AMBOY – There’s nothing like a long scoring drive to steal the momentum back after things get a little tight.
The Polo Marcos used a 15-play drive to suck 8:28 off the clock and turn a two-point lead into a 36-28 win over Amboy on Friday night at The Harbor.
“We weren’t going to fold,” said sophomore Bock Soltow, whose 3-yard touchdown run capped the epic drive. “The coaches told us to get back in the game, and we just started pushing like crazy. We didn’t want to lose this game, so we took the momentum back and showed what we’ve got.”
Prior to that drive, things were getting a little too close for the Marcos’ comfort. After taking a 30-16 lead into halftime, Polo (3-0) was stopped on its first two drives of the second half.
Amboy (1-2) used that to spark its comeback. Tucker Lindenmeyer’s 38-yard touchdown run made it 30-22, then the Clippers covered 55 yards in eight plays, with Lindenmeyer connecting with Brennan Blaine for a 27-yard scoring strike on fourth and 10.
A second straight missed two-point conversion still left the Marcos in front 30-28, but Amboy had turned the momentum in its favor.
“It was the coaches. They made us believe that we were still in the game, that we could come back,” Lindenmeyer said. “It was a really good third quarter; we came out strong and fought back.”
But Polo had the answer, marching 61 yards on that 15-play drive by converting three third downs before Soltow crashed in from 3 yards out on a fourth-and-inches play.
But the Clippers still had life after stuffing Soltow on the conversion run, keeping it a one-score game at 36-28.
“That’s what kept us in the game, kept us fighting,” Lindenmeyer said. “We knew we had a chance, only down eight instead of 10.”
But Polo forced Amboy to go three-and-out and punt from its own 40-yard line. Still, the Clippers got the ball back after forcing a Polo punt, taking over at the Marcos’ 49 with 2:12 to play.
But after an 11-yard run by Lindenmeyer got Amboy to the Polo 38, he and Blaine got their signals crossed on a pass play. Lindenmeyer threw an out up the sideline, while Blaine cut the route back to the inside. Soltow read the throw and intercepted it along the Polo sideline.
“I was watching the wide receiver the whole time, hip-to-hip with him, and I knew as soon as I saw him look up, the ball was coming to me,” Soltow said. “I knew I had it. He shifted to the left, and the ball came to me, it was just perfect.”
“It was just a miscommunication,” Lindenmeyer said. “Neither of us was ready for what the other one did, and it turned out to be huge in their favor.”
Avery Grenoble got the ball three straight plays for Polo, and broke off a 15-yard run on third-and-4, sealing the victory.
“First down, that’s all I was thinking,” Grenoble said. “When we got that big pick from Brock, I said ‘We’ve got to finish this now, or they’re going to have another chance and it’s going to be a close one.’ I knew I was getting the ball, and I told myself that I had to get the first down. I just kept driving. It was great blocking from everyone on the line, so I just did what I had to do because they did their part.”
Amboy opened the game with a 46-yard drive, but a first-down pass was fumbled after the catch at the Polo 23. Soltow sprinted 77 yards for a touchdown on the Marcos’ first play from scrimmage for an 8-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
“The first play, with Brock breaking the big run, it was our lead blockers,” Grenoble said. “We saw their linebackers weren’t going up and filling, so we could get up o them, and Brock saw the hole and hit it hard, got one-on-one with the corner, and we like to have that because most fo the time it gives us a good chance to break a long run. It was a great start to set the tone right away.
But Jordan Gulley returned the ensuing kickoff 65 yards for a tying touchdown.
Polo then went 59 yards in nine plays, with Soltow scoring from the 3 for a 16-8 lead.
Amboy had the answer again, as a 20-yard run by Kye Koch set up Joe Quest’s 1-yard TD on a fullback dive to tie it at 16.
The Marcos then went 60 yards in six plays, converting a fourth-and-inches at midfield before Grenoble broke off a 46-yard scoring run two plays later for a 24-16 lead.
The Marcos stopped Amboy’s next two drives in downs, and after punting it once themselves, they closed the first half with a nine-play, 63-yard drive that saw two third-down conversions before Tyler Merdian hit Soltow down the field over a leaping defender for a 35-yard scoring strike on fourth-and-6 with 9.4 seconds left in the half.
Grenoble then intercepted Lindenmeyer’s heave downfield on the final play of the half.
Grenoble ended up with 154 yards on 25 carries, while Soltow had 146 yards on 20 rushes.
Lindenmeyer led Amboy with 127 yards on 14 carries, and also threw for 43 yards. Blaine caught three passes for 35 yards.