Forest Park quarterback Travis Fonseca made the big offensive play in Friday's Baltimore City Division II football showdown against Lake Clifton, but he had a lot more to say about his team's defense.
The host Foresters got a strong defensive effort all game, especially from their line. With about a minute to play, Sean Patterson forced a Lakers fumble that Patrick Makell recovered, preserving a 6-0 win on Homecoming Day that gave the Foresters the division title and an unbeaten regular season.
"Our defense kept us in there, and that fumble made everything miraculous," Fonseca said. "It's a memorable moment, and there's nothing else you can say about it."
The Foresters improved from 2-8 a year ago to 9-0 this fall and 8-0 in the division. Fonseca, who threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Arraheem Dedmon in the first quarter, said his team has one key to the turnaround season.
"This win just shows everybody what the real Forest Park is," Fonseca said. "We all came together for this season. We said we were going to do it, and we did it. We wouldn't be nothing without each other. We did it as a team. That's what we're about."
The game started with plenty of stingy defense on both sides of the ball. Both teams struggled to move the ball on the ground, and Fonseca passed just once before he launched the long ball to Dedmon, who got out in front of two Lakers defenders and raced down the left sideline into the end zone.
The Lakers (7-3, 6-2) could have forced a tie for the division title, but they turned the ball over three times and piled up a lot of penalty yardage in the first half. Still, they were in the game until the end.
After the Foresters turned the ball over on downs with a little more than four minutes left in the game, the Lakers steadily marched 31 yards to the Foresters' 4-yard line. Ernest Dixon took the handoff from Lakers quarterback Dewayne Washington and headed up the middle, where he ran into a crowd of Forest Park defenders. Patterson stripped Dixon of the ball, and Makell recovered it on the 6-yard line.
"My teammate Sean stripped him, and when he stripped him all I saw was the ball, and there wasn't nobody around it but just me, so I just covered it and smothered it with all the strength that I had so we could seal the win," Makell said.
Lake Clifton coach James Monroe said the defensive struggle is how a championship game should be played.
"We had control of the game all through the second half, and all we needed was a touchdown to tie it up and go into overtime or to just go ahead and win it," Monroe said.
"We gave Forest Park all we wanted to. Except for that blown coverage, we'd still be playing in overtime. Our defense really came to play."
LC 0 0 0 0 - 0 FP 6 0 0 0 - 6
FP-Dedmon 75 pass from Fonseca (kick failed)