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Forbes exhibits skills and dignity

EMILY NIPPS, MIKE READLING
Published October 15, 2003

As impressive as John Forbes is on the field - breaking tackles for long gains and outrunning defenders like they are standing still - nothing compares with what the Alonso running back is like off the field.

Take Friday night for example.

The Ravens had just lost their first game of the season, 10-7 to Robinson. Forbes, the county's leading rusher, finished with 179 yards on 35 carries and scored Alonso's only touchdown on a rough-and-tumble 29-yard run during which he shed three tacklers in the open field.

Instead of pouting over the loss, Forbes approached Robinson coach Mike DePue, complimented him on his defense and thanked him for the chance to play against a squad as tough as the Knights. He then shook DePue's hand and headed to the locker room, stopping along the way to congratulate Robinson receiver Amando Murillo.

"He is one class individual," DePue said. "We knew he could run well, but that kid is all class."

Forbes continues to lead the county with 1,154 yards rushing, an average of just more than 192 per game. He is the only rusher over 1,000 yards with what will likely be the toughest defense he will face this season - Armwood - scheduled Thursday night.

The Hawks have the second-ranked defense in the county (Alonso is No. 1) and have allowed 340 yards on the ground all season. That's roughly a game and a half worth for Forbes, who has gained more than 200 three times this year.

IN THE WIN COLUMN: There are four winless teams in the Times' five-county coverage area. And thanks to Freedom's victory Friday, only one is in Hillsborough County.

And no disrespect to 0-6 Ridgewood and Lakewood or 0-5 Boca Ciega, but that team, Newsome, is a new school that didn't even get its jerseys until just before its first game.

Freedom's 13-12 victory against Leto was not only the Patriots' first victory this season, it was the first in the school's two-year history. Freedom played a limited schedule last year but lost all five games.

Newsome, on the other hand, put up its best offensive game Friday against North Port but still ended up losing. The Wolves scored a season-high 32 and quarterback Tim Martin had 223 yards passing. Newsome is off this week but has three more chances to chalk up a win this year, including the season finale at Bloomingdale.

LOT OF POINTS: It may appear Armwood has been running up the score the past two games, winning 72-0 and 64-0. But a closer look reveals coach Sean Callahan has done what he can to hold the scores down.

Starters Jameel Williams, Kalvin Bailey and Demetrius McCray have been on the bench all of the second half and Callahan said he requested a running clock Friday against King when the Hawks led 44-0 at the half.

The effects of being up by so much so early is that players such as Bailey, Williams and McCray don't get to play as much as they normally would, something that is reflected in the stats at the end of the game.

Against King, Bailey, who came in averaging 15 carries and almost 122 yards a game, touched the ball five times. McCray had one carry (for 80 yards) and Williams carried the ball five times before taking a seat. Bailey and McCray did, however, score three times on their six touches.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: From Warren Sapp to the Lakeland Dreadnaughts.

Riverview coach Dan O'Regan took exception to Lakeland's habit of running the perimeter of the field, including up their opponents' sideline, before their pregame stretching routine. The route often puts players from both teams a few feet apart and is considered by many to be a form of taunting.

"They're kids and their emotions get the best of them. It's pretty bush league in my opinion," O'Regan said.

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