Photo by Dennis Thomas
Forest Park quarterback Irvin Balfour (No. 4) can’t elude the grasp of a Morrow defender in the Mustangs’ 12-6 win Friday at Tara Stadium.
JONESBORO — In arguably the most anticipated game of the year for both teams, Morrow ended an 11-game losing streak with a 12-6 victory over Forest Park Friday at Tara Stadium.
The clash of programs with a recent history of losing likely represented each team’s best chance at picking up a win all season. Until Friday, the most recent win for Morrow (1-1) had come against Forest Park on Nov. 5, 2010, a 14-0 victory, also at Tara.
Forest Park (0-2), has lost 15 of 16 with its only win in that stretch coming against Morrow.
“It feels good to see them with a smile on their face and seeing us being the ones to celebrate on our own field,” said Morrow head coach Leroy Foster. “It really shows we’re coming together.”
Mustangs quarterback Courtney Heard had a masterful game, accounting for 240 yards of total offense. His 1-yard sneak for a touchdown with 1:19 to play accounted for the deciding points of the game.
“Courtney managed the game well, did what he needed to do and moved the ball like we wanted to,” Foster said. “He’s young and we got a lot of years with him.”
Morrow looked as if it was about to break a 6-6 tie with 7:03 left in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers’ Derrion Dawson picked off a Heard pass pass at the Forest Park 5-yard line.
Morrow started the game out in similar fashion, driving into Forest Park territory on its first three possessions before turning the ball over twice, including a fumble on a fourth and goal from the Forest Park 2-yard line.
Finally, Morrow broke through with 4:40 left in the second quarter. Heard connected with Sterling Taylor for a 26-yard touchdown strike and a 6-0 lead. Heard finished the game 11 of 16 for 160 yards in the air and Taylor caught seven of those for 101 yards for the Mustangs.
“Hopefully, this can send us up the charts and get us where we need to be, becuase they’re so used to losing,” Foster said.
Forest Park will have to wait two weeks before for its next chance at getting a victory. The Panthers are idle next week.
“It hurts, but we’re okay. We’re still 0-0 in our subregion,” said Forest Park head coach Don Williams. “That was a game played for pride right there and we’ll be ready to play them again next year.”
DeJuan Simms finished the game with 17 carries for 96 yards for Forest Park, scoring the Panthers’ only touchdown on 2-yard run in the third quarter. Forest Park will host Creekside on Sept. 21.
Morrow will look to make it two in a row on Friday when it visits Locust Grove.
— James Butler, Special to the Daily