Eddie Henry's 54-yard scoring reception from Timmy Frazier with 35 seconds left lifted Poly to a come-from-behind 13-12 victory over City yesterday in the 110th meeting of the two programs before an estimated crowd of 6,000 at Ravens stadium.
Henry's 10th scoring reception of the year was only his second catch of the game, the other being a 41-yarder, thanks to fine defensive effort by City's Todd Galloway.
Marcus Smith, who had missed an earlier field-goal attempt from 27 yards along with the previous extra-point try, kicked the extra point to provide the winning margin in a game the Engineers (8-2) trailed 12-0 entering the fourth period.
"The play was a slant -- something we came up with right at the line of scrimmage," said Frazier, who is headed for Hampton University on a full scholarship, and whose 1-yard run brought the Engineers within 12-6 with 9: 53 to play.
"It was wide open underneath," Frazier said. "Eddie Henry did the rest: Touchdown!"
It was the sixth straight win for Poly and first-year coach John TC Hammond since being blown out by a combined 50-6 by No. 1 Gilman and No. 8 Patterson, teams with a combined 20-0 record.
And by ending City's two-game winning streak, the Engineers improved their series lead to 54-50-6, and clinched the Class 2A East Region crown and an automatic berth in next weekend's playoffs.
"When we lost to Gilman and Patterson, man, I felt like we had hit rock bottom," said Frazier, a three-year starter whose team was ranked No. 6 during the preseason. "But now, it's like we have new life. Now we're going to the playoffs."
Yesterday's game featured two of the area's premier receivers in Henry and Penn State-bound Bryant Johnson of City.
A preseason All-American, Johnson's ninth scoring reception -- a 5-yard pass from Jawan Yancey (6 for 9, 90 yards) -- was set up by Christian Erickson's fumble recovery and capped a 10-play, 68-yard drive for a 12-0 lead with 2: 38 left in the third quarter.
Defensively, Johnson had a sack and two other tackles for losses. He also booted the second-half opening kickoff into the end zone. And Ryan Galloway's second-period interception and a subsequent 50-yard return ended a Poly drive that had reach City's 25-yard line.
City's other score, a 56-yard pass to Brandon Watson for a 6-0 lead, came on the game's opening drive.
City's Kevin Johnson had a game-high 128 rushing yards, while Poly orchestrated its ground game by committee with Frazier, Jason Harvey, Charles Haywood, Chonan Bell and Lonnie Williams combining for 116 yards. Defensively for Poly, Olen Oliver had an interception.
Last year, an early score was enough for a 7-0 City victory. The Knights (7-3) also took the 1996 game, 26-20, as Warren Smith's 28-yard scoring reception with three seconds left completed a 20-point run.
"It seems that's the way it's going to be. It's great for the game," said City's George Petrides. "It's just tough being on losing side."
Yesterday, it was Henry who made sure that his effort would rival two other exciting game-clinching receptions for Poly in "The Game."
In 1993, All-Metro Player of the Year Greg Kyler's last-second catch secured a one-point Poly win that ended a 29-game winning streak by City. And in '94, it was All-Metro Martin Prosper's catch in the closing seconds that secured a 7-6 Poly win.
Henry completed a fitting end to the regular season for a senior who missed the entire second half of last year with an arm injury.
"Bryant Johnson's a great receiver, and I have to say that it was a big motivation for me, going against him," said Henry, who is considering Maryland, UMBC and Hampton.
"This is the first Poly-City game I've been able to play in because of the injuries last year, but I think I proved I belong."
Pub Date: 11/08/98