MCI’s Braeden Kennedy, right, tries to tackle Oak Hill’s Hunter Drew (22) after Drew intercepted a pass that was tipped by Oak Hill defensive back Adam Hinckley (11) during a football game Saturday at Oak Hill High School’s Stacen Doucette Memorial Field in Wales. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The last time Oak Hill played Maine Central Institute, the Raiders and Huskies were playing for a state championship. The first meeting between the two teams since that matchup seven years ago was a lot different.

After tough starts to their respective seasons, Oak Hill and MCI entered Saturday’s meeting with 0-3 records. Rather than facing one another for Gold Balls, something the Raiders and Huskies did in 2014 and 2015, the two were simply desperate to win a game.

“We’ve got some recent history facing them in a couple state championships not that long ago,” said Oak Hill head coach Chad Stowell, an assistant for the Raiders in those Class D title game matchups. “That was back when both programs were at their peaks. They were fun games.”

Just as it did in both of those state championship bouts, Oak Hill took down MCI yet again Saturday afternoon at Stacen Doucette Memorial Field. The Raiders got a balanced effort on offense and recorded numerous sacks and turnovers on defense in a 44-0 victory.

Hunter Drew and Maverick Swan led the way for Oak Hill, with the former rushing for 131 yards and the latter adding 100 on the ground. But the winning effort, Stowell said, was the product of much more than the successes of those two players.

“We had three different backs run for over 80 yards, three different guys with touchdowns and four different guys with 2-point conversions,” Stowell said. “As a team that doesn’t really have a ton of firepower, being able to have a balanced attack and a diverse attack is something that we try to stress.”


There have been plenty of growing pains this season for an Oak Hill team that had to replace nearly all of its production from a year ago after graduating a large senior class. Inexperience hampered the Raiders in Week 1 and Week 2 losses to John Bapst and Poland, respectively, before Lisbon beat them 48-6 in Week 3.

“When you add it all up, I would estimate we lost about 95 percent of the touching of the football from last year,” Stowell said. “For these young kids to go from getting shut out two weeks ago and scoring six last week to what we did Saturday, it’s something you have to be proud of.”

THE TURNOVER BATTLE frequently decides football games. Waterville has now learned that in both victory and defeat.

In Week 3, Waterville came away with a critical road win against Mt. Desert Island largely in part because it forced three fumbles and an interception from the Trojans, and then capitalized on those miscues. Meanwhile, the Panthers didn’t turn it over once in the 26-20 victory in Bar Harbor.

Waterville by no means had a turnoverfest in Friday’s 50-32 loss to Spruce Mountain, but it did turn the ball over twice to the Phoenix’s once. The second of those turnovers proved costly as the Phoenix scored two plays after a muffed punt to go up two scores, while Waterville failed to capitalize on Spruce Mountain’s lone turnover in the fourth quarter.

“We won that game against MDI because we went down there and won the turnover battle,” said Waterville head coach Isaac LeBlanc. “We lost the game (Friday) because we didn’t win the turnover battle, and they were able to capitalize and take advantage of that.”


Waterville’s next game will be against Morse in a rematch of last year’s eight-man Large School North championship game. The Panthers will first get a week to focus on self-improvement as they enter the bye, and LeBlanc knows there’s work to be done before his team faces another stiff test.

“You can’t go up against these good teams and lose the turnover battle and make the kind of mistakes we made,” LeBlanc said. “We’ve got to force our own turnovers, too. Otherwise, you’re not going to beat teams like this; it’s just not going to happen.”

GARDINER CRUISED TO a 41-0 win over Brunswick on Friday night at Hoch Field. The Tigers — who improved to 3-1 and won their third consecutive game — pounded the Dragons offensively on the ground and through the air.

What may have been surprising for Tiger fans, however, was the number of times Gardiner went to the air. Quarterback Wyatt Chadwick finished 17 of 34 passing for 244 yards and a touchdown. Of those 34 passes, 26 came in the first half.

“That’s our new offense around this year, trying to get the ball in the air,” Chadwick said.

The strategy certainly worked. Chadwick was able to take what the Brunswick defense was giving to him, hitting screens, flat routes and in routes all evening. Chadwick managed to spread the ball around to five different receivers.


“When we watched film, we noticed the corners and safeties played back a little bit,” Chadwick said. “Part of the game plan was going to be those quick (routes). With the wind, we decided those quick balls were going to be effective.”

Gardiner had success on the ground as well. Chadwick ran for 92 yards on nine carries, along with three rushing touchdowns. Colton Dube added 89 yards on the ground on 22 carries, with a touchdown. The Tigers will need all of the offense working Friday night in their biggest test to date, taking on Skowhegan (4-0).

IT’S EASY TO say Cony kicker Kam Douin was aided by the stiff south breeze Friday at Cony’s Fuller Field. But how many other kickers, no matter the wind conditions, can kick off for touchbacks the way Douin did?

Douin, a converted soccer player, boomed two kickoffs Friday that landed well behind the end zone in Cony’s 34-10 victory over Windham. And he can kick for placement, too: A line-drive punt made under pressure in the third quarter rolled to the Eagles’ 13-yard line. He was 4-for-5 on extra points, each kick sailing deep into the night both with and against the wind.

Douin joined the team as a weekend warrior of sorts, according to Rams coach B.L. Lippert, playing soccer during the week and donning the helmet and pads on Fridays. But this season, he’s traded futbol for football full-time. He played wide receiver and cornerback Friday and caught one pass for 12 yards.

“When he kicks off, he’s a weapon,” Lippert said. “When he has the wind to his back, he’s going to get touchbacks. Staring at the 20 (-yard line) is a big difference from starting from the 30 or the 40 like some other teams have to do. When he gets his foot into it, he can pin them deep.”


Central Maine newspapers staff writer David Bailey contributed to this report.

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