Unranked Cardinal Gibbons' 9-6 upset of top-ranked Poly on Friday was undoubtedly unexpected.
But was it really that surprising?
Maybe not, considering the Crusaders (1-1) pulled off a similar shocker in their second game last season when an unranked Gibbons team upset then-No. 4 City, 16-12. Gibbons had entered that game with a 12-game losing streak carried over from an 0-11 season in 1989.
"That was a big win, but I think [the win over Poly] is bigger," said Gibbons coach Frank Trcka, in his fourth season as the Crusaders' head coach. "City wasn't ranked No. 1 at the time."
Poly coach Augie Waibel said he wasn't surprised by Gibbons' performance, even though the Engineers had defeated the Crusaders by a combined score of 62-8 the past two seasons.
"Our kids didn't take them lightly," Waibel said. "I knew [Gibbons] would be ready to play."
Gibbons' Maurice Bruce preserved the win when he dragged down Poly split end Ian Smith 2 inches short of what would have been a 30-yard touchdown as time expired. Robby Holderfield's 40-yard field goal in the second quarter provided the winning margin.
"Actually, it would have been a shame for Gibbons if we had scored," Waibel said. "We really didn't deserve to win, making as many mistakes as we did. We had eight 15-yard penalties."
Records, streaks, milestones
* Second-ranked Wilde Lake and third-ranked Randallstown extended the area's longest winning streaks to 16 on Friday. Randallstown shut out Parkville, 21-0, and Wilde Lake rallied from a three-point halftime deficit to defeat Southern of Anne Arundel County, 27-15.
* Sparrows Point's 52-14 loss to Franklin on Friday extended the area's longest losing streak to 15.
* Archbishop Spalding's winless streak reached 23 after Saturday's 46-14 loss to Severn.
Believe it or not
Waibel couldn't help but notice the similarities between Poly's loss to Gibbons on Friday and the Engineers' loss to Gibbons in 1969, the last time the Crusaders had beaten the Engineers.
The score of the 1969 contest was also 9-6.
Mere chance? Perhaps.
Also, Waibel's top defensive player, linebacker Mike Arthur, was out with an injury that day. Derrick Odoms, Waibel's top defensive player this season, sat out Friday's game with an injured ligament in his elbow.
Waibel added that the loss to Gibbons ultimately cost Poly the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference championship.
A preview of things to come? Waibel hopes not.
"I know that history has a way of repeating itself," he said. "I hope this isn't 1969."
Learning to win
Although his team is 3-0 after a 3-7 finish last season, Howard coach John Quinn isn't getting too excited.
"Yeah, we're happy about the start, but if we sit back and celebrate we could be in for a long seven games," said Quinn, who is looking for his first winning season in his sixth year at Howard.
Quinn said he has had bigger and more talented teams at Howard, but this season's squad "looks for ways to win instead of ways to lose," something Quinn attributes to the winning attitude of a core of players up from a junior varsity that went 12-3-1 the past two seasons.
Howard's defense has been its strongest asset, allowing just six points in three games.
"We have been averaging about three takeaways per game," Quinn said. "Our defense has been putting points on the board and kept the other teams from scoring."
Havre de Grace, which defeated Poolesville, 27-14, on Friday, has surpassed last season's victory total and equaled its win total of the past two seasons. The Warriors (2-1) were a combined 2-17 in 1989 and 1990. Havre de Grace's lone win last season was a 12-10 triumph over Poolesville. . . . No. 14 Chesapeake of Baltimore County has scored 97 unanswered points in its past 9 quarters.