In 1993, Poly High became the first Baltimore City school to play in the state public schools finals. Two decades later, the Engineers believed they have the pieces in place for a title charge.

Engineers coach Roger Wrenn has his most athletic squad since he arrived at the Cold Spring Lane school five seasons ago after a long and successful stint at Patterson. Wrenn got to see some of those parts at work Saturday during an eight-team scrimmage at Calvert Hall College.

“We were real pleased,” said Wrenn. “We started real rocky in the very first segment, but played well offensively and defensively.”

The Engineers (9-2 in 2009), who lost to Franklin in the Class 3A North Region playoffs, averaged 31 points per game in 2009. They could surpass that mark in 2010 behind a talented and explosive nucleus.

Durrell Milbourn, who played major minutes behind the now graduated Antoine Goodson, will call the signals. Milbourn filled in for an injured Goodson and helped Poly to victory over rival City College at M&T Bank Stadium last season.

The Engineers’ backfield maybe the best in the city league, led by senior Gabriel Ali-El, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last fall. Junior Jamal Chappell who Wrenn calls “a speed guy,” added another 500-plus yards on the ground last season.

Dexter Davis, a transfer from Gilman, provides another dimension. Davis was a starter last season in the Greyhounds’ backfield along with quarterback Darius Jennings, who’s arguably the area’s top player.

roger wrennComing off a strong combine season which put him on the radar of several Division I programs, junior split end Donovan Riley will be the Engineers’ top receiving threat. Senior Paul Taylor, a physical specimen at 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, and Charles Muse (5-11, 245) will anchor the line.

“We got some exceptional playmakers on offense,” said Wrenn.

Arnel Farmer (5-11, 240) and Alfons McQuaige (6-1, 275) heads up a deep defensive line which includes senior Aaron Taylor (5-11, 270), juniors Paul Lai (6-2, 225), George Gillen (5-11, 202) and Cardinal Gibbons transfer Artemis Davis (5-11, 210). Seniors Stacy Stovall (6-0, 182) and Mikal Davis (6-1, 173) spearhead the linebacking unit.

The Engineers’ non-league slate including a season opening trip to Prince George’s County Largo and will host Calvert Hall College, which is expected to contend for the MIAA A Conference crown. League matches ending the regular season with Dunbar and City College will likely tell whether Poly is ready for a deep postseason run in Class 3A.

“We don’t want to be good, we want to be great,” said Riley. “It all starts with the weakest link.”

“We have a lot of players in the skill positions; we have to find a way to get them the ball,” said Taylor. “We’re looking for a state championship.”