Sentinels shut down Fairmont Heights

Smith, Brown lead Fort Hill's 63-13 romp

CUMBERLAND — Fairmont Heights got through the Fort Hill defense for a rare big play on a touchdown in the first quarter, and though the Hornets were able to sting the Sentinels, all it accomplished was getting Fort Hill angry as it responded with a fury of strikes.

Raen Smith owned the first quarter, Brayden Brown dominated the second and the second half saw a stew of Sentinels handle the ball to push Fort Hill to 6-0 and to its 18th win in a row dating back to last season.

Smith got into the end zone a little over a minute into play on his fourth straight carry of the drive, going eight yards with 10:45 remaining.

Fairmont Heights’ Vincent Lockhart returned the following kickoff to the 25-yard line and shocked the Fort Hill secondary by finding a seam on the Hornets’ first play from scrimmage to go 75 yards and tie the score with 10:30 left in the quarter.

“They scared me a little with that first play, but we finally matched up with them and closed down on our coverage,” said Sentinels head coach Todd Appel, who has 98 wins in his ninth season at Fort Hill.

“They had some good athletes, but we concentrated on fundamentals a lot this week at practice and it looked like it paid off.”

Smith scored again from eight yards out two Fort Hill possessions later and the Sentinels began rolling from there.

Brayden Poling added a 27-yard run with 17 seconds left in the first quarter, and Smith scored quickly in the second quarter to make it 28-7. The final three touchdowns of the first half belonged to Brown beginning with a four-yard scamper with 6:41 remaining. The next two scores combined for almost 100 yards — a 46-yard run with 4:54 remaining and a 52-yard pass from Nathaniel Graves with 25 seconds left before halftime to stretch the Sentinels lead to 49-7.

Austin Martin came up with an interception that set up Browns’ pass from Graves.

Fairmont Heights got another big play for the first points for the second half. Gilchrist found Colby James for a 46-yard score with 6:10 left, but the Hornets never sniffed the end zone again.

Fullback Troy Banks scored from 19 yards out with 10 seconds remaining in the third, and the final Fort Hill touchdown was on the final snap of the night when backup quarterback Logan Johnson kept the ball on a broken play.

With the goal to keep improving each and every week, Appel definitely saw that in his team over last week. Still, he expects more improvements by next week.

“We’re getting better,” he said. “I still don’t think we’re good enough yet, though. That’s what we have to keep working at as a coaching staff and as a team. Being better this week than the last.”

Fort Hill goes for 7-0 Friday night at South Hagerstown, a team the Sentinels beat 47-26 last season.