Fort Hill Sentinels Pull 'Trick' On Keyser 13-6
Steve Luse
Cumberland Times-News
October 31, 1986

The Fort Hill High Sentinels used the trick play, got the unexpected and treated their followers to a 13-6 victory over Keyser in a defensive struggle on Halloween Night before a packed house at Keyser's Stayman Field.

Tight end Jim Furstenburg, who had not carried the ball all year before last night, came up with the trick when he scored on an end around play from 16 yards out for the first touchdown on Fort Hill's first possession.

Senior quarterback Jeff Brode did the unexpected when he raced 65 yards for the other touchdown in the second quarter after scrambling away from Golden Tornado pressure.

That was about the extent of the Fort Hill offense against the Golden Tornado defense and it took a gallant effort from the defense for the Sentinels to hang on in a second half that Keyser totally dominated.

It was the fifth straight win for the Sentinels, who will go into next Saturday's Homecoming Weekend clash against Allegany with a 7-2 record. The victory also keeps Fort Hill alive in its bid for a third straight berth in the Maryland Class A playoffs.

Keyser, which held the Sentinels to only one first down and 28 yards in the second half, is now 6-3 with one game remaining at Morgantown next week.

The game went down to the wire and Keyser had a chance to pull it out when J.R. Crites hauled in a 51-yard pass from Mike Smith. John Snyder made the saving tackle on the play at the four yard line with four seconds left. Fullback Shannon Vissman was then stacked up by the middle of the Fort Hill line after gaining two yards to end the game.


The Yardstick
Fort Hill
First Downs Rush
First Downs Pass
First Downs Penalty
Total First Downs
Passes Attempted
Passes Completed
Yards Passing
Rushing Attempts
Net Yards Rushing


"I don't want to take anything away from Keyser. They played a heck of a game," stated Fort Hill coach Mike Calhoun, who had coached the Golden Tornado for four seasons before taking the Sentinels' helm in July.

"I was a little disappointed in our execution of responsibilities. We didn't take advantage of what we had early and we had a lot of blocking problems against their four-four defense which we didn't expect.

"They are so strong and our offensive line couldn't handle them in the second half. They were putting tremendous pressure on Jeff Brode and he just couldn't get the flow of the offense going. Our defense had to win the game."

"This was their big game and they were up for us. They played with intensity and emotion the whole game. I would have rather had an off week this week because it's just tough to prepare the week before Allegany. It was really tough coming down here and facing their Homecoming."

In the contest to see who was going to "out-pysch" who before the start of the game, Calhoun didn't bring his Sentinels back onto the field until about two minutes before kickoff. When they came out the entire Keyser team turned their backs on them."

A 20-yard return on the opening kickoff by Kevin Holderby got Fort Hill started at its 35 yard line. Calhoun didn't wait long to bring out the bag of tricks and on the first play Furstenburg took the ball on the end-around play and gained nine yards.

After an incomplete pass, Eric Beal went right for 16 yards and a first down at the Keyser 40. After a two-yard run by C.G. Wilson, Brode went right on the bootleg play and gained 18 yards behind a block by Steve Michael.

Beal went up the middle for four yards and then came the trick again.

Thinking it worked once let's try it again. Calhound again sent in the end-around play. Furstenburg went the 16 yards around the left side for the touchdown. Vince Lai kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 8:34 left in the first quarter.

Calhoun noted that he didn't put in the end around with Furstenburg as a trick play although he hadn't used it all year.

"We run the reverse with a lot of different people and we had been running the play with Snyder," explained the Fort Hill coach. "We felt we needed a big strong guy that can break tackles to run it in this game and Furstenburg is six-foot and 185 pounds."

Crites then fumbled on Keyser's second play from scrimmage and Furstenburg recovered the ball at the Golden Tornado 36-yard line.

But All-America candidate Shannon Vissman, who was all over the firld from his linebacker spot, sacked Brode for a three-yard loss. C.G. Wilson was held for no gain and Brode threw an incomplete pass that brought on the punter.

The teams then exchanged punts before Steve Hess recovered a Mitchell Bruce fumble at the Keyser 36-yard line on the first play of the second quarter. But then Mark Liller picked off a Brode pass on the next play and returned the ball 21 yards to the 27 yard line to start the only Golden Tornado drive that ended with a score.

A four-yard run by Phil Mele and a pair of eight-yard gains by Crites and Smith pushed the ball to the 47. Bruce then ran twice for nine yards and a four yard keeper by Smith got a key first down. Bruce, who is only a sophomore, then broke loose for a 25-yard run to the 12-yard line where Holderby made a shoestring tackle.

Crites went six yards on first down and then two blasts by Vissman and two personal fouls on Fort Hill moved the ball within inches of the goalline. Smith went over on a quarterback sneak with 6:23 left in the second quarter to cap a 12-play 73-yard march.

Coach Doug Jennings decided to go for the two points instead of going to his dependable kicker Dave Dawson. Mark Farris took the pitch from Smith but was hauled down by Fort Hill end Steve Hess just short of the goalline.

Holderby's 25-yard kickoff return put the ball on the Fort Hill 35-yard line. On the first play Brode dropped back short for a pass. Unable to get the ball off under pressure he took off running for his life and 65 yards later he had the final six points of the game with 5:43 left in the first half. Lai was wide on the kick for the extra point.

Keyser threatened on its first possession of the second half and moved to the Fort Hill 23-yard line before Holderby intercepted Smith's pass in the end zone.

Fort Hill was nailed back at its own six-yard line after a perfect coffin-corner punt by Phil Mele, but was able to move out to the 17 on its only first down of the second half on Eric Beal's 10-yard run.

Another Keyser scoring opportunity fizzled when Steve Michael pounced on a errant pitch by Smith at the Fort Hill 16 at the start of the fourth quarter.

The Keyser defense gave the offense one more chance when it got the ball back with just over one minute left.

Smith, who completed four of 12 passes for 90 yards, hit Randy Rotruck for 19 yards and after two incompletions came out in an unusual set that caught the Fort Hill defense off guard and resulted in the 51-yard pass to Crites that almost saved the night.

Outstanding on defense for the Sentinels were Hess, Snyder and linebacker Todd Appel. Vissman, Smith, Harman, Parrill, Smith and Rick Dolly led the Keyser defense.

Keyser had 196 yards rushing to go with Smith's 90 yards through the air. Fort Hill had 184 yards on the ground with 156 of those in the first half. Brode completed no passes in eight attempts.


Fort Hill 7 6 0 0 --13
Keyser 0 7 0 0 --7
FH - Jim Furstenburg 16 run (Vince Lai kick)
K - Mike Smith 1 run (run failed)
FH - Jeff Brode 65 run (kick failed)