As soon as the game ended, Poly coach Augie Waibel ran out to clutch the game ball. Then the emotional party began.
Behind Randy Beaman's 154 yards and three touchdowns, the No. 3 Engineers outlasted visiting Salesianum School (Del.), 26-14.
Poly (7-1) celebrated going ahead in the closely contested rivalry, 13-12-7, but the screaming charge to the locker room was to sign the game ball for Waibel's grandson who was born Friday.
"Everyone came here to see who was going to break the tie," said Poly wide receiver Martin Prosper, who caught the game-winning 24-yard touchdown reception. "But we also wanted to win so we could all sign the ball and Coach could give it to his new grandson."
It was only the fourth time in the last 17 meetings in this series that the winning margin was more than a touchdown.
"We were more pumped today than any other game all season," Beaman said. "All week we talked about who was going to break the tie. We knew if we could win this game, we were going all the way to states."
Trailing 14-13 early in the fourth quarter, Poly put together a 13-play, 62-yard scoring drive that included three third-down conversions and one on fourth down. On third-and-10 at the Sals' 24-yard line, Jackie Wise hit Prosper, who had to outleap two defenders for the touchdown with 5:56 remaining.
However, the drive actually was sustained by a Salesianum mistake. Sals defensive back Jason Gioffre interfered with Prosper on a third-and-eight at Poly's 40-yard line.
With Poly leading 19-14, Salesianum was forced to go on fourth-and-five at its 25-yard line. Quarterback Jamie French tossed a perfect pass to Rick Godfrey, but Godfrey dropped it when Poly defensive back Dujuan Wilson tackled him.
Taking over possession, Beaman needed only two carries to score. His 15-yard touchdown run with 2:34 left capped the win.
"We were very inconsistent out there, but that's been our story all year," Salesianum coach James Brazill said. "We found ways to lose and Poly found ways to win. Poly knows how to win right now and we don't."
Salesianum (2-6) is the defending Delaware state champion and ranked No. 6 by the Wilmington News Journal. Through last weekend, its opponents had a combined 46-7 record.
But the Sals seemed more shaken than proven early in the game. Being chased by Donte Dorsey, French blindly tossed a pass into the center of the field and had it intercepted by Nathaniel Johnson on just the third play of the contest.
Starting its first drive at Salesianum's 34-yard line, Poly took three plays to take a 6-0 lead on a 23-yard run by Beaman.
Then a see-saw battle began as the Sals quickly countered to tie the game at 7. Salesianum running back Matt Nelson's 22-yard )) touchdown run finished off the game-tying 10-play, 80-yard charge.