Oct. 2—WALES — When Oak Hill's offense slowed, it turned to its star running back to make a defensive play.
In the third quarter, Caden Thompson came in on a tackle and took the ball from Bucksport running back Josh Miller's hands and brought it back 83 yards for the deciding touchdown.
The Raiders' defense held off the Golden Bucks enough for the rest of the game to leave Stacen Doucette Memorial Field with a 25-20 Class D victory on Saturday afternoon.
"I didn't even see the play," Oak Hill (3-1) coach Chad Stowell said. "I was looking at something else and Caden told me that he just took it from the runner. It's typical Caden. He's the most mild-mannered player we have, and defensively you kind of just forget about him and then all of a sudden he makes a play. He's a really tough, mentally-focused kid and we talked about that. We talked about trying to taking away their backs and the second man in on the ball and he made a really good football play."
The touchdown put Oak Hill up 25-14 after a failed two-point conversion with 3:52 left in the third quarter. The Raiders, up until that touchdown, barely had the ball as they had turned the ball over on downs on their first drive of the second half. Oak Hill didn't have possession again until the fourth quarter.
On the ensuing drive after the touchdown by Thompson, Bucksport (1-2) drove right down the field, and on the 11th play of the drive Jaxon Gross punched the ball into the end zone from five yards out to pull Bucksport within 25-20. The extra-point attempt was blocked.
Oak Hill went three-and-out on its next drive, then Bucksport had a long drive again before Jackson Arbour sacked quarterback Ayden Maguire to force a turnover on downs.
Bucksport accumulated 149 of its 394 yards of offense in the second half but only found the end zone once after halftime.
"Our stat man just told us that he thought we had almost 400 yards of offense," Bucksport coach Joel Sankey said. "We are a young team and we make silly mistakes and shoot ourselves in the foot. Hopefully it's a learning process as the year goes on and we get better and better. A lot of our kids, the last time they played football was in seventh and eighth grade, but we aren't the only team like that. It was a good game and both teams played well, we just made more mistakes than they did."
In the first half, Oak Hill's quarterback Arbour was making play after play with his arm.
After Arbour fumbled a snap on Oak Hill's first drive, which led to a 33-yard Bucksport touchdown on a pass from Maguire to Tyler Hallett that gave the Golden Bucks a 7-0 lead, Arbour was locked in on offense.
Arbour completed all five of his passes on his next drive and capped it with an 11-yard touchdown throw to Thompson, which tied the game at 7-7.
Near the start of the second quarter, Bucksport was driving on Oak Hill's side of the field before Ramon Spearman jumped in front of a receiver and picked off Maguire to stop the drive.
Later in the second, Bucksport took the lead when Maguire found Gavyn Holyoke over the middle and Holyoke broke away from the initial tackle attempt and scampered for a 72-yard score to put the visitors ahead 14-7.
Oak Hill had to punt on the ensuing drive, but got the ball right back when Spearman picked off Maguire again to give the Raiders the ball on Bucksport's 36-yard line.
"Those were big momentum boosts because they were driving on both of those plays," Arbour said. "That really switched the momentum for us and I think we capitalized on that."
Three plays after the pick, Arbour found Brandon Giguere for a 16-yard touchdown that pulled the Raiders within 14-13 with 3:38 remaining in the first half.
Bucksport was stuffed on fourth down by Oak Hill and two plays later Arbour connected with Thompson down the left side for a 51-yard completion that set up a 23-yard touchdown throw to D'Andre Daniels. The touchdown with just 45 seconds left in the first half put Oak Hill up 19-14, as the extra-point attempt was blocked.
"We thought we might have an advantage in the pass game. We were able to hit some big plays during the season and we kind of figured playing against a very physical team that that's what we'd see," Stowell said. "We wanted to open it up a little bit. Teams are starting to key in on Caden a little bit and some sort of compliment to that was what we are trying to work on and today that was the pass game."