In a back-and-forth contest that featured five lead changes, Gar-Field had the final say Friday.
With two minutes left in regulation, junior quarterback Bishop Fitzgerald connected with Jedaiah Dancy on a 31-yard touchdown pass. Xavier Coltrane converted a two-point conversion to give the host Indians the lead for good over Forest Park, 21-18.
With the victory, Gar-Field improves to 3-1 in the Cardinal District and 6-2 overall. The win also guarantees the Indians their first winning season since going 6-5 in 2010.
The Bruins (1-3, 2-6) had one last chance, but Gar-Field stopped them on a fourth-and-10 on their own 49-yard line with 31 seconds remaining to preserve the victory. Three of Forest Park’s six losses have come by seven points or less this season.
Gar-Field’s game-winning drive began on its own 5-yard line with 4:51 left in the game. Fitzgerald converted a 16-yard pass to Abdul Kaloko on a third and four that put the Indians at the Forest Park 31-yard line. One play later, Gar-Field scored.
Forest Park led 18-13 on Mathew Talbert’s 46-yard run with 11:15 remaining. The Bruins failed to convert on the ensuing two-point attempt.
On their previous drive, the Bruins had good field position to add points after the ball sailed over Gar-Field punter Jason Sorto’s head. Sorto fell on the loose ball, but was tackled by Forest Park. The mishap gave the Bruins a first and 10 at the Gar-Field 26. But a holding penalty moved the ball back and Forest Park ended up punting.
The Indians had a chance to score on the game’s opening drive. They had a third and goal from the 1, but were penalized for a chop block that moved the ball back to the 16. Forest Park stopped Gar-Field on the next two plays and took over on downs.
Forest Park scored the game’s first touchdown on Devin Hines’ 30-yard run at 2:12 of the first quarter. Gar-Field blocked the extra point.
Gar-Field came back and took a 7-6 lead on Coltrane’s 8-yard run and Sorto’s extra point.
In the third quarter, Jerrod Woods ran for 25 yards by carrying two Gar-Field defenders on his back into the end zone. The Bruins missed another extra point and led 12-7. Fitzgerald’s 7-yard run to start the fourth gave Gar-Field back the lead.
Coltrane finished the game with 164 rushing yards on 30 carries. Fitzgerald threw for 91 yards.