The Raiders get a stop, helped by the fickle fate of a loose pigskin, to protect the lead in the fourth quarter. Then they bleed the clock dry.

It worked again on a blustery Saturday afternoon, and yet again at Lisbon’s expense. After the Greyhounds’ third unanswered touchdown of a titanic comeback ended in a botched extra point, the Raiders ran out the final 5:18 to prevail, 21-20, and keep the Class D South title for the third consecutive year.

“I went into the huddle and there was no panic, no concern,” Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette said. “I told them before that fourth-down play, ‘If you guys get a first down, you get one more bus ride.’ It showed. Composure and senior leadership.”

Levi Buteau lugged the first carry five yards before Dalton Therrien ran it nine consecutive times, converting two third downs and lastly a fourth down as time expired.

Therrien amassed 231 total yards and all three touchdowns for Oak Hill (10-0), which advanced to a championship rematch against Maine Central Institute (10-0) of Pittsfield at 7 p.m. Friday in Orono.

Two-time defending state champion Oak Hill has won 20 consecutive games overall and owns an eight-game winning streak over Lisbon (7-3), including one-point wins in the past two regional championship games.

“It happened three years ago. It happened this year. There’s a reason they’re here. They’re good,” Therrien said. “We told everybody at halftime if we don’t come out and put the foot on the pedal, that’s going to happen.”

Therrien ran for touchdowns of 1, 8 and 3 yards, all in the second quarter, for a 21-0 halftime lead. That remained the margin until the six-minute mark of the third quarter, when the Greyhounds doggedly refused to go away.

Tyler Halls fired a 43-yard strike to Henry Adams, made easier when Therrien slipped in the secondary, to give Lisbon its third peek at Oak Hill territory all afternoon. Four plays later, Noah Francis barged in from four yards away, followed by Blake Berube’s extra point.

“We talked (at halftime) about being a team again,” Lisbon coach Dick Mynahan said. “This team has excelled this year. They played better than expected. I didn’t want them to feel that we were disappointed. We just said let’s go out here and play our football and see what happens and have fun.”

Oak Hill’s next drive deescalated from elation to anger to mayhem in the space of four plays. First, Therrien’s apparent 68-yard touchdown run was nullified by a block in the back.

“It’s always tough when you have a big play like that with momentum and it comes back,” Therrien said. “The team knows they have to stay together and just get the next one.”

Lisbon shut down two consecutive runs from midfield before Henry Adams stepped in front of a throw to the left flat and returned it 38 yards, piggybacked by a personal foul that advanced the ball to the Raiders’ 16.

It was Therrien’s first interception in 118 attempts this season.

“I told the kids at halftime that we’ve been in this situation before, and they’re going to make a run,” Doucette said. “They did. They’re a good football team. They made plays too. That kid who intercepted the ball is an all-star, and it showed.”

Francis charged up the middle for 4 and 6 yards to set up a 6-yard Halls scamper to the pylon. Berube’s boot made it 21-14 with 2:31 to go in the third.

Tyrese Joseph’s tackle of Therrien capped a three-and-out for the Lisbon defense, and Halls’ 26-yard punt return put the Greyhounds in business again near midfield.

Undaunted by two penalties, Lisbon drove 13 plays, including a pair of fourth-down conversions. The 250-pound Francis bounced lithely off tackle on his longest run of the day for the TD.

Mynahan elected to kick again rather than play for two points and the lead.

“We were talking about it,” he said. “With five and a half minutes to go, I was hoping we would tie the game and hold them. We had the wind.”

The snap was perfect, but the ball slipped from Halls’ fingers as he went to place it on the tee.

Alertly the quarterback rolled to his left and launched a low throw to the end zone, but it sailed into a cluster of Oak Hill defenders that included Austin Goucher and Connor Elwell.

“I saw (Berube) hesitate to kick it, and then I saw (Halls) rolling out, so I just booked it to the sideline,” Elwell said.

Oak Hill’s offense kicked into gear after swapping sides and having the stiff wind at its back to begin the second quarter.

Buteau stopped Francis for no gain on fourth down at the Oak Hill 41. Therrien was 4-for-7 for 52 yards on the ensuing drive. Jonah Martin’s 17-yard grab on third-and-10 moved the Raiders to the Lisbon 28, and Connor Nilsson went head-and-belly-first for a 21-yard snare on fourth-and-long.

Therrien punched it in on a quarterback sneak three plays later. Steven Gilbert’s kick made it 7-0 with 8:26 left in the half.

“We were against the wind in the first quarter. It was hard to pass over 10 yards,” Therrien said. “Once we had both options, passing and running, I think it backed the defense up more.”

Lisbon misplayed the kickoff into that swirling breeze. That pinned the Greyhounds at the 6, and pressure up the middle forced Halls to rush a throw into the waiting arms of the Raiders’ Darryn Bailey.

Therrien ran an 8-yard keeper to the right to set up first-and-goal, then churned out a carbon copy to the left for his second score.

Gilbert grabbed two first downs and Nilsson caught another on Oak Hill’s third touchdown drive, concluding with Therrien’s third TD plunge with 1:27 to go.

Fittingly it was Therrien who knocked down Halls’ Hail Mary to Adams and preserved the halftime lead.

“The passing game was going on all cylinders in the first half,” Doucette said. “I think in the second half it could have, too, but they played keep-away. They got the ball and wouldn’t give it to us.”

Francis carried 21 times for 94 yards and Halls put up 129 combined yards running and throwing for the Greyhounds, who will graduate only three starters.

“We had a little momentum going, and that makes a difference with Tyler, too. He got things rolling. We were hoping for one more series,” Mynahan said. “Disappointing game and disappointing finish, you know what I mean?”

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