Poly beats City, 38-20, to end on winning note

Atypical 111th meeting pitted two losing teams

High Schools

November 07, 1999|By Mark Hoeflich | Mark Hoeflich,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

It was obvious how much this game meant to both football teams at City and Poly.

Not just because it was the 111th meeting in this storied rivalry. For the first time in recent memory, both teams entered the game with losing records, and each was searching for a hint of normalcy on which to end their seasons.

Poly got something to hang its helmets on, beating City, 38-20, yesterday at PSINet Stadium, and in the process, the Engineers (5-5) found comfort in knowing they finished the 1999 season at .500. It was Poly's second consecutive win against the Knights (4-6), who were left frustrated by a difficult season.

"We showed a steady improvement late in the season and got to .500," said Poly coach John Hammond. "Even though we won, there are parts of our game that are inconsistent and that was indicative of our season."

The Engineers' win was rewarding for other reasons as well. Poly ran its record to 55-50-6 against City, and while the Engineers lack the polish of some of their past teams, this youthful group showed a glimpse of good things to come.

Sophomore Ted Savage did his part to change things for Poly. The 5-foot-6 tailback set the stage for the Engineers by returning the opening kickoff 69 yards for a touchdown and City never recovered.

Savage's 40-run on Poly's next series helped set up another score -- Daniel McMichael's 9-yard run -- before he took a punt 52 yards for a touchdown to push the Engineers lead to 19-8 with 2: 37 left in the first half.

"Everybody in front of me did their job," Savage said of his game-opening kickoff return. "On the punt return, I was supposed to go right, but that side was sealed off so I cut back to the middle."

Said Hammond, "We spend a third of our practices on special teams and [yesterday] it really paid off for us."

Poly's offense had only four possessions for 110 total yards in the first half, but its special teams accounted for more than 200 yards and four scores. Hassan Brown joined in the fun with a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown and the Engineers led 25-8 at intermission. Poly's last points came on Marcellus Carrington's 44-yard run off a fake punt.

"Their special-teams play was the difference in the game," City coach George Petrides said.

With the exception of two long touchdown passes -- 45 and 67 yards -- by City quarterback Lamar Manigo, the Knights' offense did little to mount a challenge. City had just 52 yards rushing and back-to-back fumbles on its first two possessions of the second half only increased its deficit. Poly converted the second turnover into a 4-yard scoring run by Jonathon Rodgers and led, 32-8, with 5: 30 left in the third quarter.

"It was a difficult season and a difficult week and this game ended up the same way," Petrides said.

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