FH smothers Southern
Sentinels ride near flawless first half to 59-8 victory

Nov 10, 2018
Mike Mathews


That’s how the Class 1A West Region playoffs opened Friday night at Greenway Avenue Stadium, and it was defending champion Fort Hill making all the noise.

Braeden Askins scored twice in the first five minutes and had three on the night, Colten Crabtree scored on an interception return, Davian Little scored on a punt return and Wyatt Brehm had four sacks as the Sentinels rolled to a 59-8 win over fourth-seeded Southern.

Carson Snyder scored twice, Tyreke Powell once and Danny King kicked a field goal for Fort Hill (10-0), which will host second-seeded Catoctin Friday night for the region champoinship. Catoctin beat third-seeded Boonsboro, 34-28.

In the rematch of a regular-season game a month ago in Oakland that Fort Hill won 16-9 with a touchdown with 21 seconds to go, the Rams were ambushed from the start by the Sentinels defense, which forced three turnovers.

It was the defense that Fort Hill coach Todd Appel said he was most impressed with on a night which had many nominees.

“I said at the beginning of the year that our defense has to hold us together until the offense gets rolling,” he said. “They held it together early for us, when we weren’t scoring many points. And now, since we are scoring points, they’re the same defense they were at the beginning of the year.

“We’re fast up front. Isaiah Plummer and Wyatt Brehm are state qualifiers in track in sprint events. Shakur Trimble is a state champion in the discus. They’re athletes up front. Those kids run to the ball and Brian Uhl is just a stalwart. He doesn’t let people move him.”

Southern won the coin toss, elected to defer to the second half, and Fort Hill put things away in the first.

Powell returned the kickoff 44 yards to the Southern 31, where Askins followed the big lead blocks of Austin Burt and Jakobe Jackson for a touchdown just 18 seconds into the game. The first of eight conversion kicks, six by Danny King and two by Trey Harper, made it 7-0.

The Fort Hill defense held Southern on downs, forced a punt which Askins returned 31 yards to the Rams 19, and three plays later Askins scored again, on an 8-yard run, and it was 14-0 with 7:32 left in the first.

The Fort Hill defense got into the scoring act three plays later when Carter Swan tipped a Hayden McLaughlin pass which Colten Crabtree intercepted and ran 25 yards for a score, and it was 21-0 only halfway through the first quarter.

Crabtree forced a fumble three plays later with a big hit in the backfield, Plummer recovered it, and King kicked a 32-yard field goal making it 24-0 after one quarter.

“We played hard and fast early. They wanted to play hard and fast early,” said Appel, whose Sentinels beat Southern 48-6 in the playoffs last year. “The whole mantra all week was focus was on X’s and O’s, make sure you understand how they’re lined up, make sure we’re lined up right and blocking the right people.”

That, they certainly did. They always seemed to be in the right place, and have now outscored their last three opponents by a 153-8 margin.

Ten- and 27-yard runs by Carter Swan set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Powell on the first play of the second quarter, Askins scored on a 2-yard dive later in the period and Carson Snyder, after a 39-yard run by Powell, ran twice for 19 yards, scoring on a 9-yarder to make it 38-0 with 31 seconds left in what was a near-perfect first half for the Sentinels.

“They got the momentum and they rode it. They did a good job of keeping that momentum going in their favor. We just could not get our footing,” said Southern head coach Jon Nazelrod.

“We were tied with 21 seconds to go when they scored the winning touchdown (in the regular-season game) ... I don’t know what the major difference was this evening. It was the same kids. I’m going to have to look at the tape.

“I’m proud of the kids as far as their work ethic. They worked very, very hard this week. I think sometimes you see students that are ready to go into the next sport. That did not happen this time. These kids were totally committed to seeing football all the way through. I’m very proud about that, and I’m very proud of the season we had.”

Brehm began the second half with two sacks over the first three plays, and on the fourth, Little fielded a punt along the sideline, raced across the field and scored on a 32-yard return. Carson Snyder forced a fumble that Chase Westfall recovered a few minutes later, and scored on an 8-yard run to complete the Fort Hill scoring, making it 59-0 with 11:03 left on a turning clock.

Hayden McLaughlin had the big play of the night for Southern, speeding 66 yards for a touchdown with just over five minutes left. Jace Guy ran for the conversion.

Powell led 10 Fort Hill rushers with six carries and 61 yards. Swan ran five times for 54 and Snyder six times for 52. McLaughlin ran 10 times for 58 for Southern, which finished the season 8-3..