Fort Cherry Comes Up Short in State Title Game

Tagged under: District 7, Gameday Hub, News, Playoffs

Phil Myers | December 7, 2023

The Fort Cherry Rangers’ fairy tale season came to an end on a sour note as they were defeated by the Steelton-Highspire Steamrollers 42-8 at The Chap, the home field of Cumberland Valley High School.  It was Fort Cherry’s very first state championship game appearance.

Fort Cherry could not get anything going offensively until late in the game when Matt Sieg scored their only touchdown.  Defensively, Steel High took advantage of Fort Cherry’s youth and was able to move the ball effectively throughout the game, mainly with passes.  Of course, it didn’t help the Ranger cause facing Steelton’s quarterback, Alex Erby, who is the all-time leading passer in PA history.

Fort Cherry’s head coach, Tanner Garry said this after the game, “I knew some things had to go our way in the early beginning.  This (Steelton-Highspire) is the first team I felt was complete on defense front to back.  Defensively we knew they were going to be good, but we just didn’t play our best football today.  We have been pretty stout all year in stopping the run, and I think you know we don’t have the experience on the backside, the kids still played well, they fought, they battled, but the young part of our team is some of the skill players.”


Erby picked apart the Ranger secondary by completing 28 of 37 passes for 335 yards and five touchdowns.  He also ran 37 yards to score the Rollers’ other touchdown.  Steel High drove 59 yards on the first possession of the game to go up 7-0, forced Fort Cherry to punt, and scored again to lead 14-0 after the first quarter.  The Rollers tacked on three more TDs in the second quarter to ice the game and win back-to-back titles, their fifth overall and third in four years.

Although Fort Cherry only had 180 total yards, they had the ball a few times in Steel High territory, but couldn’t pu the ball into the end zone until Matt Sieg’s one-yard run with less than two minutes to play.  That capped a 71-yard drive that was highlighted by Sieg’s 61-yard run to the Roller four.  Sieg ended the day rushing 30 times for 153 yards, but struggled passing.  He was only 4 of 12 for 21 yards and a couple of interceptions.


Coach Garry basically said Steel High has no weaknesses offensively.  “They are balanced, they’re also a team that runs the ball well so you can’t sell out and try to stop the pass. They’re here for a reason.  But again, I don’t think we played our best football.  We made mistakes we haven’t made all year,” he stated.  But that happens many times when teams play really good football teams.

Fort Cherry was well represented as many fans and supporters came from McDonald to cheer on the Rangers.  “The Community has gotten so behind us.  It’s something we needed,” stated Coach Garry.

Game Highlights:


Score by Quarters:

Fort Cherry – 0 0 0 8 – 8

Steelton-Highspire – 14 20 8 0 – 42

Scoring Summary:

First Quarter:

SH – Jaeion Perry 5-yard pass from Alex Erby, (Judah Hernandez PAT), 8:23

SH – Nazier Fuller 17-yard pass from Erby, (Hernandez PAT), 5:09

Second Quarter:

SH – Erby 37-yard run, (Hernandez PAT), 6:53

SH – Fuller 77-yard pass from Erby, (Hernandez PAT), 4:31

SH – Durrell Ceasar, Jr. 32-yard pass from Erby, (PAT No Good), 3:25

Third Quarter:

SH – Taevon Legrande 3-yard pass from Erby, (Perry 2-pt. conversion), 6:44

Fourth Quarter:

FC – Matt Sieg 1-yard run, (Shane Cornali 2-pt. conversion), 1:47

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