The momentum clearly belonged to Patterson when Poly's offense took the field with 8:01 left in Friday night's game. Patterson had erased a 22-point halftime lead and tied the score with touchdowns on three straight possessions.
But No. 9 Poly quickly settled down. The Engineers made several clutch plays on a 75-yard drive that ended on Jamal Chappell's 2-yard touchdown run with 34.3 seconds remaining, and Poly pulled out a 30-22 victory over No. 14 Patterson in the Baltimore City game at Mervo.
Poly coach Roger Wrenn was proud of how his team shook off blowing the 22-point lead and went to work on that final drive. The Engineers converted a third-and-10, third-and-12 and fourth-and-one (thanks to Patterson jumping offsides) and scored the winning touchdown on third-and-goal.
"What a game," said Wrenn, who coached at Patterson for 32 years before coming to Poly. "Finally, at the end, with our backs against the wall, we gutted it out and beat them."
Poly (4-0, 3-0) appeared to be in total control at halftime. The Engineers held a 22-0 lead as quarterback Darrell Milburn threw touchdown passes to Donovan Riley (11 yards) and Jordon Garrison (14 yards). Riley also caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Garrison as Wrenn brought out some trickery on the final play of the first half.
The second half was a different story, as Patterson (3-1, 2-1) changed up on offense and began going to more quick hand-offs, which Poly had trouble stopping. Anthony Green ran for an 8-yard touchdown on the first Patterson drive.
The Clippers recovered a fumble on Poly's next play and drove again before quarterback Aaron Overton threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Woodard to make it 22-14 with 1:49 left in the third quarter.
Patterson coach Corey Johnson then called for an onsides kick — the Clippers tried three in the second half — and his team recovered. Overton later threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Pete Carter with 8:10 left. The quarterback then hit Woodard for the two-point, game-tying conversion.
But Poly marched back down the field on a 15-play drive. Dexter Davis made one of the big plays when he took a direct snap and ran for 26 yards for a first down to the 6-yard line. Chappell ran in for the touchdown three plays later. Milburn threw a two-point conversion pass to Woodard.
"[Davis] said before the play to just follow me," Chappell said. "That's what I did."
The Engineers just made too many big plays on offense and defense. Riley caught the two touchdown passes but also broke up a possible Patterson touchdown pass on defense and made two catches on the last drive.
"You've got to keep moving forward, and that's what we did," Riley said. "We were getting complacent at [halftime]."
Overton said coming back from a big deficit and then losing at the end made this one even tougher to swallow.
"When they're close, they hurt," Overton said. "This one hurts the most."