BETHEL — Oak Hill put up more offense and caused more havoc on defense in the first quarter of Saturday’s season-opener with Telstar than many teams do in an entire game.

The Raiders churned out 233 yards and forced three fumbles in the first 12 minutes to take a commanding 34-7 lead after one quarter and cruised to a 52-29 win in both teams’ Class D debut.

Kyle Flaherty rushed 13 times for 191 yards and three touchdowns for Oak Hill. QB Parker Asselin added a rushing touchdown and two passing touchdowns in what amounted to about three quarters of action.

“The win was important to get our guys’ confidence up,” said Asselin, one of just five seniors on Oak Hill’s roster. “They’re pretty young. They need confidence. And we got the young guys in there quite a bit, which helps us with depth a little bit.”

Working behind an offensive line with just one starter back from last year, senior Bayley Beaulieu, Flaherty ran for touchdowns of 52, 3 and 44 yards. Fellow junior Alex Mace (five carries, 52 yards) added a 12-yard touchdown (and oen receiving), Asselin a six-yard scoring run and freshman Brian Thorpe  a 33-yard touchdown gallop.

Last year, the Raiders relied on a big, experienced offensive line to push defenses around. This year’s line, which averages about 30 or 40 pounds less per man than that group, showed it could control the line of scrimmage just as effectively.

“They’re getting better each week,” Flaherty said of the rebuilt O-line, which also includes juniors Mike Pease and Kody Voisine and sophomores Garrett Gile and Brendon Tervo.

“They may not be the biggest guys around, but they’re some of the smartest around,” Asselin said.

The Raiders opened the game with a seven-play, 80-yard drive capped by Mace’s touchdown run.

Telstar fumbled on its own 26 on its first possession. Luke Washburn, who led the defense with two sacks and two fumble recoveries, pounced on it, then threw the key block on Asselin’s subsequent touchdown run.

The Rebels put the ball on the ground five times in the first quarter, losing it three times. Their only highlight of the first period came when Mike Dougherty blocked a punt, which Jared Vermette scooped up and carried to the Raider 1 yard line. Vermette scored from there on a QB sneak to make it 16-7.

Oak Hill needed just two plays to respond, as Tervo sealed off the corner to open up daylight on Flaherty’s 52-yard touchdown run.

Samson Lacroix then strip-sacked Vermette near midfield and Washburn took it to the Rebel 3 to set up Flaherty’s second score. Another fumble, this one recovered by Garrett Labbe, set up Asselin’s first touchdown pass, a 39-yarder to Mace, to close out the scoring in the first quarter.

“Offensively, we were looking to execute, (get) in and out of the huddle and have a good pace,” said Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette, whose team outgained the Rebels, 531-242. “Defensively, we were looking to bend not break and just follow our assignments. I’m pretty happy with the kids.”

Oak Hill’s starters shuttled on and off the field from the start of the second quarter on.

Telstar tailback Austin Ryerson (six carries, 112 yards) had touchdown runs of six and 52 yards and Vermette added a nifty 86-yard touchdown jaunt off a broken play.

“Our guys, their attitudes, they did not give up,” Telstar coach Tim O’Connor said. “That’s a breath of fresh air. We’ve been working hard at that. I think teams in the past sometimes would have given up, get down on themselves or whatever, but we didn’t give up. We seemed to play better defensively in the second half.”

Levi Buteau added a 25-yard touchdown catch from Asselin for the Raiders.

Telstar sophomore running back Cameron Pike suffered what Connor said appeared to be an upper arm or shoulder injury after a big hit on the Oak Hill sideline in the second quarter. He was taken off the field on a stretcher and taken via ambulance to a local hospital.


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