The Poly Western Engineers capped off perhaps their best regular season campaign ever as they beat their biggest rival, the City College Black Knights, 22-16 on Nov. 5 at M&T Bank Stadium to finish with a perfect 10-0 record.
But their road to perfection didn’t come without its bumps in the 123rd annual City-Poly football game. The Engineers had to overcome a 16-8 deficit in the fourth quarter. City College held the lead and possession of the ball as the fourth quarter started, and began to march the ball down the field against Poly.
It appeared as if Poly’s top-ranked team was heading for their first and only loss of the season, as City ran the ball all the way down to the Poly one yard line. A touchdown would have given City College as much as a16-point lead with just seven minutes left in the game, but Poly’s defense tightened up on a goal-line stand to keep City College out of the end zone.
That’s when Poly senior quarterback Darrell Milburn took over the game, tossing a 64-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jordan Garrison to cut the lead to 16-14 after a failed two-point conversion.
Poly’s defense fended off City College’s offense once again on the ensuing drive, giving the ball back to Poly with less than a minute left in the game. Milburn then made more magic, tossing a 50-yard pass to Garrison to push Poly deep into City territory. A few plays later, Milburn found junior running back Priestly Shuler for a game-winning touchdown pass.
“We've been practicing the two-minute drill all year. so when we get into that situation, we're composed,” Milburn told reporters after the game. “It was a designed play…He was wide open.”
Before the final second ran off the game clock, Milburn was seen hugging Poly coach Roger Wrenn in celebration.
“It was one of the most unbelievable [games] I've ever been in. What a miraculous finish,” Wrenn told a group of reporters following the game. According to The Baltimore Sun, Wrenn plans to retire following the Maryland state playoffs after coaching football in Baltimore for 40 years.
City College coach George Petrides told reporters after the game that Poly’s passing attack led to their blown fourth quarter lead. Poly’s offense recorded just 143 yards in the first three quarters of action, but put up 195 yards in the final quarter.
“They attacked our weakness. Our weakness all year has been people passing the ball against us,” Coach Petrides said. “We stopped their counters and their keeps — their bread and butter — but when [Milburn] went to the pass at the end, we're a little weak back there. The passing finally caught up to us.”
Poly completed the regular season as the only unbeaten Baltimore City team since City College finished 10-0 in 2006. The win marked Poly’s fourth consecutive win over City College (5-4 overall) and advanced the school’s all-time series lead to 62-55-6 over the Black Knights.
In other Baltimore City football action from the weekend of Nov. 4:
Dunbar shut out Patterson, 32-0
Carver Vo-Tech beat Southwestern, 14-8
Douglass beat Mervo, 6-0
Digital Harbor beat Edmondson Westside, 6-0