Sentinels defense dominate key moments
Allegany a combined 1 for 8 on third, fourth downs
CUMBERLAND — This weekend was all about timing. For Fort Hill, it happened in the second and third quarters on Saturday afternoon. For everyone else, it came at 2 a.m. Sunday morning when daylight saving time ended.
The Sentinels held Allegany to 1 for 6 on third-down conversions and 0 for 2 on fourth downs, as Fort Hill won its 11th consecutive Homecoming game, 38-0, over Allegany on Saturday afternoon at Greenway Avenue Stadium.
Linebacker Colten Crabtree was in the middle of things throughout, leading the team with 12 tackles and a forced fumble, earning Defensive Player of the Game honors as voted for by the local media affiliations.
“It feels pretty good,” said Crabtree about the victory. “The atmosphere was crazy. Every game, we come out and have a great fanbase. I can’t thank anyone else but my coaches and the people that put us in spots to win ballgames. Just a great feeling.”
Crabtree shared the team-high in solo tackles with Davian Little with four apiece, and Crabtree also had eight assists. Little had one assist. Carter Swan had the second-most tackles on the team with six. Wyatt Brehm, Isaiah Plummer and Bryan Uhl also had five tackles each.
Ten of Crabtree’s 12 tackles came in the second and third quarters.
Swan scored on an 8-yard run with 3:06 to play in the second quarter, with Danny King’s successful point-after try making it 14-0. Allegany started the ensuing drive on its own 20 and had a chance to stack scores if it could march down the field and get some points on the board before receiving the kickoff to open the second half.
Instead, Crabtree was alongside a host of Fort Hill tacklers on the Campers’ first play from scrimmage to force a 3-yard loss. On the very next play, Crabtree chased down Rashad Wingate after a 15-yard gain and forced a fumble, giving the ball back to the Sentinels at the 39-yard line of Allegany after Swan recovered the fumble. “They were going to drive on us,” said Crabtree. “They got us on the counter and he was running back — he was going to be gone for awhile.”
One play later, the Sentinels made it 21-0 on a 39-yard pass from Blake Beal to Tyreke Powell. Powell also had the Sentinels’ first touchdown on a 2-yard run at 3:47 in the first period.
“It was big,” said Swan of his fumble recovery and the passing touchdown. “I think it was one of the touchdowns that made them not as motivated as they were at the beginning of the game.”
Fort Hill led 24-0 at halftime when Danny King booted a Homecoming-record 50-yard field goal with one tick remaining before intermission.
Crabtree’s final five tackles, three of which were solos, came on Allegany’s opening drive of the second half. The Campers marched down to the Fort Hill 38. Crabtree tackled Trevan Powell for a 4-yard loss on second down, then an incomplete pass led to a Coleton Furlow punt, which went out of bounds at the Fort Hill 14.
“Coach (Todd) Appel wanted us to come out and get a three-and-out,” said Crabtree, “but we couldn’t do that. We just had to play, get our heads in the game, come off the ball and hit our alignments and stop ‘em.”
The Sentinels’ ensuing drive was capped off by a 9-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Smith from Beal, who was voted the Offensive Player of the Game. The senior was a perfect 6 for 6 through the windy Greenway air for 98 yards and two touchdowns to go along with three carries for 10 yards.
Time and time again, Beal came through when the Sentinels needed it. Fort Hill had 17 first downs and Beal was involved in five of them. It was 9 for 12 on third downs — Beal played a part in four of them. The Sentinels were 3 for 3 on fourth-down conversions and Beal converted the final one, a 12-yard scamper on fourth-and-1 from the Fort Hill 45 to extend the drive and set up a Colby Santmyire 4-yard touchdown run to put the scoring at its final when Trey Harper booted the PAT.
Beal had the 39-yard touchdown pass to Tyreke Powell on first-and-10. Smith caught the 9-yard touchdown pass on third-and-4, and a pair of 11-yard passes in the first and third quarters on third-and-9, setting up a first-and-goal from the 4, and on second-and-10. Braeden Askins hauled in a pair of passes, one for six yards on third-and-7 in the first quarter — Powell got the first down on a 4-yard run the very next play — and another for a gain of 22 on third-and-11 before halftime. One of Beal’s runs was a 6-yard loss on a sack by Allegany’s Josh Shirey. Beal’s offensive teammates picked him up — literally and figuratively — on the very next play, as Powell rushed for 65 yards on third-and-31.
A King’s ransom
Saturday was about as perfect a day as you can ask for as a kicker. King attempted one field goal, from 50 yards, converted it and set the Homecoming record. He made all four of his point-after attempts. He was never forced to punt either.
“Winning homecoming against the hometown rival, that’s the greatest feeling ever,” said King. “To top it off, the 50-yarder, that’s something you dream of as a kid. And with all of the support, the Sentinels, the band, the cheerleaders, and just the fanbase, this is an unbelievable feeling.”
King battled the wind and a high snap, which was promptly hauled in and brought down for a near-perfect hold by Beal, on the 50-yard field goal try.
“We just looked at each other like ‘this is the same as usual,’” said King on what he discussed with Beal prior to the attempt. “Ever since we were little kids, we were always a duo. When that happened, I was like ‘man, I can’t believe that happened with you.’ And then everything set back into place and we’re 9-0 at the end of the (regular season).”
Among the flurry of Fort Hill scores over the final four minutes of each quarter, Powell’s 119-yard game and Beal’s passing display, King will be long remembered for his Homecoming-record 50-yard field goal. But on this day, his teammates, particularly on defense, remembered him for setting the Sentinels up with favorable field position. The junior had seven kickoffs — all seven of them went into the end zone for a touchback.
“It’s a great advantage,” said Plummer of the kickoffs. “And we’ve got people on defense that know what they’re doing, so we just go out there and execute.”
Christian Welch led the way defensively for Allegany with 14 tackles, including a team-high five solo tackles. Trevan Powell (four solos) and Jakson Bauer (one solo) had 10 tackles apiece. Ryan O’Neal had nine tackles. Shirey had eight, including three solos and a quarterback sack. Devon Loewendick and Riley Stewart each had eight tackles, all assisted.
Fort Hill: Improves to 9-0 and will have the No. 1 seed in the West Region in Maryland Class 1A. The Sentinels host No. 4 seed Southern on Friday at Greenway Avenue Stadium. No. 2 Catoctin (9-1) hosts No. 3 Boonsboro (8-2).
Allegany: Finishes the season at 4-5, which is the Campers’ first sub-.500 season since 2011 when they finished 3-7.