Heading into overtime Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium, City College quarterback Mike Bond was content to take what Poly's defense gave him.
"Don't force anything," Bond said. "I just tried to take it play by play."
The 5-foot-8 sophomore made the most of those plays, finding receiver Melvin Scott III for an 8-yard touchdown pass in double-overtime, then running in the two-point conversion. When the Black Knights — who had led by two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter — then denied Poly's two-point conversion attempt moments later, they had survived for a 30-28 win before an announced 5,899 in the 128th meeting between the schools.
City (6-4) now has won five straight in the series, its longest winning streak in the rivalry since taking six in a row from 1964 to 1969. Poly (5-5) still holds a 62-60-6 all-time lead in the series, believed to be the second-oldest continuous public school football rivalry in the nation.
"We need two more to tie the whole series — that's what it means," City coach Daryl Wade said. "It's big. We have a young team, so these guys have a chance to go at it again, and that's big for the school."
Though both teams already had been eliminated from state playoff contention, the game was as emotional as any in recent series history.
Following a play early in the second quarter, benches cleared and the game erupted into a wild brawl, with several players throwing punches. Police and coaches rushed the field in a bid to regain order, and the game was halted for more than 10 minutes.
"Nobody was hurt. It was a bad situation, but we talked to the kids and we moved right past it," Wade said. "Nobody was penalized, so it didn't hurt either team. It was time to just move forward."
K'Ron Hines rushed for 145 yards on 19 carries for Poly, which scored two touchdowns in the final 11:22 of regulation to force overtime.
Early on, however, this game was all City.
The Knights opened the game with a 14-play drive, punctuated by 36 yards rushing from Jamaine Jeter (22 carries for 99 yards). The drive, however, stalled with an incomplete pass on fourth-and 4 from the 8.
Later in the half, however, their second big drive of the half struck paydirt.
The drive, interrupted by the brawl following a 25-yard keeper by Bond with 8:29 left in the half, was extended when fullback Keon Moore ran for a key first down on a fake punt from the Poly 38.
Eight plays later, Moore scored on an inside handoff from the 4, and Bond rolled out and found DeAndre Thomas wide open for the two-point conversion, giving City an 8-0 lead 2:13 before halftime.
City extended its lead to 16-0 when Bond faked a handoff and dashed 52 yards through a huge hole with 11:36 to play in the game.
That lead seemed secure before Poly's Hines returned the ensuing kickoff 78 yards to put the Engineers on the board.
"It was a terrible momentum shift," Wade said. "We scored, which should've given us the momentum, but then we kick off and they run it back. I don't think we bounced back from that."
After City was forced to punt, Poly quickly tied the game on DeVone Stubbs' 23-yard run with 4:49 left.
In overtime, City had lost the momentum, but not the fight.
"We wanted to keep fighting," Jeter said. "We couldn't just go out there and lose."
Each team scored on its first overtime possession, but failed to convert a two-point conversion.
Following Bond's touchdown pass and conversion run in double-overtime, Poly pulled to within two when Stubbs found Tyree Bethel on the right side of the end zone. But the Engineers' bid to force another overtime fell incomplete, setting off a wild celebration on the City sideline.
"It's a good accomplishment for our seniors," Bond said. "Going out with a bang."
(at M&T Bank Stadium)
Poly 0 0 0 16 6 6 -- 28
City 8 0 0 8 6 8 -- 30
C-Moore 4 run (Bond pass to Thomas)
C-Bond 52 run (Bond pass to Thomas)
P-Hines 78 kickoff return (Harvey run)
P- Stubbs 23 run (Sutton run)
C-Jeter 10 run (run failed)
P-White 12 pass from Stubbs (run failed)
C-Scott 8 pass from Bond (Bond run)
P-Bethel 10 pass from Harvey (pass failed)