Warriors facing big challenge against Fort Hill

Sherando quarterback Hunter Entsminger scrambles for yardage as Washington's Jace Bradbury takes chase during their game on Sept. 9. Sherando plays at Fort Hill tonight. Rich Cooley/Daily file

STEPHENS CITY – Sherando has taken on one top-notch opponent after another this season, and tonight’s 8 p.m. contest at Fort Hill in Cumberland, Maryland, will be more of the same.

The Warriors (4-3) will be trying to snap the Sentinels’ 18-game winning streak.

Sherando coach Bill Hall said he expects another very hard-fought game.

“They’re a good football team as always,” Hall said. “A team that executes at a high level, plays with a lot of heart, a rich tradition. I think they’re similar to us. You can tell their kids believe in what they’re doing. They play really hard. They execute at a very high level. It will be about how you compete, how you respond to adversity, how you execute. It will be an execution battle. Who can execute better and make plays in critical situations.”

The two teams met last year for the first time, and Fort Hill rallied for a 23-14 victory.

Fort Hill (7-0) has won three consecutive state titles in Maryland. The Sentinels run out of the wing-t formation.

Their running game is led by Brayden Brown, Jadon Hoover and J.T. Stevenson. Hall said they are a very traditional wing-t team.

“They do all the wing-t stuff. You don’t see a lot of schools doing all the things that they do wing-t wise,” Hall said. “They execute at a high level, and that’s a reason why they’ve been really successful. They don’t change from week-to-week based off of who they’re playing. They do what they do and they execute it very well, which is a credit to them and their coaches.”

Hall said they mostly like to run, but quarterback Nathaniel Graves can pass if he needs to.

“That’s the thing about the wing-t is, whatever weaknesses you’re showing based off alignment or however you’re playing it, they’ll attack off of that,” Hall said. “They do a good job. They don’t live by the pass, but if you’re not playing honest with it they have a quarterback that is a really good football player. He’s just a gamer.”

The Sentinels are averaging 53.9 points per game.

“They’re pretty fast and physical. They like to execute,” Sherando junior Aaron Banks said. “But if we do our job, then we should be fine.”

The Warriors are coming off one of their best offensive games, having scored 56 points in a victory over Handley.

“Fort Hill they’re a good team, but we’ve played a lot of good teams this year,” Sherando senior Dylan Rivers said. “I expect us to go out and compete like we did when we played against Martinsburg. If we do that then I think the outcome’s going to be in our favor.”

The Warriors are only allowing 16.7 points per game, while scoring 40.7 per contest. Sherando has had good balance with the pass and the run. The Warriors have 1,014 passing yards and 1,620 rushing yards.

Rivers said the play of the offensive line has helped the team have success.

“I thought at the beginning of the season our line was going to be our strongest aspect of the team, but they didn’t perform well the first couple games,” Rivers said. “They’ve just picked it up. Against Handley we had positive gains on almost every single run. So it was nice seeing that. Every team likes a strong athletic line.”

Sherando started the season off 1-3, losing to three quality opponents. The three teams that beat Sherando, Louisa, Martinsburg and Eastern View, have a combined record of 21-1.

Rivers said those losses helped make the Warriors better.

“It’s always nice playing good teams first, because you get so ready for that season,” Rivers said. “You know what to expect. You know how to overcome adversity.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com.