Sentinels stifle Taylor Allderdice

Dylan Clay dives over the pylon to score a 39-yard touchdown late in the third quarter of Fort Hill’s win over Taylor Allderice Saturday in Pittsburgh. Clay had a total of 51 rushing yards on four carries.

PITTSBURGH — Undefeated Fort Hill jumped quickly to a two-touchdown lead, then fought off the Taylor Allderdice Dragons through a physical first half, before turing the tables defensively in the second half to leave George Cupples Stadium with a 27-9 win.

Fullback Garrett Clay led the Fort Hill offense, which met its match for much of the day against a sizable Allderdice defense, rushing for 121 yards on just eight carries and scoring two touchdowns, the first coming on the first offensive play of the game.

Dylan Clay rushed for 51 yards on four carries, scoring the touchdown that gave the Sentinels the breathing room they would need, going 39 yards with 2:27 left in the third to put Fort Hill ahead, 21-3. Ryan Briner scored Fort Hill’s final touchdown with 7:34 left in the game.

It didn’t take the Sentinels (4-0) long to get acclimated to South Pittsburgh as, after an illegal procedure call was walked off against them, Garrett Clay got the call over the right side, sped into the secondary and then outran the field in scoring on a 70-yard run on the first snap of the game.

Not to be outdone by his brother, cornerback Dylan Clay promptly intercepted a Bishop Gethers pass on the Dragons’ third play from scrimmage and returned it to the Allderdice 41. Four plays later from the 26, Garrett Clay re-entered the picture as quarterback Mike Austin rolled to his left and found the Sentinel fullback in the far corner of the end zone for the second touchdown on Fort Hill’s fifth play. Cullin Brown’s second successful kick made it 14-0.

At this point it appeared the Sentinels were on their way to their second straight rout of a Pittsburgh school, having rolled Perry Traditional last weekend, 50-13, as Fort Hill’s Caleb Miller picked off Gethers passes on consecutive possessions, giving the Sentinels starting points of the Taylor Allderdice 33 and the Fort Hill 40.

However, coupled with the physical play of the large Dragons defense and a pair of penalties, Fort Hill was unable to capitalize, turning the ball back to Allderdice both times.

By this time, the Dragons (1-3) were beginning to establish their running game, led by 6-0, 240-pound running back Patrick Ferguson, who led the Pittsburgh City League in rushing last year, as he pounded the Sentinels for 75 yards on 12 carries in the first half.

To close the half, Taylor Allderdice put together a 17-play, 86-yard scoring drive, garnering four first downs and one by penalty. The Dragons had first-and-goal from the six, but the Sentinels kept them out of the end zone with Allderdice settling for a 25-yard field goal by Jessie Irwin with 1:09 left in the half.

 The Sentinels had 143 yards of offense in the first half, nearly half coming on the first play of the game, and were penalized six times for 51 yards.

Fort Hill’s defense opened the second half, however, with two stops and on the Sentinels’ second possession they wasted little time in extending their lead as Garrett Clay picked up eight on a sweep, before breaking loose on a trap for 31 yards.

From the Taylor Allderdice 39, Dylan Clay then broke loose through the Dragons’ secondary and into the end zone with 2:27 left in the third quarter, with Brown’s kick making it 21-3.

The Fort Hill defense then stuffed the Dragons offense again, thanks to a quarterback sack by Nick Greise.

Taking over at its 48, Fort Hill had a three-and-out but was able to better its field position when Brown got off a beauty on fourth down that was downed at the Allderdice one by the Sentinels’ Marcus Lee.

The Dragons could muster nothing as Fort Hill had re-established the line of scrimmage and on fourth down the Allderdice punter elected to pass the ball out of the end zone rather than kick, only to see it fall incomplete to give the Sentinels a first down inside the Dragons’ one.

At 7:34 of the fourth, Ryan Briner virtually walked into the end zone, capping off the one-play, one-yard, two-second scoring drive. Brown’s kick was no good, but the Sentinels held a 27-3 lead.

The Dragons would get into the end zone with 47 seconds left when Ferguson, who finished the day with 125 yards on 27 carries, went across from three yards out.

Fort Hill will stay on the road next week, visiting undefeated Ligonier Valley on Friday.

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