Last season, Forestville's football team walked off the field at Byrd Stadium in College Park heartbroken after squandering a 12-point second-half lead to Oakland Mills in the Maryland 1A final.
Yesterday, at the same site, the Prince George's County school felt only elation. It scored two second-half touchdowns after a lightning delay to defeat Brunswick of Frederick County, 14-0, and capture the school's first state championship.
"This means everything," Forestville Coach Michael Mayo said. "Forestville has always been at the bottom of everything. No one thought we could do it. We accomplished what we set out to accomplish. Mission accomplished."
No. 13 Forestville (11-2) dominated, outgaining Brunswick 322-62 in total yardage and compiling 16 first downs to three for the Railroaders (10-3). But a steady rain, which turned into a swirling downpour toward the end of the first half, helped prevent the Knights from scoring. Forestville drove inside the Railroaders 35-yard line three times in the first half but was stopped on fourth down in each instance.
Lightning bolts lit the sky as halftime started, forcing a 1-hour 20-minute intermission.
"I thought it would have an effect on our play, but it helped the kids regroup," Mayo said. "They were able to adjust, come out and say, 'Let's take this to another level.' That's what we did."
Forestville got a break in the third quarter when Brunswick punter Mike Crim was tackled on the Railroaders 29 after he had difficulty handling the snap from center. Four plays later, junior running back Larry McClain ran through a gaping hole between the guard and tackle on a delayed handoff, and went untouched in racing 21 yards for a touchdown.
"Our line wanted it," said McClain, who rushed for 113 yards on 15 carries and finished the season with 1,336 yards. "It's the last big game. They opened it up for me. They know I can run with the rock, so that's all they had to do."
The Knights put the game away with an eight-play, 81-yard drive that culminated with reserve quarterback Pierre Hawkins's five-yard touchdown on a bootleg. Hawkins, who replaced Steve Crudup in the second half to provide more of a running attack, walked into the end zone after the defense bit on a fake.
"When I did the fake and it was so open, I just got this prickly feeling inside," Hawkins said. "It felt good all over. It just felt so good to score in the championship game."
Forestville's best scoring opportunity in the first half came on fourth and six from the Brunswick 23, but Crudup's deep fade pass to Derrell Parker in the right corner of the end zone was broken up by cornerback Steve Moss.
Forestville, which outgained Brunswick 137-57 in the first half, drove 51 yards in 11 plays over 5:34 to the Railroaders 30 late in the second quarter. But Crudup's deep pass down the right sideline on fourth and eight fell incomplete after Parker lost his footing on the drenched field.
Forestville Notes: Forestville allowed 78 points this season and outscored playoff opponents, 109-7, in three games.
CAPTION: Forestville running back Larry McClain, right, slips past Brunswick defenders. McClain gained 113 yards on 15 carries.