TGIF! Thank God it's Football, and to get the season rolling, the Fort Hill Sentinels will host a four-team football scrimmage this Saturday, Aug. 22 at Greenway Avenue Stadium with the Queen City Quad Preseason Classic to benefit The League for Crippled Children. The scrimmage gets underway at 3 p.m. with the varsity performing on the main stadium field and the junior varsity performing on the upper practice fields. Admission is free to the public. Donations to aid The League for Crippled Children will be accepted at the stadium. Gift cards and merchandise raffles will also be available.

Fans are encouraged to come out and support this cause. And hey, not only is this for a great local charity, but the football competition is sure to be some of the best this area will see all season as the card will feature Prince George’s County Friendly High School, Montgomery Country’s Winston Chruchill, Windber, Pa., and hometown Sentinels. Here is some information on the visiting teams that will be performing:


The Maryland Class 3A school from Fort Washington is a storied program that has won five state titles (most recently in 2006) and produced one of the top coaches in the history of the state in the late Jim Crawford, who founded the program in 1970. The school's Crawford-Knode Stadium was named after the former head coach who is also a 1956 graduate of Fort Hill High School where he was an All-City running back during the 1954 and 1955 seasons.

Fans in attendance will get a wonderful chance to see current Florida Gator commitment Jordan Haden play football from his running back/safety position. Jordan will join his brother Joe Haden in Gainesville next fall, as Joe is already an All-SEC cornerback currently playing for the defending national champions. In the past three seasons Friendly has sent several players on to play college football at the Division I level, including Josh Haden (Boston College), Eteyen Edet (Maryland), Devin Wallace (Virginia), Lamaar Thomas (Ohio State), Vincent Hill (Akron), Cornelius Ward (Miami Ohio) and Joe Haden (Florida).

The longtime ties between Fort Hill and Friendly finally come to fruition on the field when the Patriots visit Greenway Avenue Stadium for the first head-to-head meeting. Somewhere Jim Crawford is smiling.

Winston Churchill

Traveling from Montgomery County will be another school Fort Hill has yet to face on the gridiron. Churchill will be the largest school to participate in the Queen City Quad with an enrollment of over 2,100 students (Maryland 4A classification).

The Bulldogs, who visited Cumberland in 1978 to play Allegany, will provide plenty of quality performers including Class 4A All-State running back Ryan Quinn and one of the better kickers in Maryland by the name of Brian Crutchfield, another Class 4A All-State honoree from last year. A player recruiting scouts will be keeping an eye on this season is receiver Brandon Swepson. With 6-foot-3 height and 4.4 40 speed, the senior is one of the team’s most dangerous weapons. At 6-7 and 280 pounds, offensive tackle John Milbourn looks to have a breakthrough season on the line of scrimmage.

Churchill will be under the direction of first year head coach Joe Allen, a former Salisbury State College receiver who left the school as the all-time leader in career receiving yardage (1982-85).


Haling from Somerset County the Ramblers have a long-standing rich tradition in Western Pennsylvania football. In fact, Windber was the first team Fort Hill ever played when the South Cumberland School opened in 1936. Windber beat Coach Bobby Cavanaugh’s squad soundly in the debut of Sentinel football by a final score of 54-6. Losing to Windber was nothing to be ashamed of as the Ramblers were only beaten once in 53 games during the 1930s. Windber has an all-time winning record over the Sentinels with victories in four of the seven match-ups. The last time the two schools met was in 1965 with Windber registering a 27-13 victory over coach Charlie Lattimer’s squad.

Last season Windber won nine games, which included a victory over Conemaugh Valley in the Pennsylvania State playoffs. The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat named head coach Phil DeMarco Area Coach of the Year. He also won the award in 2000 and has been at the Windber helm since 1985.

Of course, the hometown Sentinels will be the host team. The Times-News will release its full preview on Fort Hill on Sept. 4. One aspect is certain: their schedule may be the toughest in the history of the school. Three different 4A Classification opponents dot the 2009 list including Mount St. Joseph, Martinsburg and Thomas Johnson.

The smell of football is now in the August air. Hopefully this scrimmage can well prepare the local youngsters for the challenge that awaits them on the schedule this fall. Helping a worthy charity like The League for Crippled Children makes high school football in Cumberland that much more special. Hope to see you there.

For more information visit

React to this story:



This Week's Circulars