WALES — Oak Hill took an early lead, but Austin Seavey and Caden Crocker led Foxcroft Academy to a 41-20 high school victory Saturday in Wales. 

The Raiders scored first after Caden Thompson snuffed out a fake punt by Foxcroft, which gave Oak Hill its first possession on the Ponies’ 28-yard line. Thompson then rushed for 16 yards over three carries to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Tiger Hopkins that put the Raiders up 6-0. 

Fans in the Oak Hill bleachers were loud, the team was fired up and the first game of the season for the Raiders, and first since coach Stacen Doucette died, was off to a great start. 

“I think we came out with a really high level of intensity and we tried to get the ball to some of our leaders,” coach Chad Stowell said. “Caden had a really good first drive, and we expect that from him. I don’t know if we caught Foxcroft off guard, but we had a really high-level of excitement. Not being around football for a long time, that’ll get guys really antsy.

“And on top of everything, I think, as I told the guys, the year off probably affected us with what happened with Coach Doucette even more than a lot of other teams. I think what happened was we got so high at first that we had a hard time coming down. We had a hard time responding to their intensity.”

On the ensuing drive, the Ponies answered with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Seavey to Crocker.

“Austin is doing what he’s doing because of the work he has put in,” Foxcroft coach Danny White said. “He’s put himself in position to be successful on first, second, third and fourth down. He’s put in the work to be able to make the plays with his arm or legs. Caden can take over a game at any point. We’re pretty fortunate to have those two to make a play when we need it.”

Oak Hill answered that score with a 10-play drive on its next possession, which ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass by Jackson Arbour to Hopkins that gave the Raiders a 12-7 lead with 11:52 left in the first half.

Seavey and the Ponies were unfazed, and hit back with a 10-play drive of their own that was capped by a 10-yard Crocker touchdown run during which he broke multiple tackles, including a group of four defenders, en route to the end zone.

Along with his two touchdowns, Crocker racked up 121 total yards (86 receiving and 35 rushing).

“Caden is a great playmaker, we try to get him the ball as much as possible,” Seavey said. “He’s put in a ton of work this offseason, in the weight room, on the field, he watches a ton of film so he really understands his routes. He’s a really smart player and after the catch he’s great, too. The kid’s unreal.”

That score gave Foxcroft a 14-12 lead, then a defensive stop set up another Ponies score, a 1-yard run up the middle by Seavey. 

Oak Hill was staring at a 21-12 deficit. Along with that, an injury to Hopkins’ knee kept him out the rest of the game. That meant other, younger players had to step up.

“Tiger is one of our most experienced players, not just in football but he’s an unbelievable lacrosse player,” Stowell said. “I think there’s not anyone we have that handles the speed of varsity athletics better than Tiger. I think having him go down was a little bit of a gut-check moment, and now that they’ve gone through that they’ll be better for it.”

Seavey threw one more touchdown in the first half, a 37-yarder on a screen to Gage Beaudry as time expired that gave the Ponies a 28-12 lead at halftime.

White said that at halftime Foxcroft’s defense needed to make changes to keep Oak Hill at bay.

“We needed to have a little bit more energy and intensity,” White said of his team’s second half. “They won the line of scrimmage the majority of the game. We challenged them to be tougher up front so we weren’t always in a position to have to make a play on third down, or (so) on offense we didn’t have to always dig deep and make a big play on third-and-long. Kudos to them, they played us tough and made it an exciting game.”

Oak Hill’s Maverick Swan opened the second half with a 51-yard touchdown run that cut the deficit to 28-20. While the Raiders gained 141 of their 194 yards rushing in the second half, Swan’s touchdown was their final score. 

“There’s a lot of guys who haven’t been on a varsity football field before, but now they have,” Stowell said. “It’s 100 percent more experience than they had before. I tried to talk to some of the guys late in the game and tried to say that it’s hard to simulate game speed in practice without getting possibly hurt.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: