October 31, 2009
Loaded Fort Hill rolls over Mountain Ridge

By Steve Luse

FROSTBURG — The top-ranked and unbeaten Fort Hill Sentinels showed they have a lot of weapons in their bag of tricks as they tuned up for next week’s Homecoming showdown against Allegany with a resounding 51-7 victory over No. 5 Mountain Ridge on as perfect a last October night for football on Friday night at Miners’ Stadium.

The victory sends Fort Hill into the regular-season finale with a 9-0 record and solidifies the Sentinels’ hold on the top spot in the Maryland Class 1A West Region rating. Mounain Ridge falls to 4-5 and will need a win over Keyser next week at Keyser to have a remote chance at making the playoffs.

With Mountain Ridge geared to stop Dakota Welsh and the Fort Hill running game, senior quarterback Devin Lee completed 5-of-9 passes for 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns with scoirng strikes of 68 yards to Dylan Clay and 66 yards to Sam Walsh. Lee also returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown and had a pair of interceptions on defense in a great all-around game.

Welsh, who was held to 52 yards on only seven attempts, but blasted for three touchdowns on runs of five, three and three yards. Walker also had a five-yard touchdown run. Josh Borland booted a 41-yard field goal for the Sentinels final three points and Phillip Giugliano kicked six extra points.

Keinan Harper scored the Mountain Ridge touchdown with a 96-yard kickoff return.

The Fort Hill defense, led by Lee and linebackers Welsh and Garrett, held Mountain Ridge to only 39 yards in total offense in the first half as the Sentinels pulled out to a 41-7 lead. The clock was kept running on a 35-point mercy rule after Fort Hill scored on its first possession of the second half.

Lee set up the first Fort Hill touchdown when he returned an inteception 27 yards with a tackle-dodging move to the Mountain Ridge five-yard line. On the next play, Welsh went for his first touchdown with only 54 seconds elapsed. Giugliano kicked the extra point.

Lee then showed some more fancy footwork as he broke loose on the 72-yard punt return that resulted in Fort Hill going up 14-0 at the 8:55 mark. Harrper then ansered with the long kickoff return for the Miners’ only touchdown.

On the Sentinels fourth possession after some runs stuffed, Lee welcomed the opportunity to go deep and found the speeding Clay open about 40 yards down field on a 69-yard scoring pass with 7:09 still on the cflock in the first period.

A 24-yard pass to Walker set up Welsh’s three-yard scoring run at the 10:08 mark in the second quarter. Giugliano’s kick made it 28-7.

Dolly then broke through to block a Mountain Ridge punt and Colton Sibley took the ball to the rhree-yard line. After being stopped on first down Welsh went in for his third touchdown witrh 7:09 still on the clock in the opening half.

After another defensive stop, Walker took a lee pass coming out of the backifeld and raced the 66 yars to paydirt with 4:24 still left in the half. ASfter missing on his previous attempt Giugliana converted for the 41-7 halftime lead.

Fort Hill got the ball at its own 44-yard line after a short kick to start the second half. After catching a pass for 12 yards, Welsh got outside on a 39-yard run to the Mountain Ridge five. On the next play, Walker scored the final touchdown that set the clock in motion with 10:47 left.

Borland, who also handles the kickoffs, booted the field goal with 8:21 remaining.

“Their game plan was to key on stopping our fullback Dakota Welsh and we had other people really step up,” said Fort Hill coach Todd Appel. “Devin Lee had a great game passing the ball and Dylan Clay stepped up with a great catch. We made adjustments and we have a lot of weapons. Our defense played a greaet game again and our defensive end play from Shawn Metheny and Joe Howser was the best we had all year.”