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Football Long Beach Poly Wilson

PREVIEW: Long Beach Poly at Wilson Football

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.

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

The Big Game is happening again tonight as Wilson hosts Long Beach Poly in a renewal of the oldest rivalry in Long Beach sports. These two teams have been playing each other annually since 1932, and will play for the 90th time this evening at Wilson. The last time the teams played at Wilson’s Stephens Field it was a sellout that Poly won 42-24. The Jackrabbits have not lost to Wilson since 1991.

This year, the Jackrabbits are the No. 25 team in the nation and the Bruins are 2-4, although at 2-1 in the Moore League they’re still very much in the playoff hunt.

“I’m sure there will be a big crowd and we’ll sell our side out,” said Poly coach Stephen Barbee. “There’s a great historic rivalry there, we’re right down the street from each other, and we love playing there in front of that great crowd. It’s an exciting week for us. We love that atmosphere, that’s what high school football is all about.”

Long Beach Poly Offense vs Wilson Defense

The Jackrabbits offense has been mostly built on running the ball this season, but Poly enters this game without several of its top backs, with Devin Samples and sophomore breakout Xavier Jones both sidelined. Poly’s offensive line has proven it can run it on anyone, and QB Darius Curry and receiver Jason Robinson have had a great connection. With Raiden Brown done for the year, the Jackrabbits are looking to see who from their deep receiving corps steps up as Curry’s other favorite target in his absence. Wilson has been prone to giving up big pass plays this season and will need to prevent the Jackrabbits from taking the top off.

Linebacker James Ma’ae is an all-league level talent and he and lineman Curtis Whiten will both have to have great games to slow Poly down.

Wilson Offense vs Poly Defense

The Bruins have found their footing on offense the last two weeks with Christian Chapman looking like a legit back for Wilson, averaging 134 yards per game. QB Ian Bond has also not been afraid to run it, and used his feet to score a pair of touchdowns last week.

Poly’s defense has been successful stopping the run so far this season, and totally shut down Millikan’s ground game last week–Wilson will have its hands full trying to move it on the ground, but they’ll need to get it done that way to keep the Poly defensive line from pinning its ears back in the pass rush.

Poly (6-0, 2-0) will host Cabrillo for homecoming next week while Wilson (2-4, 2-1) will travel to Jordan next 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.