Anyone observing long-time Forestville High School football coach Charles Harley during the third quarter of their season finale against Potomac could see the proverbial fire burning within.
The Knights looked listless in the first half and didn’t score an offensive touchdown, trailing, 20-6 at intermission.
After the Knights tied the game late in the third quarter, Harley charged on to the field pumping his fists and frowning.
That momentum would sustain and the Knights storm into the playoffs after an emotional, 26-20, victory in overtime.
“For our kids to fight, fight, fight and then win a tight game, this is probably one of the top five moments [in my tenure],” Harley said as he walked off of the Wolverines field. “At halftime, my lineman said ‘Coach, let’s take this over,’ and for us to get into a heavy set against a bigger team and run it at them, that was huge.”
The Knights (8-2) clinched the second seed in the 1A North Region playoffs and should play host to Sparrows Point next week. The official schedule will be announced Sunday.
The Knights scored two touchdowns off short runs by senior quarterback Earon Settles in just under 6 minutes in the third quarter to tie Potomac, 20-20.
“Coach told us at halftime that we needed to wake up,” Settles said. “We started the game pretty dead and then in the third quarter, we played our best quarter of the year.”
Surviving four lost fumbles — five fumbles total — indicates the resolve Forestville had.
With the score still tied, the Knights held the Wolverines (5-5) out of the end zone even as Potomac stood at the Knights’ 10-yard line with 25.6 seconds remaining in the game.
In overtime, the Knights took the lead for good on a three-play, 10-yard drive capped by a 6-yard touchdown run from tailback Smith Merzeir (22 rushes, 113 yards).
Forestville’s defense then held the Wolverines to -1 yards on their lone overtime possession after quarterback Yusef Muhammed’s fourth down pass sailed high.
“I’m feeling fine,” Knights’ senior lineman Khalil Proctor said with a big smile across his face after the game. “A win like this is big and it helps us have faith in our coaches and have faith in our team.”
Meanwhile, the Wolverines saw a 20-6 halftime lead disappear.
“We grew up a little bit this year but we just didn’t finish and get it done,” Potomac coach Ronnie Crump said. “We have to figure out how to win these big games. We have a young group but that’s not an excuse. We have to believe in the end, we can win. One thing I can say is that we have a lot of guys coming back. We have to learn from this debacle, because that’s what it was.”
One of many of the Wolverines returning next year is sophomore Greg Ross Jr., who hopes to become one of the county’s elite defensive back in the future.
“In the second half, we had a few mistakes and the tempo went down,” Ross said. “In the first game of the season we played Suitland and we found out who we were. We have to learn from this year and come back next year ready to play.”
Forestville 26, Potomac 20 OT
Forestville 6 0 14 0 6—26
Potomac 8 12 0 0 0—20
Forestville - Fumble recovery
Potomac - Hall 36 pass from Muhammed (pass)
Potomac - Strong 45 run
Forestville - Settles 3 run (run)
Forestville - Settles 1 run
Forestville - Merzeir 6 run
Forestville: Earon Settles 14-16; Smith Merzeir 22-113; James Green 3-8; Marcel Joly 4-12; Reggie Smith Jr. 1-5
Potomac: Kesean Strong 27-87; Yusef Muhammed 6-1; Calil Wilkins 2-0;
Forestville: Earon Settles 5-9-4-0
Potomac: Yusef Muhammaed 9-18-122-0
Forstville: James Green 4-3; Omar Geronimo 1-1
Potomac: Kesean Strong 1-17; Andre Hall Jr. 3-88; Tyler Tobias 2-6; David Rose 2-15