CUMBERLAND, Md. — As Morgantown junior Preston Fox reflected on Friday night’s battle with Fort Hill inside Greenway Avenue Stadium, it didn’t take him long to describe his opponent’s playing style.
“They hit hard,” he said. “They laid it on us very hard.”
Few words could more accurately describe the action in Cumberland as the Mohigans (1-2) were, despite a size and numbers advantage, physically dominated as they fell 16-7 to the Sentinels with the help of three Danny King field goals.
“They dominated us. They were technicians,” Morgantown coach Matt Lacy said. “They kicked us out, and they ran straight up the field at us all night.”
The Sentinels outgained the Mohigans 421-261 in total yardage, with 410 coming on the ground behind a 200-yard performance from Carter Swann. Morgantown seemed defeated in the trenches, unable to gain control of the line of scrimmage for more than brief moments.
“It was a dogfight. They kept knocking us down, but we had to get back up and keep fighting,” said junior Mohigan lineman Marcellus Marshall.
Fox said it was a lack of attention to the task at hand that contributed to the defeat.
“We need to focus – we need to focus way more. We messed around on the bus on the way, and that’s not us,” Fox said. “We need to focus more, get our mentality right, and be ready to fight back.”
Despite the physical overload, Morgantown still found themselves either in the lead or within a touchdown of it until the last two minutes of the game. But a number of costly mistakes – among them a Fox fumble on a 50-yard catch, a redzone turnover, and a turnover on downs on the Fort Hill one-yard line – that helped put away any shot at a victory.
“That’s on me as a coach. I take the blame on that,” Lacy said. “We have some talent, but we’re not good enough technician wise. We have to get better at technique and securing the little things.”
Despite the negatives, Lacy finds solace in competing neck-and-neck with a team seeking it’s sixth straight state championship game appearance in a loaded Maryland Class 1A.
“The schedule we’ve played — we’re definitely going to be battled tested moving forward, there is no doubt about that,” Lacy said. “We just need to get a good look in the mirror, regroup, and focus on what we need to do to be successful at Morgantown High.
“We’re realistically ten plays away from being 3-0. “But we’re not. We’re 1-2, and we have to do a little bit of a gut check.”
Sophomore quarterback Cam Rice led the Mohigans both through the air and on the ground, recording 124 passing yards and a touchdown and 70 rushing yards. Fox led Morgantown in receiving, hauling in four catches for 105 yards and a touchdown.
The Mohigans will play the final of a three-game road stretch next Friday at Brooke for a 7 p.m. kickoff.