From Staff Reports
ROARING SPRING, Pa. — Dekarai Darr scored four touchdowns, breaking the final two on fourth-down plays in the second half, as the undefeated Fort Hill Sentinels (5-0) beat the Central Scarlett Dragons (4-2) of Martinsburg, Pa., 37-21, on a hot, humid Friday night at Roaring Spring Athletic Field.
It was an offensive shootout, yet it was a dogfight for the Sentinels as well, with the Fort Hill offense controlling the line of scrimmage in the second half and the defense bottling up a wide-open Central offense.
The Fort Hill ground game racked up 395 yards with Darr leading the way with 185 yards on 22 carries. Ty Johnson rushed for 106 yards on nine carries and had two interceptions on defense, Alex Barnes gained 63 yards on five carries and quarterback Hunter Squires had 49 yards on four carries.
“It’s a team effort,” said Fort Hill head coach Todd Appel. “Dekarai played a great game, but so did a lot of other players. Alex Barnes blocked his tail off, and the offensive line ... We don’t go for all of those fourth downs unless we know what our offensive line can do.”
Fort Hill was 3-for-3 on fourth-down plays.
“This is the most complete game we’ve played because Central is the best team we’ve played.” Appel said. “It was a good playoff-like win for us. We challenged the kids at halftime and they responded with an edge, and that’s something that’s going to pay off for us down the road.
“And the defense played very tough against an outstanding offensive team.
Fort Hill came right out of the gates, putting together a four-play, 68-yard drive to get into the end zone first, with the big gain being a 45-yarder by Barnes to put the ball on the Central 16. With 10:19 left in the first quarter, Dekarai Darr went left and went in easily for the first touchdown, with Chris King’s kick making it 7-0.
The Scarlet Dragons came right back, however, in using six plays to cover 70 yards to tie the game. The big play of the drive was a 45-yard run by Bradi Moore, who was knocked out of bounds at the Fort Hill 12 by Ty Johnson. Two plays later a pitch to Moore brought the touchdown, as the running back broke two tackles to get in at 7:36 of the first with Zach Slagenweit’s kick tying the score.
The game then took its first turn as Darr was stripped of the ball by Moore after a long gain, and Moore returned it to the Fort Hill five. However, on second-and-goal from the five, Moore lost 20 yards, and two incompletions later, the Sentinels took over at the 25. Darr would break the first-down play for 29 yards and then a play-action pass from Squires to Devin Shreve put the ball on the Central 14. Two plays later, Darr burst through from eight yards out for the touchdown with 4:07 left in the first, with King’s kick making it 14-7.
Two possessions later the Dragons had the ball at the Fort Hill 47 when quarterback/all-purpose back Austin Cunningham broke tackles to seemingly score on an outstanding run. However, Central was called for an illegal block to put the ball back on the Central 41. On the next play, the Dragons went downfield, but this time Johnson picked off the pass at the Fort Hill 20 and returned it 10 yards to the 30. After a two-yard gain by Darr, Johnson went left, and with a great burst of speed outran the field for a 68-yard touchdown run with 10:03 left in the half. Shreve then dove to the pylon to get into the end zone for two points and Fort Hill led 22-7.
Central, however, came right back, putting together a nine-play, 67-yard scoring drive, which included a successful fake punt to the Fort Hill 40 that the Sentinels, with just one deep man back, knew was coming yet still could not stop. After Cunningham scrambled for five, he found Justin Helsel for a 35-yard touchdown with 6:06 left in the half. Moore scored the two-point conversion and the half ended at 22-15.
A King 35-yard punt pinned Central back to its six early in the second half, and three plays later, Fort Hill got the ball back at the Dragons’ 45. Squires picked up 11 on first down, but Darr and Johnson were bottled up on three plays to set up a fourth-and-five. From the Central 29 Darr took the pitch, ran wide and broke loose for a 29-yard touchdown run at 4:47 of the third, with King’s kick making it 29-15, Fort Hill.
King then kicked the ball into the end zone, and though the Dragons got two first downs they were forced to punt, with the Sentinels taking over at their 30. Barnes got the drive started with a 17-yard gain, as Fort Hill worked the ball downfield. But after a personal foul was called on Fort Hill, the Sentinels were faced with yet another fourth down and, from the Central 36, Darr took the pitch right and rolled into the end zone for the touchdown at 8:52. After Central was called for roughing the kicker, Darr took it in for the two-point conversion to make it 37-15.
Central came back to cover 80 yards on nine plays, with Moore going across from inside the one at 4:53. The pass attempt for two points was incomplete and the eventual final score stood at 37-21.
Fort Hill will play its third straight road game Friday at Walter Johnson.
Fort Hill 22, Altoona 13
CUMBERLAND — Xavier Trimble scored two touchdowns, the first on a 65-yard kickoff return in the first quarter, to lead the Fort Hill freshmen over Altoona Wednesday at Greenway Avenue Stadium.
Trimble’s second TD came on a nine-yard run in the second quarter. He caught four passes for 40 yards and finished with 134 yards of total offense.
In the fourth quarter, Nathanael McTaggert took in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Nathaniel Graves, with Richard Hess running in the two-point conversion. Jacob Rummer kicked the point-afters on the first two TDs.
Hess rushed for 50 yards and Graves was 5 for 6 passing for 64 yards and a touchdown.
The defense was led by Noah Steckman, Holden Sibley and Graves. Chance Tyler had a game-sealing interception late in the fourth.
Fort Hill (2-2) will host Mountain Ridge Wednesday at 5 p.m. The junior varsity game will follow at 7 o’clock.