Fort Hill survives at Southern
Beal scores go-ahead TD with 21 seconds to go
OAKLAND — Blake Beal scored on a 10-yard run to snap a tie game late in the fourth quarter, and Danny King booted three field goals, including a school-record 54-yarder, to help Fort Hill pull out a 16-9 victory at Southern Friday night.
Beal’s run, which capped an 80-yard, six-minute drive, came with only 21 seconds remaining and enabled the Sentinels to escape the upset-minded Rams and remain undefeated.
The win was also the 123rd for head coach Todd Appel (123-14 record), breaking a tie with Mike Calhoun (122-31) for second place in career victories at Fort Hill. Charlie Lattimer (157-40-4) is No. 1.
For nearly two-thirds of the game the only points came off the powerful foot of Fort Hill place-kicker King, who broke the school record with a 54-yarder with 9:23 left in the second quarter.
He added a 47-yarder three minutes later and Fort Hill (5-0) held the 6-0 lead at halftime.
Southern (4-2) took advantage of the second of two Fort Hill fumbles, and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty tacked on 15 more yards, giving the Rams the ball at the Fort Hill 11.
Three plays later, Hayden McLaughlin found Brekale Washington in the end zone on a 7-yard touchdown pass, tying the game 6-6 with 4:48 left in the third period. The extra-point kick was wide.
The Sentinels, who lost two fumbles and were penalized 11 times for 111 yards, scored on their final two possessions. The first ended with another King field goal after a 63-yard, 10-play drive stalled at the Southern 7-yard line.
King’s 24-yarder put Fort Hill back on top, 9-6, with 11:10 left in the fourth.
The Rams and McLaughlin went back to work, and the senior quarterback completed four big passes — including 15- and 16-yarders to Brandon Lucas — on another game-tying drive.
An 8-yard sack on third-and-13 ended the drive at the Fort Hill 30, but a personal foul moved the ball to the 15, and Parker Meyer kicked a 32-yard field goal, knotting the game 9-9 with 6:25 left.
That’s when Fort Hill, after a touchback on the ensuing kickoff, took over at the 20, and ate 6:04 of the final 6:25, scoring on Beal’s 10-yarder with 21 seconds to go.
The game-winning drive was aided by a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on the Rams after they had stopped the Sentinels on third-and-5 early in the series. Braeden Askins had 8- and 14-yard runs and Beal a 9-yarder in addition to his TD run, which came on a third-and-three.
The Fort Hill defense had a final hurdle to clear. McLaughlin completed a pass for 13 yards and a first down, and a pass interference penalty gave the Rams another first down at the Fort Hill 25 with four seconds left. A final pass fell incomplete and out of the end zone as time expired.
Unofficially, the Sentinels led in total offense 231-187. Tyreke Powell ran 13 times for 65 yards and Askins eight times for 59.
McLaughlin led the Rams, completing 8 of 15 passes for 126 yards. He was 6 for 11 for 114 yards in the fourth quarter.
Fort Hill plays at Silver Oak Academy while Southern travels to Tucker County in 7 p.m. games on Friday.