It's Poly vs. City today, at Memorial Stadium 108th meeting pits teams fighting inconsistency

November 09, 1996|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Today's 108th version of the Poly-City game won't be played on Thanksgiving Day, as it was for years until city schools joined the state association in 1993. But for those schools, The Game returns to Memorial Stadium, restoring some its past luster.

And interestingly enough, this year marks the 30th anniversary of City's 42-6 rout in 1966, when George Young, present general manager of the New York Giants, was the Knights' head coach and Loyola's present coach, Joe Brune, an assistant.

That team's quarterback was Mayor Kurt Schmoke, and one of its tight ends, Richard Jackson, is now assistant football coach at No. 4 Wilde Lake. Another member of that team was linebacker George Petrides, the Knights' present coach.

It was Petrides who was routed last year, 36-14, after his team led early. It was the third straight victory in the game for Poly, which leads the series, 53-48-6.

The Knights improved to 20-0 with their last victory, 20-0 in 1992, the last time the game was played on Thanksgiving Day and the last time at Memorial Stadium.

City was 29-0 over nearly three seasons before losing, 21-20, in 1993 as the Engineers went on to be Class 3A state runners-up. A year later, the Knights lost, 7-6, and were knocked out of playoff contention despite an 8-2 record.

Poly (5-4) has played half of its season minus four starters, three of whom return this week, including sophomore quarterback Timmy Frazier. Running back Andre Perkins has been huge on counter and draw plays, and defensive back Dwimoh Palmer and Dujuan Wilson have been stalwarts defensively.

Defensively, No. 7 City (7-2) has relied on Karim Cross (seven sacks), who averages 11 tackles (four solo) per game, and defensive back James Gee (seven interceptions). The offensive linemen, led by three-year starters Carl Hebron (290), Quantay Johnson (215) and Chris Perkins (285) have cleared the way for 5-foot-11, 190-pound running back Taber Small all season.

But inconsistency has been a trademark of each team this year.

City has beaten four ranked teams -- C. Milton Wright, Gilman, Loyola and Mount St. Joseph. But it also has lost to a Calvert Hall team that was routed by Mount St. Joseph and Poly, and beaten by Gilman, a 28-0 loser to City.

"Small was hurt and didn't play against Gilman and St. Mary's, and he wasn't at 100 percent against Calvert Hall," said Petrides (126-80-1 career), who got a 201-yard, three touchdown effort from Small in a 27-7 rout of Loyola.

After scoring twice last week against Mount St. Joseph, Small missed the entire second half with a hamstring injury. But quarterback Michael Johnson (260 passing yards, three touchdowns) and Smith (10 receptions, 173 yards, three touchdowns) responded with an aerial assault.

"We knew we were capable of passing the ball, but not necessarily at that level," said Petrides. "We've put together tremendous efforts back-to-back. Now we have to do it again against Poly."

Poly, which was off to a 4-0 start and ranked as high as No. 4 when healthy, has beaten No. 2 Patterson and Calvert Hall, taken No. 6 Dunbar into overtime, and lost, 7-6, to No. 1 St. Mary's, a 23-12 winner over City. At their worst, however, the Engineers were routed, 26-0, by Loyola, and beaten, 17-7, by previously 2-5 Salesianum of Delaware.

"Give us the Dunbar and St. Mary's games, and we're 7-2," said Poly coach Augie Waibel, who is 257-61 in 34 seasons.

"But the past is out of mind -- this game is the second half of our season. The students on these two teams have never played in Memorial Stadium. It should be a thrill for all of them."

Poly-City game

Teams: Poly (5-4, coach Augie Waibel) vs. No. 7 City (7-2, coach: George Petrides)

Where: Memorial Stadium

Time: 1 p.m.

Series: Poly leads the series, 53-48-6. The Engineers have won three straight, including a 36-14 victory last season.

Pub Date: 11/09/96

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