Poly kicks Randallstown out of playoffs, 16-13 First field goal in 13 years wins it for Engineers

November 16, 1997|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Poly has attempted so few field goals over the years that coach Augie Waibel vividly remembers the last successful one -- which had occurred 13 years ago.

And he certainly won't forget sophomore Marcus Smith's kick yesterday.

Smith's 23-yard field goal just after the start of the fourth quarter proved to be the winning points in the 12th-ranked Engineers' 16-13 victory over visiting Randallstown in a Class 2A quarterfinal playoff game at Lumsden-Scott Stadium.

The field goal, which sailed off to the right and barely stayed within the uprights, completed Poly's rally from a 13-0 deficit in the first quarter and staved off elimination in Waibel's 35th and final season.

The Engineers (10-1) will play host to No. 15 Dunbar, a 42-2 winner over Owings Mills, in a semifinal game on Saturday. Randallstown (8-3) concluded its first season under former Poly assistant Bruce Strunk after going 2-8 last year.

It was Smith's first field-goal conversion in four attempts this season and Poly's first since Jonathan Potter's kick against Calvert Hall in 1984.

"I was just nervous," said Smith, who had missed on an extra-point attempt earlier in the game. "It was a hard kick because it was on an angle, but I just did my best. I didn't let [the missed PAT] worry me. I've missed some before. I just took it as another kick."

With the score tied at 13, Poly drove 50 yards in 11 plays, setting up a fourth-and-goal at the Rams' 5-yard-line with 11: 54 remaining in the game. Waibel then sent the field-goal unit on the field and the sparse crowd began murmuring in disbelief.

"Our fullback, Jason Simms, had a bad shoulder and couldn't carry the ball," Waibel said. "He's our biggest back, especially down inside the 10-yard-line. So without him, I thought we'd be better off trying to kick the field goal and hope our defense could keep them out of the end zone."

Mission accomplished.

The Engineers' defense was dominant after the first quarter, recovering two fumbles and limiting Randallstown to 27 yards of offense and two first downs. Lonnie Simms provided the offensive spark for Poly with 127 yards rushing on 23 carries.

"Our guys just got beat up," Strunk said. "My defensive line and my offensive line are one in the same, and by halftime, they were physically worn out."

The first quarter, however, belonged to the Rams.

On the game's first possession, Randallstown drove 62 yards on 13 plays in 7 minutes, 23 seconds, culminating in Travis Reeves' 4-yard touchdown run for a 6-0 lead.

After Poly went three-and-out, the Rams needed only four plays to increase their lead to 13-0 on T. J. Stallings' 26-yard touchdown run.

At the end of the quarter, Randallstown had 130 yards of offense and six first downs to the Engineers' 9 yards with no first downs.

But Poly evened the score by halftime, as quarterback Travis Frazier threw for a touchdown (21 yards to Donald Arnold) and ran for another (1 yard).

Pub Date: 11/16/97

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