More drama: Poly wins, 7-6 Prosper's TD catch with 38 seconds left beats City

November 13, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

Before his third-ranked Engineers took the field at Morgan State's Hughes Stadium for their 106th battle against No. 5 City, someone asked Poly coach Augie Waibel whether he could top last year's 21-20 victory, the result of Greg Kyler's 24-yard reception with 25 seconds left.

Two hours later, Waibel answered with the last-second heroics of Martin Prosper for a 7-6 victory.

Down 6-0 with 38 seconds left and City defensive back Warren Smith playing in-your-shirt defense, Prosper, scarcely across the goal line, turned and out-leaped Smith to catch 12-yard touchdown pass from Jackie Wise.

Prosper's area-leading 12th touchdown reception, coupled with Randall Beaman's extra-point kick, secured a victory that sends the Engineers (9-1) back to the 3A state playoffs, where they'll try to improve on last year's runner-up finish.

"I told myself 'just get your hands up,'" said the 6-foot-4, 165-pound Prosper, who finished with four receptions for 82 yards.

"I faked the ball to Randall Beaman up the middle, pump-faked to my left, then threw back right," said Wise, who finished 4-for-17.

It worked to perfection for Prosper, who also caught passes of 15 and 37 yards in that game-ending, six-play drive that began with 2:08 left at the Poly 37. The Engineers' Vernon Holley intercepted the ball on City's final drive with 14 seconds left.

Smith, a sophomore, had done a masterful job on Prosper, who has 31 receptions for 660 yards this season.

In the first half, Smith limited Prosper to one catch, a 12-yarder in the second period. Early in the first quarter, Prosper, bobbled, then dropped a pass after a hit from the 6-foot-3, 165-pound Smith, who also had an interception in that period.

And it was Smith's 5-yard touchdown reception from Mike Johnson that finished off a seven-play, 41-yard drive for a 6-0 lead with 8:52 left in the first half. It was the fifth attempt for Johnson (1-for-9, two interceptions) after four incompletions.

"Warren did a fantastic job today. Our defense played its hearts out," said City coach George Petrides, whose Knights (8-2) likely won't make the playoffs.

In the first half, the Knights defense, led by Mark Jews (one sack, one fumble recovery) and linebackers Jemini Jones and Dennie Freeman, held Poly to 76 of their 218 total yards. Beaman had five carries for only 35 yards.

"Our goal today was to put the crunch on Beaman and pressure the quarterback," said Freeman, who has a team-high eight sacks.

Damian Beane (20 carries, 123 yards) and Taber Small (19 carries, 95 yards) moved the ball well, primarily on counter plays, until Poly moved tackles Sebastian Smothers and Darnell Duzurn to the defensive guard positions.

Smothers and Dijuan Wilson stopped Beane at the Poly 1 with 1:08 before halftime after City had driven 69 yards in 10 plays. Beane had six carries for eight yards.

"They had been killing us in the middle," said Smothers, who picked up his team-leading ninth sack yesterday. "But that goal-line stand pumped us up for the second half."

City still had two good chances to score in the fourth quarter.

Small intercepted Wise at City's 43 but the Knights could move )) only six yards in four downs. Then Smothers fumbled a 1-yard punt by Aaron Watkins, which Jews recovered at Poly's 48.

But City punted again after gaining one yard in four plays.

"They had a pretty good scouting report on us," said Waibel. "We had poor field position until Wilson recovered that fumble."

Waibel was referring to Wilson's recovery at the City 36 of Kevin Griffin's fumbled lateral early in the fourth period.

Poly then drove eight plays to the City 2, but on the ninth play, Beaman (15 carries, 100 yards) was dropped for a loss of two yards by Jones and Jason Ashe.

"They played good defense I'll give them that," said Prosper. "Especially [Smith.]"

Poly leads the series 52-48-6.

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