Late spurt drives City by Poly, 15-12


High schools


Time and again yesterday, underdog Poly made huge plays on special teams in its game with archrival City College, only to fall short of the end zone.

Finally, time simply ran out.

Despite blocking one punt, partially blocking another and forcing a key turnover on a return, Poly had no answer for City's resurgent offense, which awoke in the third quarter to score 15 unanswered points, as the No. 11 Black Knights rallied for a 15-12 win in the teams' 117th meeting before 5,853 at M&T Bank Stadium.

"The clock just ran out on us," said Poly coach Anthony Knox. "I think we played our hearts out, and I told them, `As long as we've got the ball in our hands with a chance to win the game, that's all I can ask for.'"

The win gave City (9-1) a share of the city Division I title with Dunbar and Patterson. The Black Knights, who had last beaten Poly by virtue of a forfeit in 2001, already had locked up the top seed in Class 3A North and home-field advantage in the state playoffs.

Conversely, the loss eliminated Poly (5-5) from playoff contention in Class 2A North. Poly, which still leads the all-time series 58-53-6, went ahead on the game's first play, when Laquan Williams took a kickoff at the 9, broke down the right sideline and sprinted 91 yards untouched to give the Engineers a 6-0 lead.

City, meanwhile, hardly was able to move the ball, managing just 22 yards of offense in the first half.

"I told them, `We should be behind 18-0 right now, and we're fortunate to have kept it this close. Now let's go out and take advantage of it,'" said City coach George Petrides.

City did just that, opening the second half by driving 56 yards on six plays, capped by Matthew Holloman's 9-yard touchdown run. Dominick Rose- borough's extra point gave the Knights a 7-6 lead.

Late in the quarter, City again cashed in when Ellis Foster found halfback Earl Townes wide-open 15 yards down the right sideline, and Townes took it for a 45-yard touchdown, increasing the lead to 15-6.

"[Our coach] always told us that the flash was open on a waggle pass, so we ran that a lot, and I was open for the touchdown," Townes said.

Though Poly added a touchdown early in the fourth quarter on Lee Reynolds' 3-yard run, the Engineers never crossed midfield again.

"We missed a couple scoring opportunities that came back to haunt us," Knox said.

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