Most of the credit for Forest Park's success this season has gone to running back Obie Barnes Jr., but the defense has also been a solid factor. Yesterday, it carried the No. 6 Foresters to a 12-0 victory over host and No. 12 City in a Maryland Scholastic A Conference game.
Forest Park (6-1, 4-1) limited the Knights (3-3, 1-3) to 105 total yards, and the victory helped the Foresters move into a three-way tie for first with Gilman and Loyola.
The Foresters have not allowed a rushing touchdown in their seven games and have given up only 42 points.
"We have come together as a unit," said defensive tackle Josh Austin, who at 6 feet 3 and 275 pounds leads a defensive line that averages 6-3, 280. "With their speedy running backs, I didn't expect us to shut their ground game down."
Austin leads the Forest Park defense with 10 tackles and seven assists, along with Antoine Burrell (10 tackles), Dwayne Green (six tackles, six assists), and Shawn Green (five tackles, nine assists).
Green, who transferred from City two years ago, also played a key role at quarterback, setting up the Foresters' first score with a 5-yard run on third down, and scoring their other touchdown.
"Playing under them [City coach George Petrides and assistant coach Warren Schwartz] I learned a great deal," said Green, a senior. "They are excellent coaches, and it was going to take a great game plan to beat them, and coach [Obie Sr.] Barnes came through."
City's defense played well also, holding Barnes, the area's second-leading rusher, to 89 yards and stopping a pair of drives that had reached the 8- and 4-yard lines, respectively.
But the Knights' offense wasn't able to cash in early from the Forest Park 2, and fumbled a punt return midway through the fourth quarter, which led to the Foresters' other touchdown.
City's Hari Lymon fumbled the punt and Forest Park recovered at the Knights' 15. On fourth-and-7 from the 12, backup quarterback Wayne Cooper hit Eric Blazemore at the 1, and Dwayne Green went in for the score two plays later.
"We were right there, but we didn't take advantage of the opportunities," said Petrides. "All the credit goes to their defensive line. They beat us at the line of scrimmage."
Forest Park went 60 yards in nine plays for the game's first score, as Barnes completed the drive on an 8-yard run with 5 minutes, 3 seconds remaining in the first quarter.