Sam Lindsey is an important part of Oak Hill’s success on both sides of the ball this season. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

WALES — Sam Lindsay spent his free time during this past offseason in the weight room and watching film. 

It’s paid as Lindsay, one of Oak Hill’s top playmakers, has taken the next step and has been a huge reason for the Raiders’ success in Class D South this season. 

“I tried to focus on lifting in the weight room and watch a lot of film,” Lindsay said. “There’s not much else better to do than prepare for football. So I watched film on teams we are going to play to understand their offense and defense. It’s been working great.”

Oak Hill head coach Stacen Doucette has taken note of the junior slot back and running back’s dedicated work, and what it means for the team. 

“Sam transformed his body in the weight room this year,” Doucette said. “He had a lot of weight room time. That makes a difference, especially this time of year because the kids that lift can take the beating. He doesn’t come off the field.”

Oak Hill entered last Saturday’s game with Spruce Mountain as the underdog with a 3-3 record. Thankfully for the Raiders, Lindsay came ready to play. 

The junior scored two touchdowns on the ground and one from a pass from Gavin Rawstrom, as Oak Hill won 40-20. Lindsay played a big role in the Raiders’ win, but he said a big part of the success was the maulers up front.

“They’re huge and they make great holes,”  Lindsay said of the offensive line. “It’s wide open, especially against Spruce, it was like playing Madden.”

Oak Hill’s Sam Lindsay looks over at his quarterback as he lines up for a play during the Raiders’ game against Winthrop in September. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Doucette said the offensive line has made the most strides this season. 

“I think that’s probably our most improved position right now,” Doucette said. “We aren’t the same as when we started. We have improved and we have rotations now that we can use seven or eight kids that we trust, and we’ve improved on both sides of the line.”

Lindsay has made the most of the holes that have been opened for him, and his shiftiness and versatility has been huge for the Raiders.

Opponents have noticed, and usually give Lindsay extra attention. Doucette has taken advantage of that.

“You can plug him in at different positions, like slot back or running back,” Doucette said. “He can do a lot. People I think identify him and I think it opens it up for other guys. … At times he might be the best athlete on the field, but at other times he might be a decoy.

“He knows that and we’ve had a lot of other kids step up because of what Sam brings to the table. A lot of kids have enjoyed success because of him. It’s about team here.”

Lindsay said chemistry is also a huge factor in the offense’s success. 

“This is a group of kids that have been together for a while,” Lindsay said. “We just gel together pretty well. We have known each other since fourth and fifth grade and it really helps. It makes you want to play harder for them.”

Lindsay and quarterback Gavin Rawstron are good friends and play football, basketball and baseball together. That connection helps them, but Lindsay recognizes that the Raiders have a lot of options, and has great confidence that the QB will choose the right one.

“We’ve been trying to spread out the ball and we have a lot of weapons,” Lindsay said. “We have Tiger (Hopkins), Caden Thompson, a bunch of young guys, too, and that helps. Last year there was a big group of sophomores who got a lot of varsity time.”

That “big group of sophomores” passed a big test in last year’s playoffs, winnings a significant underdogs against Lisbon, which Oak Hill hosts Saturday (1:30 p.m.) in the regular season finale.

“It was great,” Lindsay said of last year’s playoff win. “It gave us a lot of confidence, coming in as a seventh seed and winning against a team like that, it felt great.”

The game was won by the defense. Lindsay plays an important role on that side of the ball, as well. 

“I think Sam brings experience,” Doucette said. “I think he’s a ball hawk when the ball is in the air. He knows the situations because he played a lot last year. That experience is a big deal.”

Spruce Mountain’s Michael Shaw is taken down in the end zone by Oak Hill’s Sam Lindsay during Saturday afternoon’s football game in Wales. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Lindsay says he still makes some mental mistakes, but knows where he needs to improve. He watches the film. 

“Our games are closer than they seem,” Lindsay said. “Winthrop, I had some mental mistakes on my part. We could’ve won those games, but I need to be better.”

Doucette has seen the growth of the team from preseason to now. 

“We always tell our kids, ‘If you make a mistake, flush it and move on to the next play,’” Doucette said. “That’s important for Sam. … I don’t think we are the same team as when we started.”

As they showed in the win over Spruce, the Raiders are playing their best at the right time heading into its final regular season before the postseason. 

“Our confidence is at a pretty good high,” Lindsay said.


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