Oakland Mills rallies to win first state title Scorpions score last 15 to top Forestville, 15-12

November 28, 1998|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Eight unsuccessful playoff appearances were enough for Oakland Mills.

The Scorpions won their first state championship yesterday at Byrd Stadium, stinging Forestville of Prince George's County for the Class 1A title, 15-12.

The No. 13 Scorpions (12-1) completed their winningest season in their typical style -- a combination of smash-mouth defense, potent passing, hard-nosed running and a penchant for never giving up.

They did it with their third safety in four games, and a sensational fourth- quarter goal-line stand. And they won their sixth game this season by a touchdown or less.

Oakland Mills trailed, 12-0, with 6: 33 left in the third quarter, after back-to-back plays by Forestville (9-3) that would have demoralized most teams.

"We've come from behind so often this year that we knew we could do it again," said quarterback T. J. Welsh, who completed 17 of 25 for 193 yards, bringing his season total to 1,943 yards.

A Scorpions drive to Forestville's 10-yard line ended in bitter disappointment with Benjamin Carter's interception and 37-yard VTC return, the Knights' 20th interception. Then on first down, speedster Gary Morgan (12 carries, 95 yards) ran 58 yards to score, giving Forestville a 12-0 lead.

"I was yelling and screaming, 'we're Oakland Mills and we don't fall down and roll over. We never quit,' " said Scorpions wide receiver Tom Browne, Oakland Mills' main passing target all season. He caught five passes for 73 yards.

"Never in a million years did I dream of a season like this," said Browne, playing only his second year of organized football. "It'll never sink in."

His third-down catches of 16 and 23 yards kept alive Oakland Mills' first touchdown drive of 75 yards. Then Welsh looked for Browne on the out pass again on first down at the Forestville 30. Instead, he found an unfamiliar target, Julian Barfield.

"The safety went with Browne and I caught him [Barfield] out of the corner of my eye cutting across the middle," Welsh said. Barfield was tackled at the 1-yard line. But Welsh dove over on the next play. Ryan Conville's kick made it 12-7 with 11: 58 left in the game. The comeback was on.

An Oakland Mills pass rush led by Nick Fambro, Lance Adams and Bryan Schmitt sacked quarterback Deangelo Bullock in the end zone for a safety, making it 12-9.

Oakland Mills then drove 72 yards to score again. Runs of 14 and 13 yards by Vinnie Rubbo, the team's all-time single-season rushing leader who was injured most of this season, sparked that drive. Browne also caught a 15-yard pass and Joey Ellis (111 yards rushing on nine carries) had a 13-yard reception.

Rubbo, who rushed nine times for 89 yards, fittingly scored the game-winning touchdown on a 2-yard run. The kick was blocked, leaving Forestville a chance to tie with a field goal.

Following a 46-yard kickoff return by Morgan, who had returned two kickoffs for touchdowns this season, the Knights drove to the Oakland Mills 5 on a 29-yard pass to Derrell Parker.

The Knights, who had outscored their opponents by 213 points, had rallied to win their past two playoff games. But Oakland Mills held on four runs, took possession at the 5 with about four minutes to play and ran out the clock on a drive to Forestville's 17.

"They had blocked an extra point already, so we weren't comfortable with a field goal," said Forestville coach Michael Mayo about his decision to run on fourth down. "It was open inside, but our runner decided to bounce outside. They [Oakland Mills] played some good 'D' and we wore down."

Pub Date: 11/28/98

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