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Football Long Beach Poly

PREVIEW: Long Beach Poly vs Clovis Football

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Poly alum Jayon Brown and PlayFair Sports Management. 

We’ll have live updates including frequent video posts from the game tonight so come back this evening to check in on the game! There are no legit livestreams available.

Long Beach Poly football is opening the 2022 season by taking a five hour drive to the surface of the sun. The Jackrabbits are heading up to Clovis to face Clovis High in a Thursday, 7 p.m. game. The ocean breeze will be far behind, with an extreme heat advisory in effect in Clovis all Thursday and a forecasted kickoff temperature of 102 degrees.

“It’s going to be hot, no doubt, we’ve been stressing staying hydrated and prepared to our kids for two weeks,” said Poly coach Stephen Barbee. “They’re a quality team with a new coach who’s bringing them a lot of energy and we’re looking forward to getting to take a trip up there as a team.”

The heat will be the biggest wild card of the day, with Clovis accustomed to practicing and competing in 100+ degree temperatures, and Poly used to Long Beach summer heat, which is a good 20 degrees cooler. Clovis is the lowest-ranked CalPreps team Poly will play this nonleague schedule, and on paper the Jackrabbits look like the better team. For any Poly fans worried they’ll overlook Clovis, a Clovis player filmed a video during the Summer saying, “Long Beach Poly y’all better be ready, and I mean that disrespectfully.” It’s been a topic of conversation among the Jackrabbit players in the last two weeks.

The big question among Poly fans is if the Jackrabbits can get off to a fast start this year, something they’ve struggled to do over the last couple of years. They’re 5-8 in the nonleague schedule over their last four seasons, with early-season injuries and transfers in the sit-out period partially responsible. Poly is healthy and has almost its entire fully available going into their season opener.

Offensively, the Jackrabbits looked like they were in midseason form in last week’s scrimmage with Corona Centennial and Mater Dei. They scored three touchdowns in four possessions against the Huskies, with a goal-line turnover on the other possession. The running game looked strong with Devin Samples and Karon Green both ripping big carries behind a Tyson Ruffins-led offensive line. 

Quarterback Darius Curry was sharp and his connection with transfer receiver Raiden Brown produced multiple scores. He’ll have Brown, Jason and Jadyn Robinson, Jordan Malau’ulu, Luke Buggs, Charles Clinton, and Ezekiel Orozco all available to play this week. It’s a high-powered offense and likely to cause Clovis problems, with its ability to run in a power look and throw either quick hits or downfield strikes. Poly’s offensive line depth took a hit with a projected starter leaving for Los Al the week before the season started, but the Jackrabbits are still deeper up front than they’ve been in years.

Defensively, Poly didn’t look as sharp in their scrimmage last week as their offense did—the reverse of the early-season dynamic in recent years. That defense was smarting after the scrimmage and is looking to make a statement in its opening game

Up front, the defensive line is stout with Arizona commit Dom Lolesio and returning starter Phoenix Tusa; the linebackers are deep and physical led by USC commit Dylan Williams and returning starters Josh “Noodles” Cason and Ike Mikaele. Poly’s defensive backfield is a little banged up by still has big-time talent on the field in LSU commit Daylen Austin and safety Timmy Tuiagamoa.

The Jackrabbits will face Serra at Veterans Memorial Stadium next Friday at 7:30 p.m. in a televised game as Bally Sports’ Game of the Week.

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.