Talk about each other? In the best sense of the word? Heck, Oak Hill’s two-headed monster will accept that invitation all day.

“Alex can run people over and beat them to the edge, big time,” Flaherty said.

“I picture me as more of outside guy. Kyle’s more of a middle guy,” chimed in Mace, repaying the generosity. “He can shift through the line really good.”

They’re not twins, or even brothers. They do have the fraternal habit of finishing one another’s sentences.

And without the help of a name and number on the back of the home jersey, but for their complementary styles, it would be tough to identify the two seniors on the field. Mace is listed at six feet, 190 pounds; Flaherty, six feet, 185.

The image of Mace and Flaherty as two puzzle pieces carries over to their career statistics, where each is an equal half of what is unofficially the most productive tandem in state history, regardless of class. Together they have accumulated 8,538 yards heading into Saturday’s Class D state final against Maine Central Institute.


Mace, the speedy, sure-handed one, has 1,378 rushing yards, 473 receiving yards and 19 total touchdowns this season. His career all-purpose totals: 4,250 yards, with 47 visits to the end zone. Flaherty, the shifty, relentless one, has rushed for 1,156 yards and 13 TDs despite missing three games due to injury, inflating his lifetime numbers to 4,288 yards and 39 scores.

Neither wonders what it’s like to be The Guy. Instead, each shudders at the thought of what it would have been like to play four years without a running mate. Mace got a taste of that when Flaherty was sidelined with a leg injury in September.

“I just felt like they were keying on me a little bit more,” Mace said. “It’s 10 times better having Kyle in the game. We give each other breaks. We block for one another. We kind of count on each other.”

Appropriately, it was Mace who lured Flaherty to the tri-town youth football program when the two were starting fifth grade.

“He actually got me to play,” Flaherty recalled. “I played soccer. I hated it, though. It was not my thing. I was just stiff-arming kids to get to the goal.”

That physical nature, and their advanced skills, earned both boys ample playing time as freshmen.


Mace played safety and wingback. He even earned a spot start at quarterback, a development that makes him laugh now, knowing what a mainstay Parker Asselin was under center during his four-year career. Flaherty logged a few carries as a fullback out of the Wing-T.

Stacen Doucette took over as head coach prior to the pair’s sophomore season, transforming the program almost overnight.

The Raiders were a team whose goals typically included getting to the playoffs and perhaps winning a game in October or early November. Suddenly, Oak Hill set its sights on nothing shy of a state championship.

“We turned from a team that had a lot of doubt in our minds to a team that had a lot of confidence going into every game,” Flaherty said.

Oak Hill won the Campbell Conference regular-season title in 2012 but suffered a 13-6 upset loss to Dirigo in the Class C West semifinals.

Surrounded by Asselin at quarterback and the immovable Luke Washburn at tight end, Flaherty and Mace led the Raiders to payback against the Cougars in the 2013 Class D West title game.


Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside shone brightly a week later. Flaherty carried 42 times for 218 yards and three scores. Mace reeled in three passes, two of them touchdowns, for 106 yards. Oak Hill beat Bucksport, 42-35, for its first state championship since 1982.

“It’s a one-two punch,” Doucette said. “They’ve committed to this group of kids, this community, the team and the coaches. They love the game of football. They love their teammates. You couldn’t ask for two better leaders.”

There were nightmarish moments early in this encore dream season.

Hobbled all summer by one strained hamstring, Flaherty injured the other in the first quarter of Game 2 against Dirigo.

Oak Hill lost that game, but the galvanized Raiders rode the running of Mace and the passing of first-year starting QB Dalton Therrien to convincing wins over Maranacook and Winthrop-Monmouth.

“Once we lost to Dirigo we kind of dropped off the radar a little bit, which I think was good for our team,” Flaherty said. “We play better as underdogs.”


It might have even strengthened the Raiders by inspiring a subtle adjustment in Mace’s running style. Now you’re as likely to see him slashing north-and-south as dashing east-and-west.

“The coaches have been telling me I’m a big, rugged kid and can run people over, and just to use my strength,” Mace said. “I guess I just try to do that.”

Win or lose, and while they won’t take credit for it, Flaherty and Mace are proudest of the way in which Wales, Sabattus and Litchfield have adopted the football program during their stay.

Oak Hill has been largely identified with baseball over the years. The Raiders won their first football state title in only the school’s sixth year of existence, then struggled to stay on the map.

Higher enrollment often placed Oak Hill in the same league with such powers as Winslow, Gardiner and Waterville. Locally, the Raiders often were overshadowed by Leavitt, Lisbon and Winthrop.

Now the Route 9 and 126 corridor and neighboring streets are awash in “Raider Country” signs. And teachers and fellow students don’t have to ask the score of Saturday’s game any given Monday. Everybody knows.


“It’s pretty cool. The whole school looks up to us. When our parents all become friends because we’re playing together, it’s really encouraging,” Flaherty said. “This all has been a dream of ours since we were little kids. It’s unreal. It probably won’t sink in for a few more years.”

Flaherty added that football has been “our whole life.” Mace nodded his agreement.

Their partnership might continue if they follow Asselin and Washburn to Husson. Flaherty also has been recruited by Bates.

“Just at the Lisbon game, seeing everybody from the whole community there cheering, it was pretty sweet,” Mace said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do when football is over.”

Whatever it is probably will involve more shared success than self-promotion.

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