Published: October 11, 2008 12:32 am

FH defense jams up Jefferson, 38-6

From Staff Reports
Cumberland Times-News

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. — Third-ranked Fort Hill used an oppressive pass rush and a diverse offense to slug the Jefferson Cougars with a 38-6 pounding Friday night in Cougar Stadium at Jefferson High School.

The Sentinels (4-1) opened the game with the basics, relying early on the inside running of fullback Marcus Lashley, who rushed for 68 yards on 11 carries, scoring three touchdowns, kicking five extra points and a 30-yard field goal to finish the evening with 26 of Fort Hill’s 38 points.

Running back Sam Walker was the game’s leading ground gainer with 76 yards on eight carries, scoring a touchdown on an eight-yard pass from Devin Lee. Lee rushed for 45 yards on four carries and returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown.

Yet the tempo for the game was set by the Fort Hill defensive line, which harassed Jefferson’s 6-foot-4, 200-pound quarterback Brandon Hyler all evening, forcing him out of the pocket and leading him to throw three interceptions. Jefferson completed just five passes for 45 yards and rushed for 100 net yards on 36 carries.

“We’re really pleased with our defensive line,” said Fort Hill head coach Todd Appel. “It’s all about running to the football and our kids can all run and do a great job of doing that.

“Coming in, I was scared to death of Hyler, he’s such a good quarterback who can hurt you in a lot of ways; but our kids did a great job containing him.”

Jefferson opened the game with a drive that started at its 32 and went to the Fort Hill 35 before the Sentinels’ Colton Sibley picked off a Hyler pass and returned it to the Jefferson 42.

Fort Hill needed just six plays to go the distance, with running back Mike Durr picking up 19 on two carries, Walker 22 on one carry, with Lashley taking it the final nine on two carries. Lashley scored from three yards out at 6:04, with his kick making it 7-0.

Two possessions later, the Sentinels began at the Jefferson 25 after Lee’s 50-yard punt return for touchdown was called back for a hold, which at that time was the sixth penalty whistled on the Sentinels for 55 yards. Lashley, however, wasn’t fazed as he went 25 yards over the left side for the touchdown, with his kick making it 14-0.

The Sentinels were hit with eight penalties in the first half for 80 yards, and 11 for 105 yards for the game.

Two possessions after Lashley’s touchdown, after Jefferson quarterback Hyler eluded tacklers to gain nine yards and a first down to put the ball at the Fort Hill 25, the Sentinels’ Lee got his touchdown back when he picked off Hyler at the 15 and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown, keeping his balance and breaking tackles along the way. At 5:05 of the first half, Lashley’s kick made it 21-0.

After Hyler was pressured again by Fort Hill’s Glen Vincent and Shawn Wolfe, the Cougars punted and the Sentinels took over at their 38 with 3:11 left in the half. With Lee at quarterback, the Sentinels took the ball down to the Jefferson 15 on 10 plays from where Lashley knocked in a 30-yard field goal with 17 seconds left to make the score 24-0.

Fort Hill wasted little time to open the second half as juniors Kwam Kassim and Walker went to work, Kassim returned the second-half kickoff to the Fort Hill 44, giving the Sentinels excellent field position to start, and then Walker burst through the middle for 33 yards to put the ball on the 22. Durr then picked up seven yards, and Lashley seven more before going across for the touchdown from eight yards out with 10:11 left in the third. Lashley’s kick made it 31-0.

With 5:30 left in the game, the Cougars blocked a Fort Hill punt at the Sentinels 43 and Tim Oden scooped it up at the 20 and took it into the end zone for the touchdown. Jefferson’s attempt for the two-point conversion failed on an incomplete pass, and the score stood at 31-6.

Fort Hill’s Garrett Dolly recovered Jefferson’s ensuing onside-kick attempt at its 44, and with the Sentinels operating out of the shotgun, alternating Todd Dicken, Eric Howser and Lee at quarterback, they used nine plays to score again, with Lee recovering a high snap from the eight and finding Walker for the TD, with Walker taking the ball and going in from the five. Lashley’s kick made it 38-6.

Fort Hill will host Frederick Douglass on Friday.