Published: September 06, 2008 12:28 am

FH comeback stops City
Sentinels’ rally to win Appel’s debut, 14-6

Steve Luse
Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — In a game where Fort Hill had two touchdowns nullified by penalties, Sam Walker got the one that counted when he scored on a 26-yard run with 3:36 left as the Sentinels defeated Baltimore City College in Todd Appel’s debut as head coach on a warm Friday night at Greenway Avenue.

“It was more exciting than I wanted it to be,” said Appel, who took over the helm from Barry Lattimer after 15 years as an assistant. “It was wonderful to get that first win. The kids played hard and never gave up. I told them when we were tied at 6-6 at halftime that we were dominating the game and just had to go out and show we had the better team.”

The Sentinels used ball control and some solid defense to overcome two big plays, nine penalties for 80 yards and a fumble for the game’s only turnover.

Both teams competed in the Maryland Class 2A playoffs with Fort Hill finishing with a 10-2 record and Baltimore City 8-3.

Senior fullback Marcus Lashley helped Fort Hill build a 32:23 to 17:37 advantage in time of possession as he plowed for 131 yards on 18 carries. Senior quarterback Eric Howser completed 5-of-9 passes for 75 yards and hit Jordan Helmick with a 28-yard scoring strike for the Sentinels’ first touchdown. He also passed to Helmick for the two-point conversion after Walker’s touchdown.

Fort Hill piled up 278 yards on the ground on 50 carries and had 84 yards through the air for 362 yards in total offense. The Sentinels had 21 first downs.

The Fort Hill defense, led by lineman Colton Sibley and Caleb Morris and linebackers Dakota Welsh and Garrett Dolly, held Baltimore City to just 170 yards in total offense and 139 of that came on two plays. The Knights had only five first downs.

The Sentinels started their first possession of the season on their own two-yard line after Mike Durr had to down a muffed kickoff there. It took 13 plays and 7 minutes and 48 seconds to go the distance.

Lashley had the first three carries for 12 yards and finished with 37 yards on his first six attempts. On a third-down play with seven yards to go at the 28-yard line. Howser found his tight end Helmick wide open over the middle at the 10-yard line for the touchdown. He had three completions for 44 yards in the the drive. Lashley missed on his first attempt as the kicker.

On the Sentinels next possession they moved 54 yards to the BCC two. Howser went in on a quarterback sneak but an illegal motion penalty brought it back. Durr then went in from the seven, but a holding penalty brought back the play. Then came an illegal block penalty and Fort Hill turned the ball over on downs at the 21-yard line.

After fullback Richard Rodman when four yards on the first play, four-year Baltimore City quarterback Ellis Foster found Adrian Coxson streaking down the sideline for a 75-yard scoring play. Fort Hill blocked the extra point attempt.

Fort Hill moved to the Baltimore City 12 in the final two minutes of the first half, but turned the ball over on downs on an offensive pass interference call.

Baltimore City was looking to take the lead when Rodwell broke lose and was rambling down the field only to be hauled down at the one by Fort Hill speedster Jonathan Foster.

“Jonathan Foster bringing their player down on the one was huge and that goal-line stand was super,” said Appel.

The Fort Hill defense stood up BCC’s Foster on first down and Rodwell had his touchdown play called back by an illegal motion penalty. Rodwell was nailed for a two-yard loss and then was caught another six yards behind the line on fourth down on a Foster pass.

Taking over at the 18-yard line with 9:07 remaining, Fort Hill went to Lashley for five straight carries that gained 22 yards. Howser then gained 11 yards with a rollout play. He then passed to Durr for 11 yards and after a four-yard run by Lashley he connected with Walker for 20 yards and the first down at City’s 26. That set up Walker’s run to the end zone for the win.

“We’re going to have to look at the game and address the penalties,” said the new Fort Hill coach. “That was definitely frustrating.”

Fort Hill will play Keyser Friday night at Potomac State College’s Stayman Field.



Fort Hill’s Devin Lee pulls in a pass with City College’s Tony Johnson trying to pull him down during the first half of their season-opening game Friday evening at Greenway Avenue Stadium. Fort Hill won 14-6. (PHOTO BY Steve Bittner)


Players on the Fort Hill Sentinels football team take the field at Greenway Avenue Stadium in Cumberland Friday evening before their game against Baltimore City College. The Sentinels went on to win the game, 14-6, despite having two touchdowns nullified by penalties. For complete coverage of the Fort Hill game and more area high school football action. (PHOTO BY: Steve Bittner)