Fort Hill's Carter Hess wins Lineman of Year

Jan 13, 2022
Alex Rychwalski

CUMBERLAND — It’s rare for a sophomore to have the impact Carter Hess had on both sides of the ball. It’s even rarer on the line.

The Fort Hill offensive tackle was instrumental in a rushing attack that logged 3,905 yards, 7.6 yards a carry and 57 touchdowns, and on defense, he clogged up the middle for a team that recorded 40 sacks and 79 tackles for loss.

With two more years, Hess has room to grow, but his sophomore season was already good enough for the area’s coaches to vote him Lineman of the Year.

“I think that’s great for Carter’s career,” Fort Hill head coach Zack Alkire said. “It should be a big starting point for him to really start to open people’s eyes a little bit. Some people questioned last year when he was called up and started during the spring season.

“He’s still really raw. We try to do as much as we can skill-wise during the offseason. For him to be as dominant as he was without everything that we wanted to do for him, that’s what’s scary about how good he could be.”

Hess may not have made the next step yet in his high school football career; his first step was pretty good.

On defense, the sophomore accounted for 70 total tackles (25 solo), 18 tackles for loss, six sacks, 34 quarterback hurries and two fumble recoveries. Yet, his stats don’t tell the whole story.

Hess consistently ate up two blockers to help the likes of TJ Lee, Ray Whorton and Landen Keech explode to the football.

“His stats are great, but when you look at his stats compared to the other four guys on the defensive line, TJs are better, Ray’s are better,” Alkire said. “What he did as a guy that ate up everything else that allowed TJ, Ray and Keech to do what they did. They don’t do what they did without Carter being there. That’s what you don’t see in his stat line.”

According to Alkire, when Hess walked into the Fort Hill weight room as a freshman, he was already the strongest player in the program. That combination of strength and athleticism was instrumental in the Sentinels’ rushing attack.

Fort Hill’s offensive scheme often calls for offensive linemen to double team defensive linemen to create holes for Blake White, Tanner Wertz and Tavin Willis among other ball carriers. However, the Sentinels were struggling to get blockers to the second level to seal off linebackers.

Hess was good enough to handle D-linemen all by himself.

“I went to the other guys and said, ‘When Carter’s destroying somebody, Jace (May), you don’t need to double team with Carter,’” Alkire said. “’Zander (Jenkins) you don’t need to double team. You guys are going to go off to the backers.’ We became that much more explosive.”

But Hess isn’t a finished product. This offseason, the coaching staff hopes to work with the lineman to work on his skill to utilize his physical attributes to their potential. Doing so will hopefully appeal to college coaches.

They’ve already begun to take notice. Maryland associate head coach and special teams coordinator Ron Zook came out to Fort Hill in recent weeks to see Hess, even though recruiting rules prevent Zook from being allowed to talk to him.

Zook didn’t need anybody to point out who Hess was, he could tell.

Zook probably saw the same thing he noticed on Hess’ offensive highlight tape, which begins with the sophomore pancaking Oakdale defensive end Dominic Nichols (6-foot-5, 235 pounds), who has offers from Penn State and Boston College.

Still, it’s early, and Hess has a lot of work to do. Even so, the Fort Hill lineman is off to a good start winning Lineman of the Year.

“Whenever he’s able to use his body to its full potential, he’s going to be a really good one,” Alkire said. “He has the potential to play at a Power 5 school. Hopefully, he puts on some muscle weight, grows a couple inches and becomes even more of a manchild.”




Fort Hill defensive lineman Carter Hess (77) tries to swat down a pass thrown by Brody Williams against Allegany in Homecoming on Oct. 30. Hess, a sophomore, was voted Lineman of the Year.
PHOTO: Ken Nolan/Times-News