GARDNER — Thursday night’s football clash between Oak Hill and PikeView came down to a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. Oak Hill’s Dewayne Hopkins came up big.

Hopkins wrestled Matt Gray out of bounds just short of the goal line to preserve the Red Devils’ 19-18 win over the Panthers, a decision which gave both teams a 2-7 record on the year.

Oak Hill scored on its second and third possessions to build a 13-0 lead. The only point-after which was successful, a kick by Chris Lawson after his 5-yard touchdown run to open the scoring, eventually proved to be the difference.

PikeView charged back with two scores in the second quarter. With 1:25 remaining before the half, quarterback Ben Nester rolled left, then saw a wide-open expanse and cut back for a 21-yard score that brought PikeView within one, 13-12, at the break.

“I think our kids got complacent a little bit,” Oak Hill coach Casey Crane said.

Neither side scored in the third period, but Oak Hill drove 53 yards early in the fourth, aided by two PikeView pass interference penalties. Senior quarterback Marcellas McFarland, who had already reached paydirt on a 1-yard run, got the pivotal score by darting around right end with 6:18 left. Tanner Ratcliff broke up the extra point conversion pass.

The margin was again cut to a single point on the following kickoff as PikeView senior Casey Hall churned through tackles to take the return 89 yards with 6:03 on the clock.

On the PAT, an illegal procedure penalty moved the ball to the 8-yard line, and Nester passed to Gray, only to have Hopkins stop him short of the goal.

PikeView coach Jeff Damewood said, “Our kicking game, we’ve been struggling with that all year. As a coaching staff, we had talked about it and we wanted to go for it, to go for the win.”

“I thought it was a good ballgame,” Damewood said. “We gave them two touchdowns there in the first quarter, (but) our kids played tough. We just didn’t execute when we needed to.”

Crane said, “PikeView had a good defense. We knew they were solid. ... We were lucky to get that third touchdown.”

Crane lamented turnovers on back-to-back possessions that hurt his team’s momentum. He also said PikeView had “the best front four (defensively) we’ve played all year.”

Lawson rushed for 70 yards and Hopkins 43 for Oak Hill. Marcus McFarland (67 yards) and Deandré Leonard (18) each caught two passes.

In addition to Hopkins’ big stop, defensive standouts for the Red Devils included James Cosby, who had several tackles for loss, Tim VanBuskirk and Kyle Thompson, who each provided a couple of quarterback sacks, and Kyle Colon, who had a late interception that kept the Panthers from regaining the lead, Crane said.

The Panthers finish the season this weekend at home against Midland Trail, while the Red Devils travel to Welch for their season finale against Mount View.

“It was good to get a win,” said Crane. A victory over Mount View “would be a good way to lead into the offseason,” he added.

(Steve Keenan contributed to this story.)

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