Hansel: 'We picked the wrong day to do everything wrong'
Oct 31, 2021
CUMBERLAND — Allegany was its own worst enemy against Fort Hill on Saturday afternoon.
In the second quarter of Homecoming, the Sentinels scored 28 points: two touchdowns were off fumbles, one a blocked punt and another a turnover on downs.
Against the No. 1 team in 1A and the Area Top 5, Allegany couldn’t afford to make it easy for the Fort Hill offense. The Sentinels’ field position in the second quarter? The Alco 10, 15, 21 and 48, all resulted in TDs.
“We lost five turnovers to three against a good Fort Hill team, you just can’t do that,” Allegany head coach Bryan Hansel said. “If you spot 28 points in the first half to an undefeated team, it’s hard to come back.”
The Fort Hill defense set the tone early.
Camper quarterback Brody Williams, throwing from his own 48-yard line on third-and-11, threw a pass on a slant pattern just ahead of Solomon Green, who had a step on his defender.
Sentinel defensive back Anthony Palmisano corralled the overthrow with one hand to make a juggling interception to end the Campers’ opening offensive possession.
“The first throw should’ve been right between the numbers,” Hansel said. “If Sully catches that, he gets a first down and extends the drive with some yards after the catch. Instead, it’s a turnover.”
Allegany’s next offensive possession ended with a Palmisano interception, too. The junior corner was named the Defensive Player of the Game.
Still, Allegany’s defense stood tall after both of those giveaways, first forcing a fumble picked up by Angelo Destefano, then getting the Sentinels to turn it over on downs on an incompletion.
Just by looking at the stat sheet, you’d think the Camper defense didn’t play well staring down a 28-0 halftime deficit. Allegany allowed just 134 yards before the intermission and 289 for the game.
Allegany was fortunate the mistakes didn’t bite it in the foot early, but the Campers were unwise to test fate.
A high snap that Alco punter Blake Powell did well to corral resulted in a block by Tanner Wertz. Breven Stubbs recovered the ball at the Camper 15-yard line, and five plays later, Tavin Willis plunged into the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 9:58 left in the second quarter.
The special teams miscue multiplied, as Green, the return man, slipped on the ensuing kickoff by Jacob Tichnell, downing the ball at Allegany’s own four.
Two plays later, the Campers fumbled to give Fort Hill the ball on the Alco 10, and Bryce Schadt faked a handoff and scampered to the end zone on a bootleg for a second touchdown in exactly one minute.
When it rains, it pours. On Allegany’s second play of the next series, Williams and Braylon White had some confusion on the handoff, resulting in a fumble, and Fort Hill’s TJ Lee recovered to get the ball back on the Alco 21.
The Sentinels needed six plays to score, as Stubbs pounded the ball over the goal line from one-yard out for Fort Hill’s third touchdown in 3:16.
To add insult to injury, Allegany didn’t fumble on its next offensive possession, but the Campers were tagged with a turnover on downs after failing to convert a fourth-and-four on their own 48.
Schadt connected with Stubbs for a 36-yard touchdown pass not too long after to sprint into the locker room up 28-0.
“We know we have the numbers, we have the athletes,” Fort Hill fullback Blake White said. “We just wear them down. That’s how we beat them, especially the bigger schools we’ve been scheduling. We just wear them down and come out in the second half and keep taking it to them.”
Allegany’s low snaps were a recurring issue for its offense, as it seemed like a third of the Campers’ snaps arrived at quarterback Williams’ feet. Alco has had issues with snaps at times this season, but never as numerous as they were on Saturday.
“We’ve had some games where we had one or two,” Hansel said. “With everything going on today, we got caught in a storm. We picked the wrong day to do everything wrong.”
Though morale had to be low down four scores to its crosstown rival, Allegany’s defense made a big play right out of the half when Trevor Milburn recovered a Fort Hill fumble to garner some momentum.
Yet, the next series ended when Fort Hill edge rusher Lee hit Williams as he threw, and Landen Keech came down with an interception for the Campers’ fifth turnover of the contest. Seventh if you count the blocked punt and stop on downs.
Alco’s defense forced a turnover of its own later in the third quarter when Brett Patterson recovered a Fort Hill fumble, and the Camper offense marched 12 plays and 86 yards for their first points of the game. Down 28-6 with 15.5 seconds left in the third, it was too little too late.
When it was all said and done, the Allegany offense managed only 123 yards of total offense and seven first downs.
The one saving grace for Allegany? Its season isn’t over. Far from it. The Campers will host a playoff game, likely against Southern. A win will book a chance at redemption against No. 2 Mountain Ridge in Frostburg.
If the Campers play their cards right, it might not be the last time they see the Sentinels this season.