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Quiet Forshee Lets Tackling Do Talking

Lancaster High linebacker returns from one-year hiatus to lead Eagles with his actions.

October 30, 1998|DAVE DESMOND | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

LANCASTER — The football coaches at Lancaster High were poring over game film recently when they discovered something they'd never seen:

Donald Forshee, their senior linebacker, showing emotion.

It wasn't exactly a break dance in the end zone, but for a guy who would make Lurch of the Addams Family appear charismatic, it might as well have been.

After a game-ending tackle against defending Golden League champion Palmdale, Forshee pumped his fist in the air.

The coaches rewound the tape and played it again.

"He just raised his fist, put it down and that was the end of it," said Bill Wilson, the Eagles' defensive coordinator. "It was amazing because he's such an unassuming guy. All season, I don't think he has said 10 words."

Said Coach Ray DeShane: "I've known him for four years and I don't think we've spoken more than a paragraph."

Forshee has a perfect explanation for his quiet demeanor.

"I don't get into long conversations with anyone," he said. "I guess I just don't have much to say."

But his performances have spoken volumes.

Forshee, 6 feet 4 inches and 205 pounds, is averaging more than 13 tackles per game and has 7 1/2 sacks, both team highs, for a Lancaster defense that is allowing only 170.7 yards and 8.5 points per game.

He had seven tackles for losses in a 24-7 victory over Palmdale on Oct. 16.

"It's hard when you have someone in your backfield, disrupting everything you're trying to do," Palmdale Coach Jeff Williams said. "He seemed to find his way back there all night long."

At Lancaster, defensive statistics are logged on a large chart in the locker room. Players receive stars next to their names for each tackle. "I've twice had to expand the chart just because of Donald," Wilson said.

Soon, the Eagles may have to expand their trophy case.

Lancaster (6-1, 2-0 in league play), ranked No. 5 in the region by The Times, hosts No. 7 Littlerock (7-0, 2-0) tonight in a game that most likely will determine the Golden League championship.

This is Lancaster's fourth season of football and only its second at the varsity level.

Forshee, a member of the school's first senior class, led the Eagles in tackles as a freshman and sophomore, seasons in which the teams were a combined 19-1.

But he sat out last season to work with his father. "I missed football a lot," Forshee said. "I kind of regret that decision."

So did Lancaster, which went 3-6-1, 0-4-1 without Forshee, who played only golf and junior varsity basketball in the 11th grade.

"Obviously, we were glad to have him back," DeShane said. "But we weren't sure how he was going to do. All we had to go on was what he had done as a sophomore and freshman."

While he was away, teammates were beefing up in the weight room and impressing scouts at combines. Forshee, who is not being recruited by major colleges, is hoping to catch someone's eye this season.

If not their ear.

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