Fired-up Poly deals City first loss of season, 20-6

Engineers use defense, running game to earn win


November 11, 2001|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Teddy Savage and several of his Engineers teammates swear that not once all week did anybody doubt that Poly could beat undefeated City. Their coach, John Hammond, told a different story.

"No, I didn't think we were going to win because we have never put together four quality quarters," admitted Hammond, still dripping from a Gatorade shower he received after his Engineers put the finishing touches on a 20-6 victory yesterday at PSINet Stadium.

"That was the challenge we put forth for the kids today, to put it all together against a great City team, and they came through. We just played really well today."

They certainly did, thanks to a suffocating defense that ground the powerful Knights running game to a halt. Poly also used a punishing rushing game of its own, which accounted for two first-half scores, and controlled possession, allowing the Engineers (7-3) to end their season by avenging last year's 18-6 loss.

Poly's win, in the 113th meeting between the two rivals, gave the Engineers a 56-52-6 advantage.

"We could go 1-9, as long as we beat City, that's what counts," said Savage, a senior, who rushed 17 times for 72 yards and a touchdown. "This means the world to us."

City (9-1) had already clinched a spot in next week's 2A playoffs, though Knights coach George Petrides was not sure if his team was caught looking ahead.

"I shouldn't have to worry about a letdown, not when you're playing Poly," said Petrides. "It was probably the worst game we played all season. But give them credit, they played well."

The Engineers took a 13-0 lead seven minutes into the first quarter on just four offensive plays.

Poly senior quarterback Tavon McGee, who left the game in the fourth quarter with a separated shoulder, hit senior wideout Adam Dickerson on a deep route for a 29-yard gain on the Engineers' first offensive play. On the next play, McGee pitched to Savage, who cut up the middle for a 32-yard touchdown.

After stopping the Knights on three consecutive plays, Poly went back to the ground game. Sophomore Shanorm Young (14 carries for 107 yards), sprung by a Dickerson block, went in nearly untouched for a 57-yard touchdown run, which gave Poly a 13-0 lead with just over five minutes to play in the first quarter.

"We knew sooner or later we would have to run the football," said Hammond. "We got the lead and forced them to pass."

The City offense, forced to abandon its patented running game, never got on track. Senior quarterback Lamar Manigo was sacked five times, three by Chris Kwegan, a linebacker who was converted to nose tackle before the game.

He was also intercepted by McGee in the Poly end zone on the Knights' best scoring chance in the first half.

"Because of my size, they thought I couldn't overpower them, but I got off the blocks and made the hits," said Kwegan, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior.

"We wanted to be underdogs," said Dickerson. "It makes it that much sweeter."

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