PORTLAND– Alex Mace came up huge on the biggest stage. Mace had one rushing touchdown, one receiving touchdown, and returned a punt for another in leading the Oak Hill Raiders (11-1) to a 41-21 victory over the Maine Central Institute (MCI) Huskies in the class D state championship game at Fitzpatrick stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Mace rushed for 242 yards on 23 carries, he also had 44 yards on two receptions, plus the 57 yard punt return. The second part of the Raiders dynamic duo- Kyle Flaherty, also had a big afternoon. He rushed for 120 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries.
“The best players, shine on the biggest stage. Alex (Mace) and Kyle (Flaherty) have both done it for our team for this year and years past,”Oak Hill coach Stacen Douchette said. “I don’t know who is in charge of player of the year, but those two kids could play and start for any program.”
MCI coach Tom Bertrand added “We didn’t have an answer for him (Mace), they found something they liked and hit it. He is a heck of a player. I have been saying all week that they (Mace and Flaherty) are the two best players in western Maine class D,and they showed it tonight.”
The Huskies started strong, and took a 7-0 lead when Austin Tolman scored the first of his three touchdowns with 6:22 remaining in the first quarter.
Mace evened the score when he broke an 80 run with 1:54 remaining in the first quarter. MCI took a 13-7 lead when senior running back Eric Hathaway threw the ball to Tolman for a 22 touchdown with 9:03 remaining in the half.
The injuries started to pile up for the Huskies late in the second quarter and the Raiders took advantage by scoring 27 unanswered points.
The Huskies top three running backs- Hathaway, Jonathan Santiago, and Alex Bertrand all were sidelined for the majority of the game after the middle of the second quarter.
MCI finishes the season with a 10-1 record. The Huskies came from being a winless team in 2012. They fell in a semifinal game to Mattanawcook last season.
“We have come a long way, we came up a little short today, things didn’t go our way, and Oak Hill is a great football team,”coach Bertrand said. “I am very proud of our guys. I couldn’t ask for a better group of young men to do battle with week in and week out.”
Junior quarterback Greg Vigue had a strong game to keep the Huskies offense going with three big guns on the sidelines. Vigue threw for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 17-34 passing.
This is the second straight state title for the Raiders. They defeated Bucksport in the class D championship game last season.
Mace said, “It is amazing and I will never forget it.”
Junior quarterback Dylan Therrian threw for 162 yards and two touchdowns for the Raiders. Kyle Tervo had a 55 yard touchdown reception.