Sentinels tame Wildcats 64-22, advance to next round
Nov 16, 2019
CUMBERLAND — Good teams take adversity head on and remain unfazed and focused on the goal at hand.
Williamsport (6-5) struck first, punching Fort Hill (10-1) in the mouth on a mesh route for a 64-yard catch-and-run touchdown just 1:46 into the game.
The Sentinels, however, saw the challenge and took it on, chasing down the Wildcats and erasing the early deficit en route to a lopsided 64-22 victory.
The Sentinels first drive resulted in a three-and-out and a punt, and the Wildcats could only wish their ensuing drive was so successful. Fort Hill adjusted and took advantage of Williamsport miscues.
“It's a guessing game sometimes. We're a lot of man, people know that and their coach did a good job preparing for that and running some criss-cross routes, and that's where they got us. They incidentally picked us off there. So then we started mixing and matching zone and man and it just became a guessing game," said Fort Hill head coach Todd Appel. "They had some sets that we hadn't seen before. They started out the first half and it was hard for us to adjust on the fly. We prepared for a lot of things that we've seen, but you can't prepare for a ghost and they showed us their ghost tonight."
The Wildcats went three-and-out and went to punt, but were called for a procedural penalty and had to do it again. The long-snapper, on the second try, snapped the ball through the Williamsport's punter’s legs and it was bobbled and fumbled all the way back to its 11.
The Sentinels took over and two runs by senior fullback Carson Snyder later, they were in the end zone. Senior quarterback Danny King pounded through the extra point to tie the game at 7-all with 5:48 left in the first quarter.
On Williamsport’s ensuing drive, it went four plays and out, and Fort Hill took over on its 43. Three runs with Snyder took the ball down to the Wildcats’ six before sophomore halfback Breven Stubbs took a pitch to pay dirt that put the Sentinels up 14-7 with 1:34 left in the first.
The Wildcats offense continued to stall and they were forced to punt again. The punt was a doozy that gave Stubbs room for a return and he made the Wildcats pay, and pay they did. Stubbs made a few Williamsport players miss as he reversed field and outran everyone for a 75-yard return touchdown. The play blew the game open and put the Sentinels up 21- 7 with 5.9 seconds left in the first.
"We try to create miscues and we want to take advantage of them. Traditionally, we’ve been able to do that, getting in the short field sticking the ball in the end zone," said Appel. "The special teams are always big. We try to work hard on those. Breven’s punt return was big. He made a couple people miss and got in the end zone. It was nice to see him have a big play."
The second quarter wasn't much kinder to Williamsport, as its next possession ended with an interception by Fort Hill senior defender Colby Santmyire. Fort Hill took over on its 40 and relied on its offensive line, who owned the line of scrimmage, to march down the shortened field. Snyder ran off the right side of the line and into the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown.
The King extra point put the Sentinels up 28-7 with 8:16 left in the half.
Williamsport found some life, starting on it's own 20 and driving the whole way down to the Fort Hill 28 before fumbling a toss and committing a false start on back-to-back plays to lose a whole gang of yards and ultimately punt.
Taking over on their 24, the Sentinels used a variety of pitches and runs to move the ball to the Wildcats' 49. After a time out, King performed a few fakes before handing the ball off to Santmyire, who snaked his way across the field for the 49-yard touchdown. Bucking trend, Fort Hill ran a fake extra point kick and King beat the Williamsport defenders to the corner of the end zone to extend the Fort Hill lead to 36-7 with 1:50 left in the half.
The Wildcats, taking advantage of opening the defense up with it's spread offense, hit the Sentinels' defense for two huge runs by running back Taj Wagner on a three-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. The score and the two point conversion cut the Fort Hill lead to 36-15 with 1:23 left in the half.
Not to be outdone in the scoring fast and furious department, Fort Hill put together a five-play, 71-yard drive that ended with a rolling King throwing a 31-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Andrew Smith in the front corner of the end zone with 4.4 seconds left in the half.
The score was 43-15.
Fort Hill came out of the break on a mission to beat Williamsport into submission, and it did just that. On the back of a 10-play, 64-yard drive that ate up nearly six minutes, the Sentinels scored a four-yard Snyder rushing touchdown that initiated a running clock.
Junior Fort Hill defender Korey Stafford intercepted the Williamsport quarterback's pass. Fort Hill sophomore fullback Blake White rushed for a four-yard touchdown on a pitch left with 7:15 left in the game to go up 57-15.
Wildcats running back Wagner broke free for an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play of their drive that cut the lead to 56-22.
As time was near expiring, White found open field for a 40-yard touchdown run. The extra point as time expired was good.
"I’m real proud of our kids and the way they performed in all aspects of the game. That’s a tough team to defend when they’re on turf and they're lining up with four or five wide, quads to the right, quads to the left and trying to be able to figure out as you go," said Appel. "We’re thankful, that’s a tough second round opponent. We’re thankful we’re moving on."
The win ensures that the Sentinels will advance and be back at Greenway Avenue Stadium at 7 p.m. on Friday after the teams are re-seeded.