Poly faces sizable obstacle in 1-2 showdown with undefeated City Knights heavier, more experienced

November 26, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

It shapes up as a classic boxer-vs.-puncher battle, this 104th annual Thanksgiving Day football meeting between City and Poly.

City boasts more size and experience and will use its pounding ground attack like a brawler might bludgeon an opponent's midsection.

Its knockout punch features 6-foot-1, 230-pound Antonio Travers yards, five TDs) running behind an offensive line of Marshall Holmes (6-2, 225), Xavier Logan (6-0, 245), Jason Burke (6-3, 240) and Shawn Scott (6-2, 260).

Then there's City's speed: Quarterback Terrence Suber (616 yards rushing, six TDs) and running backs Ricky Dangerfield (13 TDs) and Trent Green all run the 40-yard -- in 4.4 seconds.

The trio has a combined 1,699 rushing yards for 24 touchdowns, with Suber (911 yards passing, seven TDs) finding Dwight Banks (4.5 40) 29 times for 656 yards and five touchdowns.

Undersized Poly has some speed of its own with junior running backs Sekou Selli (592 yards, 10 TDs) and Greg Kyler (614, seven) running the 40 in 4.3 and 4.4, respectively.

The Engineers will use finesse, particularly misdirection plays, to create openings.

"One step the wrong way could be fatal for them [City]," said Poly coach Augie Waibel. "We'll be relying on our quickness and the Poly pride we'll be playing for."

Waibel, whose team leads the series, 50-47-6, makes no secret of his plan to employ the big play.

"Their misdirections concern me," said City coach George Petrides, whose Knights bring a 19-game winning streak into the contest. "Our defensive linemen have got to fill the holes."

Should the Knights seal the gaps, Poly quarterback Mike Forstner will try to reopen them. Forstner's numbers are low (235 yards passing, 140 rushing), but he is sneaky.

The Engineers struggled against Mount St. Joseph (a 15-6 win) and Gilman (a 14-13 win) before Forstner completed game-stealing touchdown passes of 36 and 30 yards to Jawhar Ray and Kyler.

"Big play. That's what we've been preaching about Poly all along to our players," said Petrides, who has scouted the Engineers five times.

"They play tough even though they're smaller than most teams," he continued. "I think they'll come out and play us as if they have nothing to lose."

Until its last victory -- a 41-6 blowout of Calvert Hall -- Poly's offense had struggled. In the meantime, City's offense has thrived.

The Knights have outscored their opponents 248-41, including four straight shutouts of Forest Park (32-0), Gibbons (39-0), Calvert Hall (26-0) and Lake Clifton (38-0).

But Poly, which narrowly defeated Forest Park, 8-6, gained confidence after its win over then fourth-ranked Gilman, which preceded the Calvert Hall victory.

"I think they'll find that we have a much bigger line and many more of fensive weapons than Gilman," said Petrides.

But Waibel says Poly's two losses -- 22-15 to Loyola, and 12-7 to Delaware's Salesianum -- have prepared his club for the grueling test City should provide.

"They [City] barely beat Loyola [14-11], which wasn't the same Loyola team we played," said Waibel, referring to the fact that Loyola was without injured All-Metro quarterback candidate Bill Evans when it faced City.

"We had a 15-7 lead over Loyola if you take away the touchdown Evans scored with no time left in the first half," said Waibel. "I compare Salesianum to City, and we'd have had a lead on Salesianum if you give us the touchdown that was called back."

Waibel points to last year's 14-8 loss to City, when the Knights entered at 9-0 and the Engineers at 5-5.

"If you saw last year's game, we fumbled three times -- once while driving on their goal line with the score tied, 8-8," said Waibel. "We're a little better than that this year, but they [City] have basically the same team back. No matter what direction the two teams come from, it's always a dogfight."


Site: Memorial Stadium

Time: 2 p.m.

TV: Cable channel 44

Radio: None

Series record: 50-47-6, in favor of Poly.

Outlook: This battle of contrasting styles pits the varied offensive attack of bigger, more experienced and top-ranked City (9-0, 8-0 in MSA), against the fleet-footed, big-play potential of No. 2 Poly (7-2, 7-1). City can win the title outright with a victory; Poly can secure a tie.

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