Mervo quarterback Carlos Davis knew the No. 11 Mustangs would face an improved Poly team in Friday night’s Baltimore City Division I opener.
“We had to stay humble,” Davis said of his three-time division champion squad. “They came over here hungry. We knew they was going to be hungry trying to defeat our streak, so we had to stay humble and just go with our game plan.”
Davis, a senior, led the way with six touchdowns — four passing and two rushing — as the Mustangs set the tone for their city season with a 46-20 win over the Engineers.
The Mustangs (3-0, 1-0) jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but the Engineers (0-2, 0-1) were within 26-20 with 3:36 left in the third quarter before Mervo scored three straight times to finish the game — on Rykim Lemon’s 31-yard run, a 16-yard pass from Davis to Corey Peterkin, and a 9-yard Davis run.
Davis’ run, which pushed the Mustangs’ lead to 46-20 with 7:16 left in the game, followed an interception by Quentin Barnes, Poly’s second turnover of the game.
The interception came after Mervo coach Patrick Nixon adjusted his team’s pass coverage. The two teams scored on every possession of the third quarter until the Mustangs forced three straight incomplete passes on the Engineers’ final drive at the end of the quarter.
“All their scores were big plays,” Nixon said, “and we switched the coverage up to eliminate the big plays. Our offense was pretty much clicking the whole game, so once we made that adjustment, you could see the difference.”
Poly scored on a 48-yard run by K’ron Hines and on 44- and 67-yard passes from Devone Stubbs to Tyrese Chambers. Stubbs showed his accuracy, and Chambers, his speed and moves. On the 67-yard connection, Stubbs found Chambers between two defenders, and the receiver made a terrific move to dodge a defender and race about the last 50 yards to the end zone.
After that play, however, the Mustangs cut off the Engineers’ big plays and finished the game with 20 unanswered points.
They had enough of an early lead to hold on throughout. Mervo took advantage of a Poly gift when the Engineers fumbled on the first drive of the game and Tyree Williams recovered at the Poly 49-yard line. Rykim Lemon ran for the first 32 yards on four carries before Davis hit Peterkin with a 17-yard touchdown pass for a 6-0 lead with 7:14 remaining.
The Mustangs boosted their lead to 14-0 with 10:42 left in the second quarter on another Davis-to-Peterkin connection, this time for 21 yards. Lemon, who ran eight times for 51 yards in the first half, ran in the 2-point conversion for a 14-0 lead.
Poly, which fell in a tight battle last week with Middletown, chipped away at the lead and started to answer Mervo, score for score, beginning with Davis’ second touchdown pass to Peterkin. But the Engineers couldn’t hold off the Mustangs, and the deficit never got closer than six points.
The Mustangs used their running game, especially with Lemon, to set up their passing attack all night.
“Staying patient, that’s it,” Davis said. “We’d run them, run them and then pass. We were going to test them one-on-one with deep shots, so we’d run, run, pass.”
Davis had rushing touchdowns of 35 and 9 yards and hit Peterkin for three touchdowns and Terry Jones for another. He gave a lot of credit to his receivers and said Peterkin, a transfer, filled a void left by graduation.
“Great targets,” Davis said.
No. 11 Mervo 46, Poly 20
P 0 6 14 0 — 20
M 6 8 18 14 — 46
M—Peterkin 17 pass from Davis (pass failed)
M—Peterkin 21 pass from Davis (Lemon run)
P—Chambers 44 pass from Stubbs (pass failed)
M—Jones 9 pass from Davis (pass failed)
P—Hines 48 run (Bethel pass from Stubbs)
M—Davis 35 run (pass failed)
P—Chambers 67 pass from Stubbs (pass failed)
M—Lemon 31 run (run failed)
M—Peterkin 16 pass from Davis (Davis run)
M—Davis 9 run (kick failed)