Fort Hill tops Allegany in first meeting since 2019
Mar 20, 2021
CUMBERLAND — The Fort Hill defense had Allegany running backward in the second half, as the Sentinels scored 20 unanswered points over the final 13:05 to outlast the Campers, 27-12, on Friday evening at Greenway Avenue Stadium.
After rushing for 102 yards on 23 carries in the first half, Allegany was held to only 36 on 15 attempts but threw for 64 yards. Of the Campers’ 15 second-half carries, seven of them went for negative yardage.
“Big difference for us tonight is just being able to have the kids out there that we have,” said first-year Fort Hill head coach Zack Alkire. “We have a lot of kids on the team and a lot of them play just one way, whereas Allegany unfortunately doesn’t have the numbers. They have to play a lot of guys two ways and they wore down in the second half. We grinded out a well-fought game. I give credit to Coach Hansel and his staff — they came ready to play. They kept us on our toes.”
Allegany head coach Bryan Hansel concurred, saying “I thought you saw guys starting to fatigue a little bit, and that’s always our biggest worry. We’re great in the first half. We can play with anybody in the first half. But that’s always a worry because if we don’t capitalize in the first half, we start to fade because of fatigue numbers-wise. But we fought hard.”
Paxton Wertz led a Fort Hill rushing attack that amassed 215 yards on 41 carries and Bryce Schadt was 5 of 9 for 66 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Wertz finished with 17 carries for 98 yards and showed up when the Sentinels needed him most — in the second half where he ran 12 times for 71 yards.
“Paxton’s a bull,” said Alkire. “He runs really hard. He gets the ball in his hands and right now he’s north-south. That’s what we try to instill in all our kids. You have some other kids who are speed- and agility-oriented, but we really want them to one-cut and go, too. And Paxton really gives that to us.”
Both teams had one possession in the first quarter, each resulting in a touchdown.
The Campers struck first when Trevor Milburn, who ran six yards on fourth-and-3 earlier in the drive, scampered in from 16 yards out. The point-after try at 6:53 was blocked.
Milburn led the Allegany ground attack with 51 yards on seven carries, while Trevan Powell added 49 yards on 18 rushes and Braylon White tacked on 10 carries for 47 yards.
The Sentinels responded with a 16-play drive that ended on the last play of the period, with a third-down conversion and a pair of fourth-down conversions along the way. Allan Stevenson capped off the drive with a QB sneak from two yards out and Rob Bower booted the PAT to give Fort Hill a 7-6 lead, which Fort Hill took into the locker room after the second quarter was a stalemate.
The Campers forced a turnover on downs on four plays on the Sentinels’ opening drive of the second half, then got right to work on offense as White gained seven yards on third down to move the chains and, later, a 13-yard run to put Allegany just outside the goal line.
A 5-yard pre-snap penalty set Allegany back five yards before losing five more yards on a fumbled snap. An Allegany holding penalty set it back 10 more yards and, on second down, it lost two yards when White was gobbled up in the backfield.
But, on third-and-goal from the 23, freshman quarterback Brody Williams spotted Powell cutting across the middle of the Fort Hill zone for an initial gain of 13 — Powell did the rest, cutting up the right side and rumbling into the end zone for a touchdown. The PAT was wide left, giving the Campers a 12-7 lead with 5:37 remaining in the third quarter.
Williams, making his second varsity start, finished 3 of 8 through the air for 64 yards and an interception and had three rushes for minus-9 yards.
“He’s good,” said Hansel. “First half, I think this game gets everybody. He looked a little rattled with some of the snaps he got, so in the second half we decided to give him some runs and give him some easy throws. He hit Trevan on a great ball. He’s a kid that competes. We’ve just got to get him to be aggressive and be competitive, but sometimes just relax. But it’s hard to say that to a freshman playing against Fort Hill.”
Fort Hill’s ensuing drive appeared to stall when the Allegany duo of Ryan O’Neal and Joe Court combined for a sack for a loss of five, and an illegal procedure penalty on the Sentinels set them back another five yards.
“That’s two seniors, so you’re happy when they do that,” Hansel said of O’Neal and Court, who were menaces to the Fort Hill offense throughout. “Ryan and Joe have been in our program … Joe came in at maybe 165 pounds, and he’s 250 now and committed in the weight room. Ryan is the same type of kid. He’s been here four years and he commits to us, he commits to the coaching staff. He plays with an edge and I thought he played with a great edge today.”
However, Schadt handed off to Wertz on second-and-20, as Wertz broke free up the middle to get the first down. Four plays later, on fourth-and-5 from the Allegany 23, Schadt dropped back to pass and waited for Blake White to gain some separation before hitting White up the left side for a 23-yard touchdown. The two-point run, which would’ve put Fort Hill ahead by a field goal, was stuffed, giving the Sentinels a 13-12 lead.
The Campers were pinned deep in their own territory on the ensuing drive, as Stafford returned a punt 16 yards to the Allegany 24.
Fort Hill was in the end zone two plays later when Tavin Willis got the carry and ran off-tackle up the right side before making a huge cut to the left and switching fields for a 22-yard touchdown. Bower booted the PAT at 10:52 to give the Sentinels an eight-point lead, 20-12.
Allegany’s next possession resulted in another punt after the Campers committed a false start penalty on fourth-and-3 when attempting to go for the first down.
The Sentinels’ ensuing possession took the wind out of Allegany’s sails, chewing up five minutes of clock and ending with Schadt hitting Breven Stubbs for a 6-yard touchdown. Stubbs, who has been battling a knee injury, showed he’s getting closer to 100% on multiple occasions, but especially so on the score. He caught the pass and took it inside the Allegany 3 toward the right pylon before running into a host of Allegany defenders. Stubbs then cut back and switched fields, where only one Allegany player was left to face half a dozen Fort Hill blockers. Stubbs stuck behind the sea of red and marched into the end zone to put the score at its final after Bower’s PAT at 3:17.
“He had a pretty good week at practice,” Alkire said of Stubbs. “We’ll get there.”
Stubbs had 55 offensive yards — 27 on the ground on six carries and 28 through the air on a pair of catches. Blake White added seven carries for 36 yards and two receptions for 30 yards.
Alkire had plenty of praise for his quarterbacks, Schadt and Stevenson.
“Bryce played a really good game,” said Alkire. “He’s young, as a junior, and hasn’t had any kind of varsity experience (prior to this season) and he’s not showing any sign of inexperience. He’s played well in both weeks when given the opportunity.
“But also we’ve got to give a lot of credit to Allan. Allan’s our senior quarterback. He’s a great team leader. ... He’s able to come in and do the Wing-T stuff really well, and Bryce does the Gun stuff really well. … You’ve got to give Allan credit too. He could’ve shut down and said ‘well, you know, this isn’t right. This is my senior year.’ But he’s a team guy. There’s going to be times where we’re going to run Wing-T stuff and there’s going to be times we get in the Gun. It’s just whatever’s working best that day. Today it was the Gun stuff.”
The Sentinels have a week off before traveling to Mountain Ridge on Thursday, April 1, for a 1 p.m. kickoff. Allegany travels to Frostburg on Friday, 5 p.m., to take on the Miners.