Turnovers doom Mariners

class 1a

November 29, 2008|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,Special to The Baltimore Sun

CUMBERLAND - Joppatowne has been on a roller-coaster ride in 2008. Last night, the season for the No. 9 Mariners came to a screeching halt.

Host Fort Hill took advantage of five second-half Joppatowne turnovers (three fumbles, two interceptions) to break open a scoreless game and defeat the Mariners, 28-0, in the Class 1A state semifinals. The Sentinels got a great game from running back Marcus Lashley, who rushed for 200 yards on 33 carries.

The Sentinels (11-1) advance to next Saturday's Class 1A state championship at M&T Bank Stadium, where they will face the winner of today's Dunbar-Catoctin semifinal.

"We had a couple of opportunities in the first half, and we just couldn't finish them," Mariners coach Bill Waibel said. "We had a streak of five games this year without a turnover. We just didn't take care of the ball tonight."

The second half started promisingly for the Mariners (9-4). On Fort Hill's third play, Chris Wright recovered a fumble at the Sentinels' 44-yard line. It took the Mariners three plays to give the ball back, when Epe Henriques - who had eight carries for 30 yards - fumbled at the Fort Hill 39-yard line. The Sentinels took advantage, using Lashley on seven straight runs to take a 6-0 lead when he scored from 3 yards out.

The Mariners got the ball back, and three plays later quarterback Ben Tucker was intercepted by Fort Hill's Andy Broadwater at the Sentinels' 42-yard line.

"I have this habit of throwing off my back foot," said Tucker, who was 7-for-18 for 120 yards and two interceptions. "We just had an off night."

Fort Hill chewed up even more of the clock (the Sentinels had an 8:28 to 3:22 advantage in time of possession in the third quarter) before quarterback Eric Howser scored from 10 yards out on the fourth play of the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 14-0.

The Mariners gave away their next possession on the third play when Henriques fumbled. Four plays later, Howser's second touchdown on a bootleg from the 16 stretched the lead to 21-0.

Fort Hill closed out the scoring with Dakota Welsh's touchdown from the 4 with 54 seconds left.

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