Less than a week after discovering its loss in the final regular-season game was erased by a Poly forfeit, City got the opportunity to extend its perfect season further.
The visiting Knights did so yesterday by rallying from a six-point halftime deficit to down Potomac, 20-6, in the first round of the Class 2A football playoffs.
City, the No. 5 seed, moves on to meet top-ranked and top-seeded Hereford in the semifinals Friday.
City (11-0) needed only 15 seconds in the third quarter to even the score, as quarterback Lamar Manigo connected with senior receiver Phillip Harris for an 80-yard score on the first play of the half. The Knights followed by swallowing up Potomac for a three-and-out and using the next 10:37 to launch an 18-play, 99 1/2 -yard drive that culminated in Manigo's 1-yard sneak into the end zone.
"We knew we didn't play our best in the first half, and they were still only up 6-0," Manigo said. "So we knew if we came out hard in the second half, it was going to go our way."
The Knights certainly were flat in the first half, allowing Potomac (9-2) a 57-yard touchdown drive on the game's first possession. Anthony Kirby rushed 10 yards to put the Braves on the scoreboard, and City spent the next 22 minutes trying to overcome its own miscues.
Twice, the Knights failed to convert on fourth down in the red zone, their offense sputtering behind a jittery Manigo, who threw an interception and fumbled the ball to squash two more promising drives.
But Potomac, abandoning the run in the face of future Maryland Terrapin Nathaniel Clayton (six tackles, one sack), fared no better as quarterback Harold Dorman went from 5-for-9 in the first half to 3-for-11 in the second.
In the fourth quarter, the Braves had 12 plays, each of which was capped by a pass attempt or a quick sack. Junior linebacker Devin Burton led City's defense with three sacks.
The Knights, meanwhile, found their ground attack. Fullback Brandon Hardy had 18 carries for 41 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown, and senior Antoine Lewis added 66 yards on 14 carries in spot duty. And Manigo came to life sometime during halftime, when his coach got into his head.
"We moved the ball in the first half, we just didn't put it in," said City coach George Petrides. "We opened it up in the second half, threw the ball a little more, and defensively we just stuffed them."
City 0 0 6 14 - 20
Potomac 6 0 0 0 - 6
P-Kirby 10 run (pass failed) C-Harris 80 pass from Manigo (pass failed) C-Manigo 1 run (run failed) C-Hardy 4 run (Harris pass from Manigo)