Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

January 31, 2014

Player of Year Ty Johnson heads All-Area football team

CUMBERLAND — Led by Player of the Year Ty Johnson, Fort Hill dominates the 2013 Times-News All-Area Football Team just as the Sentinels dominated play during the season in rolling to the Maryland 1A state championship.

The 14-0 Sentinels place 17 players on the 32-position first team, headed by Johnson, Offensive Player of the Year Dekarai Darr and Defensive Player of the Year Cody Dolly. Along with head coach Todd Appel being voted Coach of the Year by the Dapper Dan Club, this marks the first time Fort Hill has swept all four postseason football awards.

The Times-News All-Area team is selected from nominations from area coaches and this year has representatives from seven schools, with Allegany, Hampshire and Keyser each filling four of the positions, and Frankfort, Mountain Ridge and Northern one apiece.

Twelve players repeated as first-teamers this year. Fort Hill’s Darr, Preston Bryant, Chris King and Ryan Shives and Keyser’s Blake Ravenscroft repeated on offense, while Fort Hill’s Cody Arigo, Alex Barnes and Brennan Carlin, Keyser’s Drew Roy and Wes Nelson, and Allegany’s Kirk Robinette and Jordan Shook repeated on defense. Shives was first-team All-Area on defense last year, while Carlin and Roy were first-team selections on offense.

A player cannot receive two first-team honors unless it involves one of the kicking positions.

• Fort Hill’s Johnson (5-11, 170, Jr.), a big-play producer on offense, defense and special teams in the Sentinels’ championship run, is the first-team all-purpose back. He rushed for 1,254 yards on 72 carries for an average of 17.4 yards per carry. He scored 23 touchdowns and had an area-high 10 interceptions defensively.

Johnson, who also caught 15 passes for 332 yards, was named first-team Maryland All-State all-purpose back for 2A and 1A schools.

• At running back, Darr (5-3, 170, Sr.), a second-team All-State selection, led the area in rushing and shared the area scoring title with Frankfort’s Brady Watson. Darr rushed for 1,665 yards on 158 carries for a 10.5 yards-per-carry average with 24 touchdowns and a two-point conversion for 146 points.

Fort Hill was 21-1 the past two seasons with Darr as its starting fullback.

• Cody Dolly (6-0, 200, Sr.), first-team All-State linebacker, led the Fort Hill defense with 67 solo tackles and 54 assisted tackles. He had 6.5 special team tackles, a fumble recovery, two interceptions, 9.5 quarterback sacks and three batted balls for 358.5 defensive points, the top figure on the team by over 50 points. Dolly has received a tryout for the Maryland Big 33 team.

• Directing the first-team All-Area offense is Fort Hill quarterback Hunter Squires (6-0, 157, Sr.), who completed 58 of 97 passes for 934 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. Squires also rushed for 286 yards on 71 carries.

Frankfort’s Gage Shaffer (6-6, 200, Jr.), West Virginia special mention All-State quarterback, heads the second team. Shaffer completed 70 of 127 passes for 1,070 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions.

• Joining Johnson, Darr and Squires in the first-team backfield are Mountain Ridge’s RaShawn Johnson (5-9, 170, Jr.), Keyser’s Blake Ravenscroft (5-9, 155, Sr.) and Frankfort’s Brady Watson (5-7, 180, Jr.).

RaShawn Johnson led the Miners (3-7) to a 35-21 win at Allegany that snapped Mountain Ridge’s 13-game losing streak. Johnson rushed for 260 yards on 29 carries that night, which would be the first of four 200-plus yard games he would produce and one of eight games with at least 124 yards rushing. His high game was 261 yards on 30 carries in a 26-14 win over Northern, which he followed with 245 yards on 22 carries the next week in a 36-17 win over Southern.

For the year Johnson gained 1,482 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. His 2,105 all-purpose yards led the area.

• Ravenscroft, who was special mention West Virginia All-State, rushed for 701 yards and 10 touchdowns to lead Keyser to a 7-4 record and a return to the West Virginia Class AA playoffs. He also caught nine passes for 149 yards and a touchdown and totaled 1,001 all-purpose yards. His junior season, he led the area in rushing with 1,389 yards and 16 touchdowns for an 11.4 average, helping the Golden Tornado to the state championship game.

• Watson, second-team All-State, led the Falcons to an 8-3 season and a return trip to the Class AA playoffs. He rushed for 1,276 yards on 183 carries and scored 24 touchdowns to tie Darr for the area scoring title.

Watson rushed for at least 100 yards in nine of the Falcons’ 11 games, gaining 173 yards on 31 carries and scoring four touchdowns in a 37-34 win at Moorefield.

• The first-team ends on the All-Area team are Hampshire’s Dane Heavener (5-10, 140, Sr.), and Fort Hill’s Ryan Shives (6-1, 238, Jr.) and Devin Shreve (5-10, 170, Sr.).

Heavener helped Hampshire to a 6-4 season and led the area in receiving with 32 receptions for 596 yards and seven touchdowns.

• Shives led Fort Hill in receiving with 22 catches for 417 yards and two touchdowns and possesses the best hands of any tight end coached by Appel, who also credits Shives as being a fine blocker.

• Shreve caught 22 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns and, according to Appel, runs excellent routes and runs well after making the catch. Shreve made several big catches for first downs down the stretch for Fort Hill.

• The first-team offensive line is made up of Fort Hill’s Preston Bryant (6-3, 291, Sr.), Timmy Friend (6-2, 240, So.), Josh Roberts (6-4, 270, Jr.) and Michael Wright (6-2-220, Sr.), Keyser’s Iden Blizzard (6-0, 300, Jr.) and Hampshire’s Josh Snyder (6-1, 250, Sr.).

Bryant, a tackle, was first-team All-State for the Sentinels and has been selected to play for the Maryland team in the Big 33 Game in Hershey, Pa. He participated in the Maryland Crab Bowl for the Baltimore team at the conclusion of the season.

Friend, a guard, and Roberts, a tackle, were both second-team All-State for the Sentinels, while Wright anchored the Fort Hill line at center. Along with All-State guard Brennan Carlin, who is second-team All-Area offense, but first-team defensive line, this group paved the way for a Fort Hill offense that totaled 4,451 yards rushing and 5,518 yards of total offense.  

Keyser’s Blizzard was named honorable mention All-State for the Golden Tornado, while Snyder was a four-year starter for the Trojans.

• The first-team All-Area placekicker is Fort Hill’s Chris King, (5-10, 135, Sr.), who made 63 of 68 extra points this season and kicked four field goals. King was second-team All-State his senior season after making honorable mention as a junior. The past two seasons, he combined to convert 115 out of 122 extra-point attempts.

• Along with Dolly, the first-team linebackers are Allegany’s Kirk Robinette (6-3, 205, Jr.), Northern’s Meshach Metz (6-1, 170, Jr.) and Fort Hill’s RaShaan Shives (6-2, 236, Jr.) and Adam Duvall (5-9, 177, Sr.). Robinette was second-team All-State, while Metz and Shives were honorable mention.

Robinette led Allegany in tackles with 86, five of them going for loss. He also had a quarterback sack and an interception. Metz, the Northern team MVP, had 92 solo tackles and 58 assists in nine games to set a school record for total tackles with 150. Metz also had a sack, five interceptions and caused three fumbles.

Shives was the defensive signal-caller for Fort Hill. He had 40 solo tackles and 41 assists, three interceptions and a blocked kick. Duvall, who was Fort Hill’s best cover linebacker, had 39 tackles, six special teams tackles, a fumble recovery and three sacks.

• Fort Hill’s Cody Arigo (5-9, 190, Sr.), last year’s Area Defensive Player of the Year, returns to the first-team All-Area defensive line, and is joined by teammates Brennan Carlin (6-2, 234, Sr.) and Joe Mundella (6-1, 185, Sr.), as well as Keyser’s Wes Nelson (6-1, 195, Sr.) and Drew Roy (6-1, 255, Sr.) and Hampshire’s Jacob Bean (5-11, 241, Sr.). All six players received All-State honors in their respective states.

Arigo, first-team Maryland All-State, had 46 solo tackles and 50 assists, with nine special teams tackles and 13 quarterback sacks.

Carlin, second-team All-State offensive line, had 30 solos, 22 assists, 12 sacks and a blocked kick, while Mundella, second-team All-State defensive line, came up with 54 solos, 37 assists, seven special teams tackles, a fumble recovery and tied Arigo for the team-high 13 sacks. Fort Hill had 58 sacks on the season, including 10 of Douglass quarterback Camron West in the 25-0 win in the state championship game.

Roy was second-team All-State and Nelson special mention All-State in West Virginia AA, while Bean was honorable mention All-State in West Virginia AAA.

• In the secondary, Fort Hill’s Alex Barnes (5-10, 170, Jr.) and Allegany’s Jordan Shook (5-9, 175 Sr.) return to the first unit and team up with Allegany’s Darion Lopez (5-10, 147, Sr.) and Hampshire’s Dale Bryson, Hampshire (6-0, 170, Sr.).

Barnes, honorable mention All-State, had 29 solo tackles and 14 assists for the Sentinels, with 12.5 special teams tackles. He recovered three fumbles and intercepted four passes, one he returned 27 yards for a touchdown in the state championship game. He also blocked a kick and recorded a safety.

Shook led the Allegany secondary with 52 tackles and had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. His teammate Lopez had 40 tackles, recovered four fumbles, averaged 23 yards a return in kickoffs and over 12 on punt returns. Bryson led the Trojans in interceptions with five.

• The first-team All-Area punter is Allegany’s Nate Condor, who is also second-team placekicker along with Hampshire’s Evan Staley. In his first year of high school football, Condor had a 35-yard average on 19 punts.

• Todd Appel is the Area Coach of the Year for the third time in four years and for the fourth time overall in his six seasons as the Fort Hill head coach.

After spending 15 seasons as an assistant coach under Mike Calhoun and Barry Lattimer, Appel was named the 10th head coach in Fort Hill’s history in 2008. He has coached his alma mater to 66 victories and just 11 losses for a winning percentage of .857, four West Region titles and two berths in the state championship game, the Sentinels having fallen to Dunbar on a last-seconds play, 20-19, in the 2008 final.

He was voted Maryland Small School (Classes 2A-1A) co- Coach of the Year following the 2013 season.

Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at

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