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.
Long Beach Poly’s 17-3 win over Serra felt like a landmark game in many ways, as the Jackrabbits got over the hump against the Cavaliers thanks to an outstanding defensive performance and a punishing round game. But the televised victory meant a lot more than just settling a score with Serra or improving to 2-0. The win was also the 800th in the history of the Poly football program, according to the562.org’s record books and verified by the official state record-books kept by Cal-Hi Sports.
The Jackrabbits are just the second high school football team in California history to reach 800 victories, trailing only Bakersfield High, which reached the milestone last year.
“It’s a testament to a lot of hard work by a lot of players over a long time,” said Poly coach Stephen Barbee.
The entire team signed the game ball from their win over Serra, which Poly boys’ athletic director Rob Shock said will now take its place in the school’s trophy display case in the 100 building.
The Jackrabbits now find themselves embroiled in a chase for state supremacy, as they only trail Bakersfield by three wins, 803-800, with eight games left in the regular season. The Drillers finished at .500 last season, meaning there’s a very real chance Poly could pass Bakersfield in 2022 if they keep up their winning ways. With the Jackrabbits not having lost a Moore League game on the field since 2009, and Bakersfield struggling in their league last year, history is absolutely in play for Poly this season.
It’s been a historic couple of years for the Poly sports program as a whole. The Poly boys’ basketball team became the state’s all-time leading wins leader last year (with no plans on looking back) and with Peyton Watson drafted into the NBA and new Poly NFL players like Jack Jones and Matt Corral, the school continues to pad its all-time pro product lead in California as well. The school also won four CIF-SS titles last year to run their CIF-SS title count to 127, the best in the section.
Now they have a chance to add the title of all-time California leader in football wins–an incredible accomplishment from an inner-city school in Long Beach that is significantly less-funded than almost any of the other top teams in the state.
There is some (slight) debate about whether or not Poly has already claimed the title of all-time wins leader. The Cal-Hi Sports record book counts 20 rugby wins in Bakersfield’s football total, because the school replaced football with rugby for a few years ago several decades back. Cal-Hi Sports has long counted those as football wins. In any event, with the Jackrabbits breathing down the Drillers’ necks in 2022, they’re sure to have a shot at catching them on the official list before this season is out.
For those wondering how far ahead of the competition the Jackrabbits are, while they’re just a nose behind Bakersfield, the third-highest win total for a California football team entering the 2022 season is 672 wins by Dos Pablos, more than 100 wins (or 10 perfect 10-0 seasons) behind the Jackrabbits.
The Poly football team first took the field in 1908 (13 years after the school was founded) and has been winning ever since–now they have a legitimate shot of the top of the list in California.