Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette lamented his team’s second-half struggles after Friday night’s game against Dirigo. The Raiders fortunately left Dixfield with a victory, but they haven’t always been so lucky.

All six Oak Hill contests contain traces of struggles after halftime. Even when the Raiders were outscoring opponents or holding them even after half, it hasn’t been easy. First came a second-half let-up against Maranacook, which allowed the Black Bears to make the score look closer than it was. Old Orchard Beach didn’t score after halftime (and with the game tied at the break), but the Seagulls got into Oak Hill territory multiple times before committing big mistakes. And Medomak Valley didn’t score at all in its loss to the Raiders, but Oak Hill didn’t score after halftime in a 21-0 win, either.

Then came the Raiders’ two losses, back to back, at Winthrop/Monmouth and Lisbon. Oak Hill trailed at halftime in Winthrop but took the lead early in the fourth quarter, only for the Ramblers to rally back and win. Then the Greyhounds outscored the Raiders 30-0 in the second half after trailing at the break.

Friday’s game at Dirigo saw more of the same. The Raiders led 20-6 at the half, but the Cougars tied it up early in the fourth quarter. Oak Hill made one big offensive play for a score, followed by two big defensive stands to hold on for a much-needed victory.

The Raiders gained just 102 yards in the second half, with 43 coming on their lone touchdown after the break. But Doucette praised his team for weathering a storm it knew was coming and responding to the Cougars’ charge.

Oak Hill, which started the season with three straight home games before going on the road for three straight, finally gets to return to Wales for a regular-season finale against 2-4 Traip Academy.

Doucette will no doubt be looking for his team to finish both the second half — and the season — strong.

Sorting out the standings

There’s just one week left in the regular season for local teams, but there is still much left unsolved as far as the standings go, and a lot is at stake in most season-finale matchups.

The annual Battle of the Bridge between Edward Little and Lewiston has playoff implications on the line. The host Blue Devils and Red Eddies will be battling for playoff seeding. The winner likely gets the No. 5 seed, thus avoiding Portland, while the loser is probably the last team in and gets the sixth seed. But if Oxford Hills/Buckfield slips up at Bangor, then the rivalry winner jumps up and gets a home playoff game against the Vikings.

Mt. Blue currently sits inside the Class B North playoff picture, but not by much. The Cougars finish up at home against 5-2 Skowhegan. Even with a loss they could still make it in, but they would need a loss by Gardiner (which hosts Cony) to help secure their spot.

In B South, it’s simple for Leavitt: The Hornets need a win at home against 6-1 Biddeford.

In C South, it’s fairly simple for Poland: The Knights need to beat rival Gray-New Gloucester (0-7) at home, and also have 5-2 Fryeburg Academy beat 1-6 Lake Region.

The winless Patriots are out, one year after making their first postseason. Fellow local Class C South teams Spruce Mountain and Mountain Valley are in, and have a home game in the first round of the playoffs to battle for when they meet in week eight.

The D South playoff picture is already quite clear. Winthrop/Monmouth is the No. 1 seed after going 7-0. The Ramblers are on a bye this week, then get a first-round bye. Lisbon is the No. 2 seed and finishes up with 1-5 Medomak Valley. The Greyhounds also get a first-round bye.

Oak Hill has earned the No. 3 seed, and will likely face Traip Academy in back-to-back weeks — to end the regular season and to start the playoffs.

Dirigo and Old Orchard Beach are both 3-3 and coincidentally face off in Dixfield this week. The winner gets home-field advantage in a playoff rematch the following week.

Ending on a good note

A little late on this, but let’s give a pat on the back to the Lisbon football team for singing the national anthem at Traip two weeks ago when the sound system failed. The Greyhounds’ performance on the field (a 42-12 win) may have been more well-executed than the one before the game, but kudos for stepping up and keeping the tradition of singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” alive. Even the Rangers’ fans were cheering for the away team after that.

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