Every step forward the Poly Prep football team took last Saturday, it took four steps back.
After every positive play made, the Blue Devils immediately made a costly mistake — like a bad snap that forced a huge loss of yardage, or giving up a long conversion on third down. The result was a 16–0 loss to the Hun School (Princeton, N.J.) at Homecoming on Sept. 26.
Poly Prep managed just 36 total yards and five first downs. It had no answer defensively for Hun running back Imamu Mayfield, who had 203 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns.
“Not too many positives today,” said Poly Prep coach Dino Mangiero. “We didn’t block well, we didn’t tackle well, we just didn’t play well.”
The loss could have been even worse if not for three interceptions of Hun quarterback Simon Vadas by the Poly defense. Fara’ad McCombs. Tegha Egbiri, and Rutgers-bound linebacker Elias Reynolds each had one, but on each occasion the Blue Devils failed to take advantage.
“We’ve just got to come together as a team and get over it,” McCombs said. “Come back next week stronger than today.”
The Hun School did capitalize on a fumble by Poly Prep quarterback Salim Turner-Muhammad in the first quarter, as it drove down the field for 58 yards and broke open the scoring on a nine-yard touchdown run by Mayfield. The Raiders followed with a two-point conversion to make it 8–0.
“There’s just no intensity,” Egbiri said. “We have a great d-line, but for some reason we had no intensity coming out the gate. That has to get better.”
Poly Prep (2–1) allowed Mayfield to score a five-yard touchdown on the Hun’s opening possession of the second half, which was followed by another successful two-point conversion. After pushing into Hun territory on the next drive, Turner-Muhammad took another sack after a snap gone awry. Miscommunication on the offensive line was a big reason for several bad snaps and huge losses for sacks for Poly.
Mangiero tried to spark his offense late in the fourth quarter by putting in junior quarterback Robert Kollmer in place of Turner-Muhammad, but Poly could only muster a three-and-out and an interception in its last two drives of the game.
“We’ve just got to play better,” Mangiero said. “There’s nothing really that you can change — practice better, play better. We’re going to go over mistakes and just try to play better next time.”