Trojans turn tables on Jets, advance

POWERS—A month ago, the Forest Park football team was soundly beaten at home by North Central. So when the two teams, winners of three eight-man state championships in the last three years, met again in the first round of this year’s playoffs, many observes felt that the Jets were clear favorites to advance into the second round.
    Heck, at least one Trojan player even admitted as much.
    “We were definitely the underdogs,” said junior quarterback Tommy Peltoma.
    But no matter. The defending Division 2 eight-man state champion Trojans certainly didn’t look the part of the underdog, and for the final three quarters were clearly the better team as Forest Park knocked off North Central 36-24 under a continuous cold rain in Powers.
    After falling behind 12-0 after the opening quarter, the Trojans (6-4) completely outplayed the team that had beaten them 52-28 on their homecoming in late September.
    “Whoa, look at the emotions,” FP coach Dave Graff said, gazing out on the field where his players were still celebrating 20 minutes after their victory. “It’s big to these guys. I mean, we snuck in the playoffs, but we keep getting better every week.
    “As a coaching staff, we keep pushing on these guys … but when you see something in them and then just to see it come out like this in a playoff game, you know, it means a lot.”
    As they often do, the Trojans simply wore down their opponent with their bruising running attack, supplemented at key moments with some play-action passes. Running behind a spirited and physical offensive line, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Peltoma took over the game, running for four touchdowns and three 2-point conversions and throwing for another to lead his team to victory.

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