Forest Park defensive lineman Dominic Boyd probably best summed up his team's 26-0 victory over Carver yesterday.
"As far as we're concerned, this is the beginning of the season," said Boyd. "We're 1-0, looking to finish 4-0."
The Foresters (4-3) remained in contention for the state 2A East region title with the win over Carver (4-3), which saw its state 3A postseason hopes dealt a blow.
Forest Park (6.13 avg.) is in first place, followed by Parkside of Wicomico County (4-2, 5.66), which plays North Caroline this afternoon and No. 9 City (4-2, 4.88), which play at Calvert Hall today at 1 p.m. The four region winners plus the next four teams with the best averages qualify.
If the Foresters fail to make the playoffs, they may point to consecutive losses to City and Poly in the closing moments.
With a 6-0 halftime lead yesterday in a lackluster first-half performance, despite outgaining the Bears, 124-16, Forest Park dominated the final 24 minutes, finishing with a 277-37 yard margin.
On their opening possession, Forest Park went 80 yards in nine plays, capped by a 7-yard run by Sharif Small (11 carries, 82 yards) with 4:57 left in the third quarter.
The Foresters' defense, which held Carver to one first down in the second half, scored as linebacker Danaz Williams (12 tackles) picked off a pass in the flat from Carver's Andre Moore and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown, extending the lead to 20-0 with 9:43 remaining in the third.
"Carver was predictable, passing the ball into the flats," said Forest Park coach Obie Barnes, whose team lost to St. Elizabeth's of Delaware, 34-14, last weekend. "We just had someone there to read the quarterback for the entire game."
Moore, who entered the game with 565 passing yards (12th best in area), only had 24. The Bears didn't help their cause, turning the ball over four times.
"We just had poor execution on both of the sides of the ball," said Carver coach Ron Frierson. "We didn't play hard at all. We're a much better team than we showed."
The Bears' second turnover, a bad snap on punt that led to an incomplete pass, led to the Foresters' first score as Small bounced off right tackle and went around untouched with 2:13 left in the first half. Forest Park, which had three fumbles in the first half, missed a scoring opportunity as Calvin Thurmond dropped a pass while wide open in the end zone.