MPSSAA 1A Football State Championship

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Fort Hill High School won its third straight MPSSAA Class 1A state football championship Saturday by overwhelming Havre de Grace, 44-14, at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Sentinels, from Allegany County, dominated the Warriors, outgaining them 468 yards to 264 yards in total offense.

Only Frederick County's Urbana High School has won four consecutive state football championships.

"I don't think about those things," Fort Hill Coach Todd Appel said when asked about winning four straight. "We're going to collect gear next week, and then we're going to get after it in the weight room."

Junior running back Raen Smith had 234 yards rushing and a touchdown for Fort Hill, and classmate Brayden Brown had 100 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Nathaniel Graves scored two rushing TDs.

Fort Hill finished its season with a 12-1 record, but Appel said it wasn't easy.

"When people thought we couldn't even win our area, these kids stuck together, and we did it," he said. "They just wanted to play their best game in their last game. They saved their best for last."

Graves starting the scoring off when he sneaked in from the 1-yard line. The touchdown capped a seven-play drive that started on Havre de Grace's 44. The key play of the drive was Graves' pass to Brown in the flat, who turned it into a 30-yard gain. It was Graves' only completion of the game.

The Sentinels made it 10-0 on the second play of the second quarter when a drive stalled on the Warriors' 13-yard line. Junior Austin Farrell was true on a 30-yard field goal attempt.

Brown, a 6-foot-2 junior, capped a 93-yard drive with an 18-yard end-around to make it 17-0, Fort Hill. That drive featured a 48-yard run by Raen Smith.

And just before the end of the half, Brown scored on a 46-yard run to give the Sentinels a 24-0 lead.

Havre de Grace didn't score until there were 11 seconds left in the third quarter, after Jack Eberhardt replaced Mike Flosser at quarterback. Eberhardt led a seven-play, 72-yard drive that was capped with Chris Harris' 8-yard touchdown run.

In the fourth quarter, Eberhardt hit Isaiah Jackson with an 8-yard touchdown pass to cap a six-play, 81-yard drive.
December 5th, 2015By: Ed Waldman

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