A player's speed often is affected by muddy field conditions, but don't tell that to City's Corey Simpson.
While players around him struggled to gain their footing yesterday, Simpson (5 feet 9, 165 pounds) seemed to thrive despite a downpour that turned the City football field into a swamp against No. 6 Patterson.
He rushed just 11 times for 236 of his team's 337 total offensive yards and scored three touchdowns and an extra-point conversion as the top-ranked Knights (8-0) turned back the Clippers, 24-8, for City's 28th straight victory.
This after being moved just three games earlier from wide receiver to running back.
"The rain didn't really affect me," said Simpson, a senior who has been clocked at a 4.4-second 40-yard --. "I felt absolutely fine today."
Simpson, who entered the game with only 185 receiving yards and four touchdowns, usually plays a reserve role in City's offense.
The stars had been wide receiver Dwight Banks (30 catches, 722 yards, 12 touchdowns), running back Ricky Dangerfield (888 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns) and quarterback Teron Matthews (925 passing yards, 16 touchdowns).
"We had kept Corey at wide receiver because we didn't want people doubling up on Dwight," said City coach George Petrides, who scouted Patterson's 14-6 victory over Lake Clifton last week.
"We saw that Lake Clifton had run the counter on them well. And today, we figured Patterson had to respect Ricky. Knowing we run the counter as well as anybody, we decided to show Simpson off a little."
It was his running that victimized the Clippers (7-1). He gained 215 yards on misdirection plays, including first-quarter touchdowns of 93 and 57 yards.
Simpson's first score, coupled with a conversion run by Dangerfield (85 yards), gave City an 8-0 lead with 2:33 left in the quarter.
Patterson tied it on a 58-yard scoring run by Ryan Lewis (nine carries, 72 yards) and Willie McGirt's conversion pass to Marcus Nickens.
Before the quarter ended, Simpson put the Knights ahead again on his second scoring run. Jemini Jones' conversion run made it 16-8.
"We thought we were prepared for the counter, but they ran it awfully effective against us," said Patterson coach Roger Wrenn. "They just ran it, and ran it, and ran it real well."
Said defensive coordinator Larry Alexander: "The counter play really killed us. Our linebackers weren't filling the holes."
McGirt (8-for-20, 121 yards) entered the game having passed for 11 touchdowns on 696 yards. But under the treacherous conditions, the junior had trouble executing the option and locating Nickens, Stacey Plater and Eugene Laster.
Plater, who entered with 284 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, caught three passes for 32 yards yesterday.
"What we do best is throw the ball and option the ball and when it rains, you try to do the same thing," Wrenn said. "I'm sure the rain affected them, too, but the blue lightning offense we run works best in good weather."
When the Clippers finally adjusted behind junior Joe Mechlinski, who had 19 tackles and a fumble recovery, the Knights went up the middle behind linemen Eddie Hooper (6-3, 270), Gregory Manzuk (6-5, 250), Brian Douglass (6-3, 240), Xzavier Logan (6-1, 250) and Jonathan Jones (6-1, 240).
They led the way as Simpson's 2-yard run, with 1:48 left in the game, capped a nine-play, 65-yard drive.