Fort Hill Eliminated By Linganore, 14-13
Mike Burke
Cumberland Times-News
November 21, 1987

LINGANORE, Md. - It would not be fair to say the Fort Hill Sentinels were blown out of the Maryland Class A state football playoffs Saturday. Yet, it might be accurate.

On one of the most miserable football days since the famous 1967 Ice Bowl played in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Linganore Lancers eliminated the Fort Hill Sentinels from the playoffs with a 14-13 semifinal win here in front of approximately 2,000 uncomfortable high school football fans.

The win puts the top-seeded Lancers at 11-1 and into the state championship game next week at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium. The loss leaves the fifth-seeded Sentinels with a 10-2 record and closes the books on another fine season of Fort Hill football - highlighted by City, CVAL, and Area championships.

When the Fort Hill players, coaches and fans reflect on this game in the days, weeks, months, and years to come, it will probably sting them more then than it did on Saturday. Simply put, it was too cold here Saturday for anybody to feel anything other than the wind-chill factor, which was estimated to be around zero.


The Yardstick
Fort Hill
First Downs Rushing
First Downs Passing
First Downs Penalty
Total First Downs
Passes Attempted
Passes Completed
Passes Intercepted By
Yards Passing
Net Yards Rushing
Total Offense


The fierce wind that blew from east to west across the football field may have helped Fort Hill in that Linganore was unable to put its explosive air attack into action. Yet even though the Sentinels were able to mount two touchdown drives on the ground with their powerful running game, despite the wind, the biting gale force turned out to play more of a negative role under the existing circumstances for the Sentinels than it did the Lancers.

For Fort Hill, this was a semifinal game that got away. This was a semifinal game that was blown away.

When Fort Hill kicker Steve Boggs lined up for his second extra point attempt with 8:33 left in the game, he was looking to put the Sentinels ahead of the Lancers 14-7. Quarterback Craig Schisler made a good hold and Boggs got a good foot into the ball. It was high enough and was headed right down the middle of the uprights. But just as the ball approached the goal post, the wind caught it and pushed it wide left. That held the score at Fort Hill 13 Linganore 7.

The Lancers had just been the victim of a punishing Fort Hill 57-yard scoring drive that saw fullback Eric Beal carry on 14 of the 18 plays including the one-yard touchdown run to break the 7-7 tie. The drive was set up by a beautiful 33-yard punt return by Chris Grapes and Fort Hill had indeed regained control of the game.

However unlikely the notion that Linganore was about to go belly-up after the drive, the Lancers still seemed to have their collective ego bruised because of the 9-minute, 30-second Sentinel scoring drive.

"It was very frustrating," commented Linganore coach Dave Carruthers about having his explosive offense stand on the sidelines for nearly 10 minutes of play. "You're standing there thinking, if a team can batter us around for 70 or 80 yards like this, they must be a better team."

"Fort Hill is a hell of a team because they went all that way without making a mistake. But when they missed that extra point, we said, we have life. We now have a chance to win this game. It's right there for us."

That the Lancers marched right down the field - 72 yards, on eight plays, in 4:22 - was not shocking. The fact that they got most of the yardage on the ground against Fort Hill was. Quarterback Jeff Grob hit flanker Chris Lukasiak on first down from his 28 for a 16-yard gain to put the ball at the 44. After a Travis Mathews gain of four, fullback Tommy Stann applied the backbreaker to the Sentinels with a 27-yard pickup along the left sideline.

Two plays later tailback Jeff DiBella picked up 14 more to take the ball to the 11. Three plays later, at the 4:02 mark, Mathews scored his second touchdown of the day, this one from two yards out. Keith Wells kick was perfect for the Lancers and they held the 14-13 edge.

"I did not think they could run on us like that," said Fort Hill coach Mike Calhoun. "We blew a couple of assignments and missed some tackles. I think that was pretty evident."

The winning touchdown drive was really the only time the Lancers were able to run on Fort Hill all day long. Prior to that drive, Fort Hill had held the Lancers in check, limiting them to one pass completion for six yards and 36 yards rushing on 19 carries.

In a scoreless tie, Fort Hill opened the second quarter at the Linganore 34-yard line, first-and-ten. The field position was set when another outstanding Joe Lindner punt (44 yards) pinned the Lancers to the six yard line. After a fruitless offensive series, Linganore punted into the wind and Fort Hill started off at the 34.

Basically Fort Hill ran tackle-to-tackle with C.G. Wilson and Beal doing the bulk of the work. A 12-yard end around by Jim Furstenberg put the ball on the six for Fort Hill, first-and-goal. Two plays later, from four yards out, Beal slashed off the left side for the first touchdown of the day. Boggs's kick at the 7:05 mark of the half made it 7-0.

Fort Hill had the momentum at this point, but Linganore had the wind. After the Lancers pushed the ball out from their 37 to the Fort Hill 47, Lancer punter Danny Lang pinned Fort Hill down to its eight. Schisler picked up four on first down and Beal hit the right side for three more on second. But on third down, on a cross-buck play, Fort Hill lost the ball to Linganore when the ball slipped off Wilson's hip on the exchange. Andy Kondisko recovered his second fumble of the day and Linganore had the ball on the 14.

It only took three plays for Mathews to bust over from the three for the touchdown and at 1:51 of the half. Wells' kick tied the score at seven.

The game was Fort Hill's to that point, but the Sentinels let it slip away. The game remained tied at seven until the consecutive scoring drives occured late in the fourth quarter.

After the Lancers went up 14-13, the Sentinels took over at their 43 with 3:48 to go. But they were snuffed out by two great defensive plays by Linganore's Steve Fitzgerald, which pushed the ball back to the 21. A Steve Cline interception then gave the Lancers the ball at their 42 with 1:26 left in the game. Grob was then able to run out the clock for the win.


Fort Hill 0 7 0 6 --13
Linganore 0 7 0 7 --14
FH - Eric Beal 4 run (Steve Boggs kick)
L - Travis Mathews 7 run (Keith Wells kick)
FH - Eric Beal 1 run (kick failed)
L - Travis Mathews 2 run (Keith Wells kick)