Lisbon’s Colin Houle, left, bounces off Oak Hill’s James Borkowski Jr. as he plows through the line during a Class D playoff game last October. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

The weather in Wales on Saturday looks hard to predict. That’s fitting because the Class D South football matchup to be played in the town that afternoon has been unpredictable in recent years as well.

Oak Hill takes its 4-3 record into a clash with rival Lisbon, which also is 4-3 heading into the regular-season finale.

It might Rain overnight Friday into Saturday, which could mean a muddy gridiron, just like in last year’s playoff meeting, which Oak Hill won in upset fashion.

It might stay dry, and should be sunny by kickoff, as it was in last year’s regular-season matchup at Oak Hill, when Lisbon pulled away at the end.

In any case, the weather might not matter, but the matchup seems to always matter for these two programs, whether it be for playoff positioning or just plain pride.

This year’s matchup means a lot for the postseason. The winner should get a first-round bye, while the loser will host a quarterfinal next week. The Raiders enter the game in the No. 2 spot, and the Greyhounds right behind at No. 3.

On paper, the intriguing matchup appears to be Oak Hill’s offense against Lisbon’s defense.

“They might have the best defense in D South,” Raiders coach Stacen Doucette said.

That defense will be tested, for sure.

“Oak Hill is very multiple with the number of looks that they give a defense,” Greyhounds coach Chris Kates said. “They do a good job getting their athletes in space. If you focus on any one player, they’ll find a way to hurt you with someone else.”

Raiders junior QB Gavin Rawstron is starting in the rivalry for the third year in a row and will be facing the Greyhounds for the fourth time. He scored the lone touchdown in last year’s overtime playoff upset on a keeper run. In the regular-season meeting he threw two touchdown passes but also tossed a pair of pick-sixes in the fourth quarter.

At Rawstron’s disposal are several weapons: He can throw to Liam Rodrigue and Sam Lindsay, or hand off to Caden Thompson, Tiger Hopkins and Quentin Pelkey — or Rawstron can hand off to Rodrigue and Lindsay and throw to Thompson, Hopkins and Pelkey. Oh, and Rawston also is one of the Raiders’ top running threats.

Lisbon senior Seth Leeman used to catch passes, but now he’s the Greyhounds’ starting QB. He will lead an offense that Doucette said is “very good at ball control.”

“We need to move the chains offensively to keep their offense off the field,” Kates said. “Defensively, we need to limit the big plays while getting some timely stops.”

Leeman will have help in the backfield from runners Cam Bourget, Dakota McIver and Justin Le, and Robbie Dick is his favorite target out wide.

Kates said he thinks special teams could be an X-factor.

“Both teams have good athletes,” he said, “so if either team is able to flip the field in the return game it would be huge in deciding the outcome of the game.”

Rodrigue is a standout kicker for the Raiders, while Lisbon’s Levi Levesque has been reliable on extra points.

Doucette pointed to penalties — and who can avoid them best — as a key to the game.


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