WALES — Oak Hill coach Chad Stowell said Lisbon took it to his team physically in the teams’ first meeting of the season.

The Raiders won that game, but they wanted to play tougher in Saturday’s Class D football quarterfinal. 

Fourth-seeded Oak Hill forced four turnovers and shut down fifth-seeded Lisbon on its final drive to escape with a 20-19 victory at Stacen Doucette Memorial Field. 

“Just being aggressive on defense and being really athletic,” Stowell said. “I think the last time we played them we let them take it to us a little more, so we wanted to take it to the line of scrimmage. They have some physical backs and we don’t match up physically with them, but if we swarm to the ball, be athletes, then good things are going to happen.”

Oak Hill (6-4) running back Caden Thompson, one of nine seniors on the team, opened the game with a 40-yard run on the first play from scrimmage. That run gave the Raiders possession at Lisbon’s 17-yard line, and five plays later, Thompson punched it in from 3 yards out to give Oak Hill a 6-0 lead just 2:06 into the game.

The Greyhounds (3-4) first drive ended in a fumble that Oak Hill recovered at its 38-yard line. 

Quarterback Jackson Arbour helped lead the Raiders down the field with a couple of throws for first downs, which set up a 12-yard touchdown run up the middle by Tiger Hopkins. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful again, so the Raiders’ lead stood at 12-0 with 2:27 remaining in the first quarter.

Thompson’s and Hopkins’ runs and Arbours passing were indicative of the team effort that it took for the Raiders to win Saturday and advance to face No. 1 Foxcroft (9-0) in next week’s semifinals.

“Caden is definitely our number one guy and teams start to key in on him, but having playmakers like Tiger, (wide receiver) Maverick Swan, having a quarterback in Jackson that’s seen a lot and is able to check us out of plays,” Stowell said. “Today, Gabe Perry had to play center because we found out our starting center, Latrell Williams, was quarantined yesterday at 11 a.m. Gabe stepped up and was able to take control there. We have a lot of guys that played their sophomore year (two years ago) and had a lot of kids that could execute today.”

The Greyhounds, though, battled back. On the ensuing drive, Colby Levasseur, who ran for 132 yards in the game, scored from 6 yards out. Jimmy Fitzsimmons kicked the extra point and Lisbon cut the deficit to 12-7 with 10:37 left in the first half. 

Arbour threw an interception to Lisbon’s Emmett Mooney, but the Raiders got the ball back during the Greyhounds’ possession by falling on a loose ball.

Oak Hill punted the ball back to Lisbon, but Fitzsimmons threw an interception to Hopkins with 54 seconds left in the first half. 

The Raiders only turned one of the three first-half turnovers it forced into points, but still held onto its lead.

“The turnovers were great, but we just couldn’t battle it on offense, get past it and score,” Thompson said. “Us seniors, we took some leadership and helped battle through the adversity and ended up coming through.”

Fitzsimmons took off for a 77-yard touchdown run on the second play of Lisbon’s second drive of the second half. The score gave the Greyhounds momentum and a 13-12 lead with 7:52 left in the third quarter.

Oak Hill’s next drive included three false-start penalties and ended in a turnover on downs near the end of the third quarter.

“We battled, we had a lot of mistakes, and didn’t really capitalize, but we hung in,” Stowell said. “We have nine seniors, eight seniors here right now, and it shows that sometimes experience is better than skill. I think that’s what it was today.”

The Raiders got the ball back when it recovered a Lisbon fumble after a low snap.

“You can’t turn the ball over multiple times and win a playoff game,” Lisbon coach Chris Kates said. “We made our fair share of mistakes in this game and it’s hard to overcome that in a playoff football game.”

Two plays after, Thompson ran in a 14-yard touchdown and then threw a pass to Arbour for a two-point conversion to give Oak Hill the 20-13 advantage. 

“It was pretty fun because he’s our quarterback and I got to throw him a pass,” Thompson said. “We practiced it during the week, so seeing it in the game was a lot of fun.” 

Two Lisbon drives later, Levasseur and Jordan Cabral led an 83-yard drive on the ground, which was capped off with a 10-yard touchdown from Levasseur. Lisbon, trailing 20-19, decided to go for two, but Nick Blair was stuffed at the line of scrimmage, and Oak Hill hung onto its 20-19 lead with 7:14 left in the game.

“I thought we were moving the ball well and getting good push off the line,” Kates said. “We had some trouble in the kick game early in the game and so we felt like it was the right time to go for it.”

Lisbon did get the ball back with 3:54 left in the game on its own 23-yard line, but the drive stalled out and three consecutive incompletions ended the Greyhounds’ season. 

“We had to have our defense make some plays, especially on that last defensive stand (of the game),” Stowell said.

The Greyhounds finish the season 3-4, which included winning their final three regular season games.

“I think we improved as the season went on and we did some really good things, and hopefully we improve on that next year,” Kates said. 

Stowell said Raiders’ chemistry helped the team earn the victory. 

“This team is really coming together, they’re enjoying themselves, and it’s a good group to coach,” Stowell said. “I think when they enjoy themselves we play pretty good football.”

No. 4 Oak Hill will play No. 1 Foxcroft Academy (9-0) next week in a Class D semifinal. 

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