City-Poly even bigger than usual this year with playoffs at stake

Notebook

November 06, 2008|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Baltimore Sun

The annual football matchup between archrivals City and Poly is never short on dramatic plot lines. The 120th edition of the game Saturday afternoon, however, will have more than most.

With playoff implications abounding, the bowl-like atmosphere at M&T Bank Stadium is sure to be ratcheted up a few extra notches.

"The City-Poly game is the City-Poly game, but add that to it and I think it just motivates [the players] even more," City coach George Petrides said.

City (6-3, 5-2 Baltimore City Division I), which has resurrected its postseason hopes with blowout victories over Mervo and Carver, holds the No. 3 seed in Class 2A North and can lock up one of the region's four playoff spots with a win.

Poly (5-4, 4-3), meanwhile, must not only beat City, but must also hope Calvert Hall beats fifth seed Randallstown at home Saturday. Unless they win and Randallstown loses, the Engineers are out of the postseason.

Poly seemed to be in strong position for a playoff slot when it started this season 4-1. Since then, however, the Engineers have dropped three of four to fall to sixth in 2A North.

"We need to just focus on this game ... and prove to people that our early-season successes were not an aberration," said Engineers coach Roger Wrenn, who is most concerned about City's explosive pass-catch combination of quarterback Ellis Foster and speedy playmaker Adrian Coxson.

"They have just as good a passing combination as I've seen in high school for a long time."

A year ago, the duo torched Poly's secondary five times for 113 yards, including an acrobatic 51-yard touchdown pass just before halftime.

"They click, and [Coxson's] the real deal," Wrenn said. "And for whatever reason, our pass defense has been somewhat erratic."

The Knights' 19 seniors have not lost to Poly, and Foster can become the first quarterback in series history to win four straight.

Offensively, Poly is led by tailback Jon Marcus and fleet quarterback Antoine Goodson, who have accumulated a combined 1,897 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns. Goodson has been hampered in recent weeks by a pulled groin, which kept him on the sideline for part of Saturday's loss to Digital Harbor.

In a game of this stature, however, nagging injuries won't get in the way.

"It's the game for both teams," Wrenn said "All year long, we talk about it and think about it. This is what they play for."

Crab Bowl set

Twenty football players from Baltimore and Baltimore County have been picked to play in the inaugural Maryland Crab Bowl, a high school all-star game that will feature teams from the Baltimore and Washington areas at Towson University on Dec. 20.

The Baltimore team - composed of 45 players from Anne Arundel, Howard, Baltimore, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, Cecil, Harford, Carroll and Garrett counties, as well as Baltimore City and the Eastern Shore - will have a heavy Dunbar flavor. The top-ranked Poets will have six players on the roster: Jonathan Perry, Tavon Austin, Sean Farr, Courtney Bridget, Tevin Brown and Horace Miller.

Dunbar's Lawrence Smith also will serve as coach.

Other locals on the squad include Archbishop Curley's Joe Petrides, Jacob Perry and Eric Franklin; City's Stephen Jackson; Poly's Arnold Farmer; Eastern Tech's Darian Conners; Edmondson's Carroll Washington and David Mackall; Franklin's Carl Fleming; Hereford's Nick DePaola; Loyola's Leon Kinnard and Terence Garvin; Mount St. Joseph's Renard Robinson; and Perry Hall's Dave Stinebaugh.

Badminton champs

Towson won its third straight Baltimore County badminton championship last week. The Generals also picked up four titles at Saturday's individual finals.

Steven Page won the boys singles, Scott Just and Jimmy Whebdee took the boys doubles, Tori Buck and Holly White took the girls doubles and Angela Lee and Andrew Reighart won the mixed doubles.

Katherine Dunn

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