City College football coach George Petrides was singing the praises of tailback Hari Lymon long before the top-ranked
Knights' pivotal showdown with No. 4 Loyola yesterday.
Therefore, it is only fitting that Petrides take the lead for the chorus of accolades being heaped upon Lymon after he ran 30 times for 190 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns in host City's 12-6 victory before a crowd estimated at 2,800.
"He's the most underrated back in the MSA, and we think he's the best one," said Petrides, whose team clinched at least a tie for first place in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference. The Knights (9-0, 8-0) have just one league game remaining, against No. 15 Poly on Thanksgiving, after No. 6 Calvert Hall's game with Loyola (7-2-1, 7-1) at Memorial Stadium.
For three quarters, Loyola contained City and kept the Knights from getting the big plays. City finally put it together with a 10-play, 72-yard drive that started late in the third quarter and culminated with 8:58 left in the game on a 3-yard run to the left corner of the end zone by Lymon on an option play.
On that drive, Lymon had seven carries for 38 yards and also caught a pass from quarterback Terrence Suber for 16 yards.
Lymon's second score took a lot less work. After linebacker Charles Ransom intercepted a pass and returned it 51 yards to the Loyola 4, Lymon spurted up the middle for the score on first down.
"I didn't think I would be a big factor today," said Lymon, who entered yesterday's game with 733 yards, third in the A Conference behind Cardinal Gibbons' Eugene Marshall and Loyola's Brad Hoag, who are both over 1,000.
"In practice this week, I really wasn't getting much yardage against their type defense," said Lymon. "Our fullback was getting all the yards."
Lymon, a quick but durable 5-foot-5, 140-pound player, said his teammates tried to motivate him this week by spending a lot of time talking about the matchup with Hoag, another speedy tailback.
"Everybody on our team tried to play up the matchup, saying I was better than him. But he's a good, fast, durable back," said Lymon.
But the City defense, which did not allow Loyola to score until just four seconds remained, did a good job of containing Hoag. He had just 24 yards on eight carries. The only big play for the senior came on a 42-yard pass reception with 17 seconds left, setting up the 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Bill Evans with four seconds left.
City out-gained Loyola, 321-160, in total offense. Evans completed five of eight for 91 yards, but the Dons' passing game was never enough of a threat to get City to back off the line and allow the Dons to run their sweep.
"I heard about their speed, and we saw it today," said Loyola coach Joe Brune. "We have some speed, but I guess they were really flowing to what we do best. Our sweep has been the best play for us all year. They were just flowing with the sweep well."
Still, Loyola's defense played extremely well. Yesterday marked the first time this season City did not lead at halftime. The Knights drove to Loyola's 10 early in the second quarter but came away empty after Dwight Banks' 25-yard field-goal attempt was wide left.
Loyola also missed a first-half field-goal try. The Dons drove to the Knights' 25 with 11 seconds left in the half, but Chris Ginter's 42-yard kick was wide left and just short.
"We had scouted them against Gilman, and we saw Gilman move the ball up and down the field and never score," said Petrides. "We were worried it would be that type game. We had never gone into halftime without the lead. We could see our guys' heads were down. We had to convince them this was for the MSA championship and it wasn't going to be easy."