No. 9 Patterson holds off Poly's late comeback

Rallying from 24-0 deficit, Engineers fall short, 32-24

High Schools

September 17, 2005|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

When Ahmad Middleton raced 39 yards for a touchdown and added the two-point conversion run to give host Patterson a 24-point lead over scoreless Poly on the initial possession of the second half, the rout appeared to be on.

That was until the visiting Engineers (1-1) scored with two minutes left in the third period on a touchdown pass to Craig Jackson (eight receptions, 87 yards) and on the first play (50-yard interception return by Laquan Williams, who also plays quarterback) of the final 12 minutes to pull within a touchdown.

The No. 9 Clippers (2-0), who scored eight points in each of the four periods, held off Poly to take a hard-fought 32-24 decision in Baltimore City League football yesterday.

Patterson's first two scores came on a 1-yard dive by Anton Wade, who ran for 112 of his game-high 137 yards (20 carries) in the second half, and a straight fly pattern down the left sideline by Tim Rich, who grabbed a perfectly thrown pass from quarterback Eric Baylor, who played the first half, for an 83-yard scoring play.

The game reminded Poly coach Anthony Knox too much of last year's 28-21 loss to Patterson.

"Last year, we fell behind 14-0 to Patterson, played a good second half and ended up losing by a touchdown," said a bewildered Knox, whose squad opened its season on the road in Harwood of Anne Arundel County last week by starting with a 14-0 lead on Southern and taking a 22-20 victory.

"We came out flat today, and I don't understand it. We give Patterson gifts and make too many mistakes against them. We played well in the second half, but falling behind 24-0 really hurt."

Quarterback Larry Ray directed a six-play, 66-yard drive and scored from the 5 on a keeper and on the subsequent two-point conversion after Poly's pair of scores. Ray's eight points gave the Clippers a 32-16 lead with 9:04 remaining.

An 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Williams, who completed 18 of 39 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns, to Ricardo Silva (seven receptions, 143 yards) cut Poly's deficit to 32-24 with seven minutes left.

Poly would get two more chances, but to no avail as the Patterson defense led by linebacker Robert Purnell and down lineman, Justin Thompson (two sacks) rose to the occasion.

"We were a little tired at the end, but we have to realize like the coaches tell us that we have to play hard the entire game and stay focused the whole game," Purnell said.

Poly's final chance came when Patterson chose to go for it on fourth-and-three at the Poly 42 with 1:40 left and came up short. Poly failed to move the ball in four downs, the last three incomplete passes and gave it up with 10 seconds left.

"We didn't punt, so as not to have it blocked or give up a long return," Patterson's 32-year head coach, Roger Wrenn, said.

"Offensive inefficiency hurt us more than anything else."

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