Roger Wrenn’s heart is still with Patterson.
Wrenn, the Clippers’ football coach of 32 years, said he still feels as much a part of the Patterson program now as he did when he was coaching. But for the last six years, Wrenn has commanded the sideline at Poly, after choosing to move on from the school where his legend was created.“It’s hard for me to look across the field and see the blue and white,” Wrenn said.
This past Friday, Wrenn’s Engineers clashed with the Clippers and Poly escaped with a 44-34 victory.
“We’ve struggled offensively but we’ve been playing real well defensively,” Wrenn said. “We thought this could be a shootout if we played well offensively. It turned out it was. It just seemed the last team with the ball would win.”
Poly got a big game from quarterback Darrell Milburn, who scored three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing). Running back Jamal Chappell also ran for a touchdown and scored on a 77-yard punt return.
The win keeps Poly atop the Baltimore City League Division I ranks.
The game was tied 16-8 at halftime before Patterson struck early in the third quarter. Junior wide receiver/safety Kyle Jones recovered an onside kick to start the second half, which Patterson converted into a touchdown six plays later. Quarterback Craig Oliver punched in a 1-yard touchdown to cut Poly’s lead to 16-14.
On Poly’s next possession, Milburn threw a screen pass which was deflected into the arms of Clippers defender Davonte Ellis, who returned the interception for a touchdown. Running back Derwin Beasley, who led the Clippers in rushing with 12 carries for 68 yards, ran in the 2-point conversion to put Patterson ahead 22-16.
From there, it was tug-of-war. Poly answered with a nine-play drive that resulted in a touchdown and 2-point conversion, to go up 24-22. Oliver then hit receiver Nyme Manns for a 66-yard touchdown to put Patterson up 28-24. Poly’s Chappell scored a touchdown to put the Engineers up 30-24. But on Patterson’s next possession, Oliver threw a pass intended for Manns that was intercepted.
The Engineers converted the turnover into points with Milburn running for a 62-yard score, increasing the lead to 38-28. Oliver answered with a slant to Manns, which went 50 yards for a touchdown, cutting Poly’s lead to 38-34. But Poly running back Priestly Shuler sealed the game with a 45-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
Poly did most of its damage running the ball up the middle in the second half.
“We knew what was coming and credit to them, they blocked well and executed well,” Patterson coach Corey Johnson said. We just couldn’t stop the run up the middle.”
Oliver finished the game 7-20 for 189 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Manns caught all three of Oliver’s touchdown throws and accounted for 177 of Oliver’s 189 passing yards. Oliver didn’t play defense after injuring his wrist last week in a win over City College.
“We had a good game but some crucial turnovers hurt us at the end,” Manns said. “We have to always come out to play and play hard all game. In the fourth quarter it’s time to step it up and we didn’t do it. In practice we’ll work on that.”
Before Poly played Patterson, the Engineers had surrendered only 12 points total for the season. The Clippers almost tripled Poly’s season total of points allowed by scoring 34.
“We can’t score that many points and lose,” Oliver said.
by Jason Butt