There isn’t a high school rivalry in Baltimore richer in tradition than the annual Poly Engineers vs. City College Black Knights faceoff. The teams have faced each other for 122 consecutive years but their Nov. 6 matchup was one of the most dramatic, as Poly edged City, 14-6, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Poly now leads the overall series over City with a 61-55-6 record, including wins in the last three meetings between the teams. But Poly might have seen that streak come to an end if not for an amazing, game-winning drive.
With the score tied at 6-6 late in the third quarter, Poly quarterback Darrell Milburn led his team on an incredible 19-play, 92-yard drive capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass to running back Gabriel Ali-El to push the Engineers ahead, 14-6.
The game-deciding drive lasted more than 10 minutes, with City’s offense off the field until just six minutes were left in the game. Poly then closed out the game with outstanding defense to collect the win and advance to a 7-3-season record, and a 6-2 record against Baltimore competition.
“Big time players make big plays at big times,” Ali-El told reporters following the game. “There’s 121 teams from Poly that’ve played before us. We couldn’t let our coaches down, our fans down and the players who’ve played before us down.”
Ali-El finished the game with 66 rushing yards and was a major part in Poly’s strategy of sustaining long, tiring drives on offense. City coach George Petrides said Poly’s long drives were the main reason his team lost despite starting the game well offensively.
“We couldn’t get the ball back in the second half,” Petrides said. “We couldn’t get any three-and-outs on defensive.”
City was upset about the loss, but Poly needed the win to remain a potential candidate for post-season play. City (7-3, 5-3 Baltimore City) has already qualified for the 2A Class North regional playoffs scheduled to begin on the weekend of Nov. 12.
“We’ll move forward and stay focused on our goal,” Petrides said, “and that’s win a state title.”