WALES — Gavin Rawstron had just finished being helped to the Oak Hill sideline when Jack Ricciardi of Yarmouth broke free for a 33-yard touchdown run Saturday, putting the Clippers up by two scores in the closing minutes of the third quarter.

“We needed to realize this is where the seniors come in. We need to all realize how hard we work,” senior defensive lineman Reid Cote said. “There’s time on the clock.”

There was, and Oak Hill took advantage. Rawstron returned and led the Raiders back, and a rejuvenated defense held on for a 21-19 victory over Yarmouth that, for Coach Stacen Doucette, gave plenty of early indications of his team’s mental toughness.

“That’s what we talked about. At one point we had four players go down with cramps,” Doucette said. “I think we played up around 20 varsity players in a game that was won in the last minute. So we’re pretty satisfied with that. The future is bright.”

One of those players was Rawstron, the quarterback and safety who went down with calf cramps after making a tackle on the first play of Yarmouth’s second drive of the second half and needed help getting off the field.

“After I tackled him and rolled to the ground, both my muscles in my calves cramped up. I couldn’t walk,” he said. “I had a cramp last night before I went to bed. As soon as it happened I went ‘Oh, I know what’s going on.’ ”

The bad news continued for the Raiders when Yarmouth finished an 89-yard drive, getting a 32-yard run from Sam Mason (16 carries, 57 yards) and then the run from Ricciardi (16 carries, 98 yards) to go up 19-7 with 4:39 to go in the third, and cramps struck again when backup quarterback Liam Rodrigue went down while punting on Oak Hill’s next series.

But the punt pinned Yarmouth at its 7 and after a three-and-out, Caleb Treadwell returned a punt to the Yarmouth 13. Rawstron, still moving gingerly, came back and needed two plays to convert, slinging a 12-yard pass to Treadwell for a touchdown to bring the Raiders – following an extra point by the equally hobbled Rodrigue – within 19-14 with 11:08 to play.

“It was nice, knowing the team’s there and had my back,” said Rawstron, who finished 3 of 12 for 42 yards and two touchdowns.

“They were like, ‘All right, you scared us there but now that you’re back, let’s go score.’ ”

The ensuing kickoff pinned Yarmouth at its 4 and the Oak Hill defense held again, giving the offense back the ball at the Yarmouth 27. This time Rawstron needed only one play, going 27 yards for the go-ahead score with 8:42 to play.

“On the read option, I saw that tackle bite,” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh, no one’s there. Let’s hope I can get in before anyone gets to me.’ ”

The defense took it from there, holding Yarmouth to a three-and-out, then a turnover on downs. The Raiders allowed only 29 yards on four drives in the fourth quarter.

Clippers Coach Jason Veilleux said the disappointing result didn’t hide the positives that he could take from the game.

“We’ve got a lot of young kids in new positions for the first time and our kids didn’t give up. They showed tremendous fight up right to the very end,” he said.

“We just made a couple of mental errors that we’ll learn from and hopefully grow from.”