With its spot just beyond the state Class 2A football playoff picture, Dunbar knew that it could control its destiny if it won the remaining games on its schedule.
It didn't matter yesterday against Forest Park.
The Foresters, who gave No. 1 City its closest game of the season before losing, 16-15, got a couple of breaks and a dominating performance from their defensive line to upset the host and No. 11 Poets, 20-12, in a Baltimore City 2A League game.
The Poets (5-2, 1-1), who have 7.20 points playing in Region East, were trailing Chesapeake-BC (7.55) for the fourth and final playoff spot. The four regional champions and the next four teams with the best averages qualify.
Dunbar still has a shot at a spot but will have to win all its remaining games and get help from other teams.
There probably won't be a state playoff berth for Forest Park (4-3, 2-0), whose other losses were to No. 3 Gilman (21-0) and last season's Class 1A runner-up, Cambridge-South Dorchester (12-0), but the victory was worth the championship of the three-team 2A league.
"It was a tough game," said senior running back Robert Arthur. "Dunbar got up on us in the beginning, but we are a tough team. We're not going to let nobody beat down on us or lay down for nobody. In the second half, we just came and beat up on them."
Arthur, who rushed for 158 yards on 19 carries, displayed great concentration on a 71-yard touchdown pass from Newman Thompson (five of 12, 108 yards), which was tipped by Poets safety Sean Lipscomb at around the 30-yard line. Arthur grabbed it and ran untouched into the end zone. It was the final play of the third quarter and gave the Foresters their margin of victory.
The Foresters set tone for the second half on the first play. Danaz Williams picked up a fumble by Dunbar quarterback Rodney Elliott, who had been blitzed by Williams and Lionel Yewitt. Williams returned the fumble to the 1. Thompson went up the middle for the touchdown, and Foster's conversion gave Forest Park its first lead at 14-12.
On Dunbar's next possession, it netted minus-1 yard in four plays before punting. In 29 offensive plays in the second half, the Poets were limited to 45 yards and spent the entire half avoiding Forest Park defenders -- who were giving up nearly 40 pounds to Dunbar's offensive front -- in the backfield.
"Forest Park just had a good day today," said Elliott, who completed one of nine passes for 8 yards in the second half. "Their pass rush was pretty good today, and they caught us on our bad side."