Cumberland--The Havre de Grace Warriors football team knew it was a long road and drive to battle Fort Hill in another Class 1A state tournament football game.
What they didn’t know is that multiple bad penalties, poor snaps and turnovers would turn Saturday’s game into another lopsided victory for the Sentinels. Fort Hill (12-0) won Saturday’s game easily, 43-6.
“Very disappointed, I mean I felt like we probably gave them more yards in penalties than they actually earned,” Warriors coach Brian Eberhardt said. “Offensively it was tough, they’re a good football team. Then you have some questionable penalties that take them out of a bind, it’s tough, it was tough.”
There were penalties by both teams on the the game’s first drive, but that didn’t stop Fort Hill from putting up its first of six rushing touchdowns. The Sentinels rushed for more than 300 yards on the day.
The Sentinels overcame a first down holding call to march 69 yards in nine plays. A Warriors encroachment penalty on a third and one kept the drive alive at the Warriors 37.
Quarterback Blake Beal, a 6-2 senior, snuck it in from a yard out and Danny King added the kick. It was 7-0 Fort Hill just over four minutes into the game.
Havre de Grace (10-3) went three downs and out on its first possession. A personal foul penalty on second down essentially killed the drive.
The Warriors defense stepped up on the next Fort Hill possession, stopping the Sentinels short on fourth and two from the Warriors 34.
The momentum and excitement was gone seconds later when the first poor snap of the day resulted in a fumble and Fort Hill recovery at the Havre de Grace 34. Carter Swan made the recovery.
It was Swan who did most of the damage for the Fort Hill offense. Just 5-6, Swan, a senior, was a problem from the fullback position in the potent Fort Hill Wing-T offense.
Swan ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, but it was counterpart, Tyreke Powell, also a senior, who scored the game’s next points.
Powell raced 20 yards for the score and the Sentinels used a fake extra-point try to throw a two-point conversion pass to senior tight end Wyatt Brehm. It was 15-0 Fort Hill with 3:39 left in the first quarter.
Then it got ugly for the Warriors.
A personal foul penalty on first down was followed by a illegal blind side block on the next play. Despite that, the Warriors moved the chains on a 20-yard pass play from Alex Gresock to Jayden Hyman.
Two plays later, Gresock connected with senior Jordan White for 42 yards to the Fort Hill 25. White, however, was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when he laid the ball down on the defender.
From the 40, a bad snap on first down was a loss of 10 yards. A 15-yard pass from Gresock to Tommy Meehan set up third and five, but another bad snap made it fourth and nine.
Gresock and White hooked up again for 14 yards to the Sentinels 25.
White then lost a yard on the first down carry and Gresock lost three more on second down. Add on another unsportsmanlike penalty and the Warriors were facing third and 28.
They eventually punted and the Sentinels took over at their own 15. 10 consecutive running plays ended with Swan scoring from three yards out. King’s extra-point-kick made it 22-0 with 5:22 left in the half.
The next Fort Hill drive ended with White intercepting a Beal pass. White’s return gave the Warriors life at the Fort Hill 27.
Three loss of yardage downs resulted in Gresock (9-for-24, 159 yards, TD, 2 INT) throwing an interception on the last play of half. “They were definitely a tough team, they definitely got up the field with pressure, made me throw the ball early,” Gresock said. “I think the weather really benefitted them because we were struggling snapping the ball, throwing the ball. The ball was all wet and my hands were numb.”
Things didn’t get any better for most of the second half. A bad snap on third and 11 made it fourth and 28 from the Warriors two.
Braeden Askins took the Warriors subsequent punt back 30 yards for the score, but an illegal blind side block brought the ball back to the 30.
No problem. Powell (15 carries, 119 yards) raced 30 yards on first down and with another King kick, the Sentinels were ahead, 29-0.
Later in the third quarter it was Swan on another three-yard run to push the lead to 36-0 and initiate the running clock.
Gresock threw his second interception of the game on the next Warriors possession, but his pass to White on the next Warriors drive provided the team’s lone points.
Gresock hit White along the sideline. White (three catches, 112 yards) broke down the sideline and raced into the end zone on a 56-yard scoring play. White, though, while entering the end zone, was flagged with another unsportsmanlike penalty for taunting. The senior was ejected from the game.
Nate Brown missed the extra-point-kick wide left.
An onside kick by Warriors kicker Chandler Russo was recovered by Tony Bowman. The Warriors, however, fumbled the ball right back to the Sentinels when Gresock was sacked from behind.
Fort Hill, with its second team offense on the field, closed out the scoring a short time later against the Warriors second team defense.
Colby Santimyire ran 13 yards for the touchdown and Trey Harper added the kick.
Warriors senior receiver Jayden Hyman added two receptions for 25 yards in the loss. Junior Tommy Meehan added two catches for 24 yards.
“We came out with the right attitude, it’s just penalties killed us, doing personal fouls and stuff like that,” senior Jesse Fenner said. “I knew we left it all out in the field, I feel we did very good on that subject, but they’re a great team. I don’t feel, too bad about it. I’m glad we made it this far with this team this year and proud of my team. Thank God for everything.”
Reach Randy McRoberts on twitter. @aegissports