PORTLAND — Oak Hill waited 32 years for its second state championship in football.

Its third Gold Ball came much sooner.

Alex Mace totaled 342 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns as the Raiders defeated Maine Central Institute 41-21 to repeat as Class D champions Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Mace’s 57-yard punt return for a touchdown with 4:55 remaining in the third quarter proved to be a backbreaking play, as it allowed the Raiders (11-1) to open up a two-touchdown lead.

“I knew it was my last game, I just wanted to make the best of it,” Mace said. “I didn’t want to go down easy.

“I’m happy. I gave it 110 percent. I knew everyone else did, so this is something I’ll never forget.”


Added senior guard Mike Pease: “I want to say it’s the best feeling in the world. We still have the rest of our lives, but right now this is the best feeling we can get. In high school, this is the best feeling.”

The combination of too much Mace and too many injuries ended MCI’s bid for a perfect season.

Star running backs Jonathan Santiago and Eric Hathaway left early in the second quarter, and running back/linebacker Alex Bertrand was in and out of the lineup all game because of an apparent lower leg injury. Santiago briefly returned in the third quarter but was not nearly as effective as he was earlier, and he departed for good soon after.

“Once we lost some of those guys and we had other guys stepping in, certainly in a game like this, it takes its toll,” MCI Coach Tom Bertrand said.

“We didn’t have an answer for (Mace). They found something they liked and they hit it, and he’s a heck of a player. I’ve been saying it all week, those are the two best players (Mace and Kyle Flaherty) in Western Maine Class D. They showed it tonight.”

Austin Tolman did his best to keep the Huskies (10-1) in the game. He had three touchdown catches and finished with eight grabs for 61 yards.


MCI took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter, scoring on Tolman’s 9-yard catch from Greg Vigue.

Mace got Oak Hill on the board with an 81-yard touchdown run with 1:54 remaining in the first quarter. MCI answered with a 21-yard option pass from Hathaway to Tolman early in the second, but the conversion failed. The Raiders then took their first lead when Dalton Therrien threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Tervo.

Levi Buteau picked off Vigue on MCI’s first possession of the second half, and seven plays later Therrien connected with Mace for a 37-yard touchdown pass to give the Raiders a 21-13 lead.

Later in the quarter, the teams fumbled the ball away on three consecutive plays. Then, after MCI was forced to punt, Mace fielded it at his own 43, shed a tackler, then split two more defenders and broke free down the left sideline.

Flaherty, who finished with 91 yards on 24 carries, scored his only touchdown with 10:15 to play.

“We were going to win or lose with Alex and Kyle,” Oak Hill Coach Stacen Doucette said. “That was what was going to happen. We were going to go with our great players and that was the goal. Alex outside, Kyle inside.”

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