Football Lakewood Long Beach Poly

Football: Long Beach Poly Grinds Lakewood Down

This week, The562’s coverage is sponsored by Long Beach Gives. Visit to find your cause! Donations will be accepted through Sept. 22.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by JuJu Smith-Schuster and the JuJu Foundation.

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

The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored by J.P. Crawford, Class of 2013.

It wasn’t the crispest effort from Long Beach Poly, but the Jackrabbits still dominated their Moore League opener and improved to a perfect 5-0 at the midway point of the regular season with a big win over Lakewood. The Jackrabbits led 35-0 at halftime and easily held on for a 42-6 win over the Lancers.

“I thought we executed well on offense, defense, and special teams, we got through it to be quite honest,” said Poly coach Stephen Barbee. 

The Jackrabbits couldn’t have looked much sharper in the first quarter, as their offense struck three times–a Darius Curry one-yard TD run, a 52-yard touchdown pass from Curry to Jason Robinson, and a two-yard Karon Green touchdown. Meanwhile the Jackrabbits defense clamped down, and would go on to hold Lakewood to negative two rushing yards in the game.

Poly grew their lead in the second quarter on two TD passes from Curry to Raiden Brown, making it 35-0 at halftime.

In the third, both teams traded punts and turnovers as neither team was able to get going. The Jackrabbits went up 42-0 on a TD pass from Valentino Saenz-Castruita to Ezekiel Orozco early in the fourth quarter, and the Lancers got on the board late in the game as QB Brayden Downen hit Ellis Gibson with 4:25 left in the game. Gibson beat his defender then bobbled the ball a few times in the end zone before securing it.

Curry was 17/29 for 294 yards and three touchdowns, which was especially noteworthy as the performance came on his birthday.

“The win plus the birthday, I got some balloons right here,” said Curry. “To win with my boys, throw some tubs on my birthday, it’s great.”

Curry’s favorite target was once again Jason Robinson, who had eight catches for 177 yards and the long touchdown.

“I feel like our connection’s on point, no miscommunication, no dropped balls,” said Robinson.

Poly outgained Lakewood 456 yards to 141, and Barbee said he didn’t regret taking his starters out in the fourth quarter, even though the Lancers broke up the shutout.

“Everyone knows once people get in the game, I’m not pulling them out, I’m not gonna put the first team back in or anything,” said Barbee. “It’s something that’s earned, it’s great to see the young guys get out there, get in the game, and get some varsity experience.”

The Lancers had some positive things to build on in addition to their touchdown, with QB Brayden Downen going 13/22 for 143 yards, a TD and a pick. Jace Casillas had 10 tackles for Lakewood, and Justin Holt had nine.

Poly (5-0) will have a bye next week then visit Millikan, while Lakewood (1-4) will face Cabrillo.

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.