Long Beach Poly was playing as the road team at Veterans Memorial Stadium in a game that Lakewood was hosting while their campus field is renovated–but the Jackrabbits looked right a home in their regular season finale, defeating the Lancers 56-0 in dominant fashion.
The Jackrabbits looked so good that their head coach’s only critique was that the score got lopsided too quickly.
“I would have liked to have been able to play our starters a little more, but it is what it is,” said Poly coach Stephen Barbee. “I think the reps we did get, they executed to a tee–in all three facets of the game, we executed tonight.”
Poly’s offense scored at will and had done all of its scoring by halftime, with backups in and the clock running for the entire second half. The Jackrabbits defense allowed just six total yards to the Lakewood offense. And Poly’s special teams were perfect in converting extra points and also produced a blocked punt and a blocked field goal attempt. The win clinched another Moore League championship for Poly, who haven’t lost a league game on the field since 2009. The Jackrabbits now await their playoff fate, with CIF Southern Section brackets slated to be released Sunday morning; Poly is looking like a low Division 3 or high Division 4 team based on the CalPreps rankings. With where they were Friday night, they’d be No. 15 in Division 3, traveling to Foothill. EDIT: Based on Friday night’s movement, we’re predicting a No. 16 seeding in Division 3 for Poly, with a first-game road trip to Etiwanda.
“We’ll take a look at CalPreps tomorrow,” said Barbee. “Speculate all you want, at this point we don’t care what division we’re in or who we’re playing. We just want to continue to play week by week.”
The Jackrabbits fumbled the ball away on their first play, with Lakewood’s Travis Perryman recovering. But after a three-and-out for the Lancers offense, Poly sophomore Josh “Noodles” Cason blocked a Lakewood punt, and Poly’s Dylan Williams recovered. Poly QB Shea Kuykendall hit sophomore USC commit Jason Robinson for a 42 yard score on the next play.
Poly’s next possession ended in a Devin Samples run for a touchdown, and then Jalen Johnson intercepted Lakewood’s QB and returned it for a score on the next drive, making it 21-0 just five minutes into the game. Nick Kelly ran for Poly’s next score, before Kuykendall found Robinson again to make it 35-0 early in the second quarter.
The other Poly scores were Kuykendall passes to Marcel Lineberger and Kelly, as well as a Cason interception returned for a touchdown.
Johnson said his team was looking forward to the playoffs.
“We’re excited, we’re ready to be done playing these Moore League teams,” he said. “We’re ready to play for something bigger. It was very important to stay focused, to take everything serious at practice. We had to keep saying we’re not practicing for Lakewood, we’re practicing for the playoffs.”
Kuykendall finished 9/11 for 175 yards and four scores, and Robinson hauled in three catches for 81 yards and two scores.