It had all the makings of a blowout -- and it was.
In its first state playoff game, Forest Park had to face a Fort Hill team that is ranked No. 2 in the state by the Associated Press and has won all but two games by 37 or more points.
With six players out because of academic ineligibilities, the Foresters couldn't match the Sentinels' firepower, not to mention their fans, in a 42-12 defeat in a state 2A quarterfinal contest at Poly yesterday.
The Sentinels of Allegany County (11-0), who lost to Dunbar in last season's state 2A title game, advance to the semifinals, where they will play host to Potomac of Prince George's County next weekend.
A crowd of over 2,100 attended the contest, 2,000 of whom were Fort Hill supporters. Some arrived as early as 8:30 a.m., tailgating in the parking lot, and there were three radio stations, a television station, five chartered buses and seven school buses.
The Foresters (5-5-1) were unfazed by the sea of red in the stands, but were unable to stop the Sentinels' misdirection plays out of the wing-T formation.
Sophomore Josh Page (100 yards, three touchdowns), senior Eddy Blizzard (65 yards, touchdown) and sophomore Rick Jenkins (51 yards) helped Fort Hill total 280 yards on the ground.
"We just couldn't stop their counter because we didn't have one of our starting outside linebackers," said Forest Park coach Obie Barnes. "It just took a toll on us. Fort Hill played like every play was a fourth down."
Forest Park trailed 7-6 with 2:16 left in the first half after a 2-yard score by Aaron Thompson (74 yards, two touchdowns), which was set up by an interception by Lonnie Byrd. A minute later, the Foresters had a major breakdown as quarterback Brandon Davis found a wide-open Sparky Sharpless for a 53-yard touchdown.
Forest Park gave the Sentinels another opportunity, throwing an interception deep in its own territory with 15 seconds left. With eight seconds remaining, Blizzard went 31 yards off a reverse for a touchdown, giving the Sentinels a 21-6 halftime lead.
"We thought our misdirection with our passing would be good," said Fort Hill coach Mike Calhoun, whose team overcame four first-half turnovers. "We didn't throw the ball as well as we like. I thought the touchdown off the reverse before halftime was the key because it gave us a cushion."