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Football: Long Beach Poly Claims League Title With Win Over Lakewood

A Moore League title means something different in every sport. In baseball, whichever team wins the league title celebrates at Blair Field with gloves flying and a big dog pile. After Friday’s regular season finale between Long Beach Poly and Lakewood, the Jackrabbits celebrated with a smattering of light applause. Despite a rough non league schedule, Poly fully expected to win the league, which they did with a 35-13 victory over the Lancers.

With that business dealt with, the Jackrabbits and their fans turn their attention to the CIF Southern Section playoffs, with brackets set to be released on Sunday.

“We’re hitting on all cylinders right now,” said Poly coach Stephen Barbee. “We’re healthy, we’re ready to go. We’re excited for Sunday to see who we’re playing.”

Poly captain and two-way line starter James “Chubba” Maae said his team has been waiting for this moment.

“We’re so excited, who doesn’t want to be in the playoffs?” he asked. “We’re ready, we just have to put it all together. We’ve had games where we ran well and passed well, but we haven’t had a game where we do everything well.”

That certainly wasn’t Friday night’s game, where Poly’s offense was well-rounded, but the defense struggled to get off the field against Lakewood. The Lancers out-possessed Poly 36:13 to 11:47.

“I was happy with how we played offensively,” said Lakewood coach Scott Meyer. “We moved the ball against a good defense.”

The Lancers will finish the season at 4-6 and 3-3 in the Moore League, but look to have a strong shot at an at-large bid when the brackets come out Sunday.

“I hope so,” said Meyer. “We were talking with the team, there’s no more Poly, there’s no Wilson, there’s no Corona del Mar that we’ll see in our division. The goal was to get back in the playoffs, getting this team there would be the first step.”

Poly was led by QB Mehki Jordan’s 138 total yards and two touchdowns, 92 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns from Malachi Rice, and Khilyn Neal, who had a 43-yard reception and a sack. Anthony Parker had 14 tackles in the game, and Bryon Parham had eight tackles plus a takeaway when he stripped a Lakewood ball carrier early in the game.

Lakewood quarterback Gevani McCoy was held to 45 yards passing but ran it for 118 yards and both Lakewood TDs, which came in the fourth quarter. James Voorhies had 46 yards on 14 rushes, and Owen Arnold had another 36.

VIDEO: Long Beach Poly vs. Lakewood Football

PHOTOS: Long Beach Poly vs. Lakewood Football

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.