In nick of time, Poly claims victory over Dunbar, 27-26 Defense keys win as No. 6 Engineers stop conversion with no time left

October 04, 1997|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Poly led by two touchdowns at halftime, but couldn't claim a 27-26 victory over visiting East Division rival Dunbar yesterday until stopping a conversion run attempt by James Thomas with no time left on the clock.

The No. 6 Engineers (4-1, 2-0), of retiring coach Augie Waibel (a 276-72 career record), got two touchdowns each from running back Jason Simms (10 carries, 125 yards) and receiver Ed Henry (five receptions, 84 yards), along with clutch defense from Carlton Saunders (fumble recovery), Jason Harvey (interception) and Larry Talley (interception) to all but eliminate the Poets (1-4, 0-2) from playoff contention for the first time in the five-year tenure of coach Stanley Mitchell.

Poly's Charles Haywood contributed 72 rushing yards.

Henry broke a 20-20 tie with under a minute left to play, hauling in a 14-yard, play-action scoring pass from Timmy Frazier (6-for-8, 96 yards). Marcus Smith's extra point kick made it 27-20.

"The ball was right on the mark, but I knew the game wasn't over yet," said Henry.

Driving from his 21 with 49 seconds left, Dunbar's Leonard Ferguson (8-for-14, 108 yards) launched the ball toward All-City/County receiver Chris Barnes (three receptions, 67 yards), who outjumped two defenders near the sideline and landed at Poly's 16.

Two plays later, an off-balance Ferguson threw another prayer that glanced off teammate Naeem Harrison (two receptions, 64 yards) and past a defender, into the hands of second-team All-Metro Dahnel Singfield for a touchdown with no time remaining.

"Somehow it got to Dahnel, and he just made a great catch," said Ferguson, whose 1-yard touchdown run capped a seven-play, 63-yard drive to make it 20-12 as the third period ended.

But the Poets were done in by two of three first-half turnovers.

Simms' 5-yard run with 9: 16 left in the second period -- set up by Saunders' fumble recovery at the Poly 5 -- capped an 11-play, 95-yard drive for a 6-0 lead. Harvey's interception set up Henry's 21-yard scoring reception which, with Lonnie Williams' conversion run, made it 14-0 at halftime.

"We were in command at that point," said Simms, whose 40-yard scoring burst made it, 20-6, with 4: 19 left in the third period. "But Dunbar capitalized on some critical mistakes we made."

Singfield caught four passes for 49 yards and two scores, returned one of his two fumbles recoveries for another score and had an interception. He figured directly in three of the Poets' scores.

His 25-yard scoring return of a fumble, caused by Unray Peters' hit on Frazier, brought the Poets to within 14-6 with 6: 17 left in the third period.

With 8: 32 to play, Singfield's 15-yard touchdown reception got Dunbar to within 20-18. Ferguson completed the pass while in the grasp of a defender, and Thomas' conversion run tied the game at 20.

"I wanted to come out here, give my all, maybe get one more shot at playoffs," said Singfield, a member of Dunbar's second state title team in 1995. "This was a tough game to lose."

Pub Date: 10/04/97

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