And then there were two.
The area’s high school football season is down to just Allegany and Fort Hill and, just in case you haven’t heard, they meet again Friday night at Greenway Avenue Stadium, with the winner claiming the West Region championship and a spot in the state semifinals.
It’s nothing new. Actually, it’s gotten old quite quickly.
Friday will mark the ninth time in 13 years that Allegany and Fort Hill will play twice in one season. It happened only four other times overall.
In seven of the last eight years it’s happened, the team that won at Homecoming also won the playoff game: Allegany in 2005 and 2007, and Fort Hill in 2006, 2008, 2012, 2015 and 2016. In 2012, the score was the same in both: 21-20.
The split came in 2009, when Fort Hill took Homecoming, 17-7, and Allegany won the playoff game, 35-14.
There will be plenty written and said in advance of this week’s game. Today, a look back at a few items from the notebook from last week’s doubleheader at Greenway, where both teams won decisively and almost by the same score. Fort Hill beat Southern 48-6. Allegany beat Boonsboro 49-7.
Too many O’s, not enough X’s
Think it’s fun to be a defensive coordinator facing Fort Hill?
In Fort Hill’s final regular season game, the Sentinels scored 56 points, ran for 490 yards and did not throw a pass. Three rushers went for more than 100 yards in the win over Allegany.
So, more of the same the next week, right?
Well, not quite.
Try to keep track of Troy Banks, Brayden Poling and Tyreke Powell, whose 187 yards rushing was a Homecoming game record, yes. But don’t dare forget about quarterback Logan Johnson.
The Sentinels threw 11 passes in the first half, with 10 in the second quarter, in Friday’s game with Southern.
Johnson completed 8 of the 11 for 156 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Anthony Smith.
“We can throw the ball,” Fort Hill coach Todd Appel said. “We’ve got to block a little better up front when there are backers coming, but for the most part, we did what we needed to do. We saw what we wanted to see. We have options.”
They have options. Baskin-Robbins has flavors, too.
Johnson has completed 34 for 52 passes (65 percent) for 686 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. He sprinted 82 yards for a touchdown and had 247 all-purpose yards (156 passing, 91 rushing) Friday night. In the last two games, he has run for 195 yards on only 10 carries.
Big Blue comes through
It was a much better Saturday afternoon with smiles all around for the Campers, who had no trouble in beating Boonsboro in their region semifinal. Four Campers scored touchdowns, Karson Robinette set a school record for points scored in a season, and place-kicker Coleton Furlow converted a school record 61st extra point.
On this Saturday, it was Allegany that didn’t throw a pass or punt. They showed off a lot of offensive weapons as well, finishing with 21 first downs, 457 yards rushing and an average of more than 10 yards per carry.
“I think people forget that,” Hansel said of his team’s having numerous offensive options as well. “You look at today, we had a third-string quarterback come in and had so many people score. I think we can be overlooked at times.”
The Homecoming game was still on his mind a bit.
“You’ve got to play with pride. You have to compete in the 10th game. I’m well aware that these kids are going to come out with a much better performance Friday.”
The defense had one of its better games of the year. The defensive front included time for Hunter Moorehead and the usuals, and a chance for freshman Ryan Baker.
“Hunter is just one of those tough kids. He’s not quite big enough to play the front, but he’s physical and hard nosed,” Hansel said. “We use him a little bit to change up the pace on the D-line.”
“Ryan Baker’s a freshman we kind of played around with all year, whether to bring him up or not. I thought he responded well. He’s a big kid, 285 pounds as a freshman, so that helped out.”
The Allegany defense was well prepared for Boonsboro, which had decent size but mustered only 206 yards. Almost half of those yards came on two plays, with one of the two, a 45-yard run, coming in the second half when the game had long been settled.
A taste and a desire for more
Southern reached the postseason for the first time since 2001, the year many of the players on this year’s team were born. Coach Jon Nazelrod’s team finished the season with an 8-3 record, which was the first winning season for the program since that 2001 playoff season.
The three losses were to Fort Hill, Allegany and East Hardy, teams that are three wins from state championships and have a collective 30-3 record.
Now the Rams want to take another step in the progression in what Nazelrod hopes gets the program back to where it was when he played in the late 1980s for Hall of Fame coach Tom Woods. Nazelrod, as he left Greenway after Friday’s loss to Fort Hill, said he’s certain it will.
“Fort Hill is ... they’re the team,” he said. “I can’t wait to go home and watch the film, see exactly what they did do, gain a little bit more knowledge from it, and get a little bit better prepared for next year,” he said. “What do you do with a team like that? You build a better program. My hat’s off to Todd (Appel). He’s done a very good job up here.
“I’m really proud of every last senior, and I can’t wait to get back to work on Monday. The seniors are going to be senior leaders and teach the younger guys what they need to do to be successful. And Southern Garrett football will one day be the No. 1 program in the area. Mark it down.”
Follow Mike Mathews on Twitter @MikeMathewsCTN.
Doesn't everyone? Good luck Jacob! https://t.co/xBgimzFw3c— Mike Mathews (@MikeMathewsCTN) November 14, 2017
Get him outta here https://t.co/O2aKSQfX60— Mike Mathews (@MikeMathewsCTN) November 13, 2017
This guy's got a healthy opinion of himself. He needs to go. https://t.co/exovHhkGR3— Mike Mathews (@MikeMathewsCTN) November 13, 2017