KITTERY — Oak Hill only needed one more long drive to secure its first playoff win since 2003, but the Raiders didn’t want to leave anything to chance.
Not only did they run the clock down, they built their lead up, just to be safe.
Josh Allen rushed to 133 yards and a touchdown and Cam Morin ran and threw for a score to lead No. 5 Oak Hill to a 25-13 victory over No. 4 Traip Saturday at Memorial Field.
The Raiders (5-4) move on to the semifinals to face top-seeded Yarmouth next Friday.
Traip (6-3), playing in its first playoff game since 1991, pulled to within 18-13 on Tommy Ginn’s 4-yard touchdown run with 6:49 remaining. After Oak Hill sophomore Brandon Potvin recovered the ensuing on-side kick attempt at his own 43, the Raiders took the field with one thing in mind.
“We knew that we had to run it out. We also knew that we needed to get first downs to do it,” Allen said. “We just kept driving it. A few occasions we passed it because it kept opening up all game in the flats. We stayed in bounds and ate up the clock.”
It was a textbook game-clinching drive by the Raiders. Allen, Cody DePuy and Joel Wells split carries on the first four plays, then on 3rd-and-6, Morin found Allen in the right flat for a 19-yard gain that moved the chains.
With Morin delaying the snap until the last possible second on the play clock, the Raiders kept the ball on the ground the next seven plays before Morin scored the clinching touchdown from a yard out with 9.6 seconds remaining.
Oak Hill outgained Traip, 310-194, and forced the Rangers out of character and throw the ball more than they normally do, including a few halfback options and wildcat passes by Alex Gamester, who was 0-for-3.
“(Defensive coordinator) Mike Haley does a great job of looking at what the other team might do, not only what we’ve seen them do, but what they might do,” Oak Hill coach Dave Wing said. “I think our kids were pretty well prepared and we’re pretty pleased with the defensive effort today.”
The Raiders weren’t able to take advantage when Nick Wells recovered a Traip fumble on the game’s first series, but they were able to grind out a 13-play, 80-yard drive on their next possession and take a 6-0 lead on DuPuy’s 4-yard run.
Traip answered on its next possession, taking a 7-6 lead on a 9-yard run by Ginn (16 carries, 90 yards) and Gamester’s extra point.
Oak Hill regained the lead quickly as Allen took a handoff up the middle, bounced outside, got a block from Craig Morrill to get around the corner and sprinted down the left sideline 52 yards to a 12-7 edge.
“It was on the belly (play),” Allen said. “The line was blocking good all day and the hole opened up. I saw one of my ends coming in and crashing down on the linebacker, so I bounced it out, and then I had Craig Morrill downfiled for me picking up a block that was huge.”
“(Traip’s) a big team. They’ve got big backs and big linemen and we were afraid they were going to wear us down if we didn’t get ahead early,” Wing said.
The Rangers threatened to take the lead again after Ginn’s 69-yard kick return put them deep in Raider territory. But Tyler Nay fumbled on second down and Morrill recovered to keep the Raiders in front at halftime.
“We’re looking to go up and we fumble. That’s probably the game right there,” Traip coach Ron Ross said.
Traip had another chance to go out in front in the third quarter when Oak Hill fumbled at its own 26. But the Raider defense, aided by a Traip false-start penalty on 4th-and-5 from the 10, held.
Oak Hill took over in the shadow of its own end zone and quickly tilted the field with a 59-yard completion from Morin (5-for-8, 109 yards) to Cody Provost.
Six plays later, on 4th-and-10 from the 13, Morin dropped back to pass, checked off his first two receivers and hooked up with Provost again, this time in the middle of the end zone, to inflate the Raider cushion to 18-7 six seconds into the fourth quarter.
“The first reads are Josh and Craig on the outside,” Morin said. “Cody’s usually open, well, he’ll tell you he always open, but he usually is. I just read down my keys and he was right there in the middle, wide open.”