Fort Hill manhandles Catoctin
Sentinels score early, often; win sixth straight region crown, 55-6; will face Havre de Grace next

Nov 17, 2018
Mike Mathews

CUMBERLAND — Thirty-eight seconds.

That’s how long it took for Fort Hill to get the lead in Saturday’s Class 1A West Region championship game.

The rest of the afternoon was a clinic, as the top-seeded Sentinels rode a Big Red Wave to a 55-6 rout of second-seeded Catoctin for their sixth straight Class 1A West Region championship.

Fort Hill (11-0) will play East Region champion Havre de Grace (10-2) in the state semifinals, Friday night or Saturday afternoon, at Greenway Avenue Stadium. The other semifinal pits North champion, and defending state champ, Dunbar (12-0), against South champion Douglass of Prince George’s County (7-4).

The semifinal winners will play for the state championship on Dec. 1 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.

On a sunny Saturday afternoon with the remnants of a 10-inch snowfall as a backdrop, Fort Hill led 21-0 after one quarter and 42-0 at the half in its second straight postseason blowout. The Sentinels have outscored their first two playoff opponents by a hundred points (114-14).

On the third play of the game, Colten Crabtree picked off a Christian Michael pass and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown, and Danny King’s kick made it 7-0 with 11:22 on the clock.

“We were in zone, and I read the slant,” Crabtree said. “He was coming in and he just put it right there on the spot. There’s nothing better than getting a big play and great momentum right off the jump at the beginning of a game.”

It was Crabtree’s second interception return for a TD in two weeks. He had a 25-yarder last week against Southern.
Fort Hill manhandles Catoctin

Fort Hill’s Carter Swan (32) carries the ball in between a group of Catoctin defenders on Saturday at Greenway Avenue Stadium. Swan rushed nine times for 88 yards and three touchdowns, as the Sentinels defeated the Cougars, 55-6, for the Maryland Class 1A West Region title.
Ken Nolan/Cumberland Times-News

“Crabby’s awesome,” said Fort Hill coach Todd Appel. “It was nice to see him get it, and in back-to-back weeks. He really works hard in practice and studies well. It was nice to be able to do that against a team that throws a lot.”

It was another dominant day for the Sentinels on both sides of the ball. They scored on seven of 10 possessions and outgained Catoctin 432-142.

The Cougars, who had 146 yards passing, had minus-4 yards on 14 rushes and didn’t get past midfield until the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

Braeden Askins had touchdowns runs of 65 and 35 yards and finished with seven carries for 133 yards for Fort Hill. Carter Swan ran nine times for 88 yards and scored three times, Blake Beal was 4 for 4 passing for 58 yards, ran twice for 34 yards and had a touchdown, and Carson Snyder scored the other TD as Fort Hill went over the 50-point mark for the fifth time in six weeks and seventh time this year.

Isaiah Plummer and Wyatt Brehm were among the leaders on the defense, which has allowed only 28 points in the last six games. Those 28 points all came in lopsided victories.

The backs again piled up the yardage because the linemen again were able to take care of things in front of them. Of Fort Hill’s 44 offensive plays, only two went for negative yardage. Nineteen went for 10 or more yards.

“The biggest part of today’s offensive line battle was that their D-line was faster than we’re really used to, so our biggest goal was when we were blocking down to be able to break off and get their backers and seal off that second level to get bigger gains,” said tackle Trey Bishop, the only senior on the Sentinels’ offensive line.

“We ended up being able to be successful at that toward the second, third and fourth drives.”

Meanwhile, the Fort Hill defense had eight tackles for loss. Catoctin had 22 yards of offense in the middle two quarters and finished 0 for 8 on third down conversions.

The Cougars forced a three-and-out and a Fort Hill punt on its first possession — it was King’s first punt since the Sentinels’ October 20 win over Forest Park, when he punted once for 56 yards — but the yards and touchdowns began to snowball after King’s 44-yard punt.

After a third-down stop by Brehm and Swan, the Sentinels went 65 yards in four plays, with the line opening a huge hole that Swan raced through on a 28-yard trap that made it 14-0 at the 4:23 mark.

The next drive covered 74 yards in six plays. Askins and Swan had 11-yard runs to start it, and Tyreke Powell added runs of 10 and seven yards. After another 11-yarder by Swan, Beal scored on a keeper down the sideline, with Liam Moran and Jakobe Jackson providing protection with big downfield blocks.

Up 21-0, Askins, on the first play after a 22-yard punt, scored on a 35-yard run midway through the second quarter, and Swan’s eight-yard run made it 35-0 with 3:28 left until halftime.

Beal had a 15-yard pass to Brehm and a 10-yarder to Anthony Smith on the half’s final touchdown drive, which ended with a one-yard plunge by Swan with 24 seconds to go.

With a running clock, the fast-paced second half had only three scores. The first came on the first play, a 65-yard dash by Askins that made it 49-0.

Snyder scored on one-yard run early in the fourth quarter, making it 55-0.

Catoctin went 80 yards for its score, with Michael completing three passes for 60 yards. He hit Dylan Click with a 34-yard pass for the touchdown with just under four minutes left.

Michael finished 8 for 25 for 146 yards for the Cougars.