October 10, 2009

Fort Hill rips Jefferson

By Steve Luse

CUMBERLAND — On a breast cancer awareness night with his players wearing pink wrist bands, Fort Hill head coach Todd Appel had to be tickled pink with the all-around play of the unbeaten top-ranked Sentinels in a 55-7 rout over Jefferson on a rainy and windy Friday night at Greenway Avenue Stadium.

It was the sixth win for the Sentinels, who entered the game No. 1 in the Cumberland Times-News poll and the Maryland Class 1A West Region ratings. They are also ranked 11th in the MDVarsity.com State Poll. Jefferson falls to 1-6.

Senior fullback Dakota Welsh rushed for 122 yards on only seven carries and scored a pair of touchdowns in leading a Fort Hill offense that piled up 318 yards in total offense with 288 of those coming on 29 rushes. Most of the second half was played on a running clock on the 35-point mercy rule.

Quarterback Devin Lee didn’t have one of his better passing nights with a couple of interceptions but had scoring passes of three yards to Kwam Kassim and eight yards to Colton Sibley. Kassim also returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown.

Back-up fullback Shawn Metheny had scoring runs of 11 and 3 yards and Sam Walsh had a 1-yard scoring run.

The Fort Hill offensive line of tackles Shane and Nathan Steckman, guards Alex Weisenmiller and Nick Greise, center Zach Cohen and tight ends Sibley and Garrett Dolly had another outstanding night of opening huge holes for the Sentinels’ arsenal of backs.

“We have a very young offensive line and before this game I really didn’t know how good they were because we have great backs,” said Appel. “We were really great upfront tonight.”

The defense, led by linebackers Welsh and Dolly and defensive ends Glen Vincent and Sibley, held Jefferson to 108 total yards and only 45 yards rushing.

“Coming into the season our defense was supposed to be our strength and they showed why tonight,” said Appel. “We built our defense with speed and we have a lot of fast players. Jefferson usually has fast players, but tonight we won the game with our speed.”

On the Sentinels’ first possession after holding Jefferson to three-and-out, Welsh went 20 yards and 44 yards on his first two carries and then was given the ball for the one-yard scoring blast at the 9:57 mark. Phillip Giugliano kicked the first of his seven extra points.

Dolly then broke through to block a punt to give Fort Hill the ball at the Cougars’ nine-yard line. Walker went eight yards on first down and then went in on the next play that resulted in a quick 14-0 lead with 7:15 still on the clock in the opening quarter.

Garrett Grantham then set up the only Jefferson touchdown when he picked off a Lee pass that gave the Cougars the ball at the Fort Hill 22-yard line. Grantham, who finished with 40 yards on 14 carries, scored on a three-yard run at the 9:56 mark in the second quarter.

The Sentinels responded with a quick four-play, 75-yard drive with a 33-yard run that Welsh capped with a 33-yard run up the middle with 8:41 left the half that ended with Fort Hill up 41-7. Metheny scored his first touchdown on the three-yard run at the 6:03 mark after a short Jefferson punt.

Kassim set up the next touchdown with a 41-yard punt return and then was rewarded with the three-yard pass from Lee with 2:52 on the clock. A pass for two failed.

Joe Howser then intercepted a Jefferson pass with 1:48 left in the half and Fort Hill went the 32 yards in five plays with Lee connecting with Sibley with 12.6 seconds left before the break. Giugliano’s kick made it 41-7.

Fort Hill got the ball first on the kickoff for the second half but turned it over with another interception. The defense stepped up again and Kassim used his speed and some fancy footwork along the sideline to go all the way this time on the 71-yard return that sent the game into the mercy rule with 7:34 left in the third quarter.

Metheny concluded the touchdown parade with his 11-yard run with 7:32 left after Patrick Smith intercepted a Jefferson pass.

Fort Hill will host Southern Saturday night.