FP outlasts Pickford for date in state finals after Pickford thriller

PICKFORD—For the first time since 2009, Forest Park’s football team will play for a state championship this Saturday, Nov. 18. But this time, it will be a “home” game.
    The 9-2 Trojans take on 11-1 Portland St. Patrick at 2 p.m. Eastern Time (1 p.m. Central) for the eight-man Division 2 championship at the Superior Dome in Marquette. Whatever the weather outside, the players will have neutral conditions to decide the state title.
    The game is being streamed live on Fox Sports Detroit’s Facebook page. It will be shown on a same-day delay basis on Fox Sports Detroit starting at 10 p.m. Central Time that night.
    The Trojans won the right to play for the state title by defeating previously unbeaten Pickford 36-34 on the Panthers’ home field Nov. 10. The tension-packed, 48-minute battle was waged on a frozen, snowy field as temperatures fell into the teens.
    Again, Peter Ropiak and Connor Bortolini were the Trojans’ potent 1-2 punch at running back. Ropiak ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries; Botrolini gained 182 on 32 attempts. All told, the Trojans ran for 422 yards and finished with 532 total yars to Pickford’s 337.
    After the game, as loud rock music pumped through the nearby locker room, coach Dave Graff defrosted and reflected on his team’s achievement. “It’s been a few years since we’ve been there,” he said. “It’s just nice that we’re able to back one more time.”
    As he thawed, Graff talked about how his team closed out the game.