No. 2-ranked Polytechnic High completed its 1990 season with a 27-0 victory over No. 19 City yesterday before an estimated 7,000 at Memorial Stadium in the 102nd meeting of the two schools. The win came in the same way it had all year: too much defense and just enough Albert Tyler.
Poly's defense limited City to 75 yards of total offense and Tyler, who played backup to standout Chris Lafferman last year but never escaped his shadow this year, directed the vastly improved Poly offense to four touchdowns.
After being shut out by Loyola in its only loss of the season, Poly scored 140 points in its last five games.
Yesterday, Tyler was poised, accurate and finally recognized. The 5-foot-10, 162-pound senior completed seven of 15 passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried four times for 45 yards and a touchdown and two first downs.
"He's probably the best quarterback in town," said Poly coach Augie Waibel. "I'd put him up against anybody. He just hasn't gotten the recognition I think he deserves. He doesn't have the strength to throw as deep as Lafferman, but he has the touch to put the ball where you need it."
Tyler has been on the spot since replacing Lafferman, who completed nearly 80 percent of his passes for more than 1,000 yards last season, adding some excitement to Poly's traditional run-oriented offense.
Tyler hasn't had Lafferman's numbers, but he has been a steady performer all season for the Engineers (9-1, 7-1), who gained a tie with Gilman for the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference title with yesterday's victory. The win also extended Poly's lead in the series against City to 50-46-3.
"I just try to do my own thing and not follow in anybody's shoes," said Tyler, who led the Poly junior varsity to a 10-0 record two years ago.
Tyler got good blocking from his offensive line, and versatile running back Frank Johnson made the big plays. Johnson had 92 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, and caught three passes for 41 yards and a touchdown.
The Poly defense recorded its fifth shutout and finished the season having allowed just 29 points, six in the final five games.
"Five shutouts in 10 games. To do that you have to be pretty good," said Waibel, whose teams have won or shared six of the last 11 A Conference titles.
Middle guard Jelani Rucker, linebacker Chris Robertson and defensive back Antwain Smith, who had two interceptions, were standouts.
"We wanted to be ready for anything because nothing really worked for them [City] all season," said Smith, who finished the season with five interceptions.
Poly stifled City's biggest offensive threat, running back David Rodgers. Rodgers, who came in with 985 yards rushing, was held to 41 yards on 12 carries.
"I thought we'd be able to do more," said City coach George Petrides, whose team finished 5-5 overall and 3-5 in the league, its worst finish since returning to the A Conference three years ago. "I thought our offensive line would be able to control their defensive line. . . . It was their quickness and they outsmarted us a couple of times."
Poly scored on its first possession, thanks to big pass plays from Tyler, who completed a 19-yard pass to Johnson on first down from the City 45. Three plays later, he hit Johnson from 12 yards to give the Engineers a 6-0 lead with 8 minutes, 41 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Engineers got their next score 21 seconds into the second period when Johnson capped a nine-play, 62-yard drive with a 1-yard run. That made it and 12-0, and it remained that way at halftime. Poly out-gained City, 179-35, in the first half.