Seneca Valley makes it mark

COLLLEGE PARK — COLLEGE PARK -- Two teams took aim at milestones in last night's 3A state title game -- Seneca Valley was trying to become the first seven-time champ and Poly was shooting for a title in the first year of eligibility for Baltimore City schools.

The second-seeded Screaming Eagles of Montgomery County walked away with the glory by virtue of a 15-12 victory over the Engineers (11-1) in the swamp-like conditions of Byrd Stadium at the University of Maryland.


Ryan Miyamoto (5 of 8, 93 yards) hit Chucky Carter with a 40-yard pass with 3:35 left in the game to win it, raising the Eagles' playoff record to 19-4 -- including 7-0 in state title games.

The loss for the Engineers -- ranked No. 1 in the Baltimore area -- overshadowed an excellent performance by Greg Kyler, who rushed 21 times for 159 of Poly's 194 total yards, with touchdowns of 33 and 50 yards.


Kyler finishes the season with an area-high 29 touchdowns, 1,385 rushing yards and 22 receptions for 432 yards.

"We set goals in August to win the 3A state championship -- we fell three points short of doing that," said Poly coach Augie Waibel, who is 233-51-3 in 31 seasons.

"I'm not happy about losing, but I'm certainly pleased with our kids' effort, being behind 9-0 and taking a lead. We got out of them just about everything we could."

The Eagles (11-2) -- winners of 10 county and eight regional crowns -- have bragging rights as the state's best team.

Seneca Valley, under sixth-year coach Terry Changuris, also has a 21-14 victory over Watkins Mill, a 10-6 winner over Churchill (12-1) in Friday night's 4A state title game. Churchill was ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press state poll, in which Poly (11-1) was No. 2, and Thomas Johnson (10-1) was ranked No. 1 in the state when it lost, 31-24, in overtime to Seneca Valley two weeks ago.

"I've had the opportunity to be involved with some great young men at a great school in Seneca Valley," said Changuris, whose Eagles blanked Linganore, 14-0, for last year's title.

"We tried to throw the ball more earlier, but these are deplorable conditions and I don't think anybody's a loser in a game like this. Poly's a heckuva football team."

Poly led for the first time, 12-9, with 7:35 left in the game after Kyler capitalized on Brian Scott's block of a punt by Moises Cruz that gave the Engineers the ball at their own 43.


On a fourth-and-4 from midfield four plays later, Kyler squeezed through a gap up the middle, then outraced a sprawling defender at the 20 for the score.

But facing a fourth-and-1 on its next drive, the Eagles came up with the game-winning play -- a swing pass to Carter, who delayed coming out of the backfield and sprinted untouched down the Seneca Valley sideline.

"Our defense didn't cover the man coming out of the backfield and the guy [Miyamoto] threw the ball miraculously under these conditions," said Waibel.

"There was a man on the backside and we forgot to pick him up," said Kyler.

"It was a mental mistake by our defense, but it was a team loss and nobody's to blame. It was a team effort and a team loss."

Seneca Valley led 6-0 after Kinte Sipes'(24 carries, 88 yards) 4-yard run capped a nine-play, 29-yard drive -- the Eagles' first possession of the game -- with 5:39 left in the period.


The drive was set up after Poly's Scott -- punting from his own 30 -- had to chase down a high snap that went over his head about 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage. The punt went for minus-1 yard.

Midway through the second quarter, Seneca Valley drove 59 yards in 10 plays for a first-and-goal at Poly's 6, but was pushed back seven yards after Darnell Dezurn sacked Miyamoto.

But the Eagles -- who had 107 of their 199 total yards in the first half -- took a 9-0 lead two plays later when Louie Forbrich kicked a 34-yard field goal.

The Engineers -- and Kyler -- answered in the third quarter. Kyler's 33-yard touchdown up the middle with 3:20 left in the period -- during which he spun out of two tackles over the first five yards -- put the Engineers right back in the game, 9-6. Teammate Joe Brown set up the effort with his fumble recovery at Seneca's 33.

"We tried to represent Poly and the city, but on this particular day, it just didn't happen," said Kyler. "Everybody was trying their hardest and everybody gave 110 percent. It was just Seneca Valley's night to come out on top."