thornton, 32-28.

Vikings coach Mark Soehren was glad for both the Heal points and the morale boost the Windham win gave his team after tough losses to Lewiston and Edward Little. 

Soehren and the Vikings have embraced the tough schedule since preseason, but they a reminder that they should be a factor in A North was needed for those wearing green as much as the rest of the conference.

“We had to start out this week with that,” Soehren said. “The thing in the North, though, and we’ve talked about it many times as a staff, is make the playoffs and who knows who’s coming out of here.”  

The Vikings may have home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs on the line in their final game of the regular season, home against Cheverus.

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