The Long Beach Poly team was in a celebratory mood Friday night in Compton. The Jackrabbits beat Compton for the program’s 807th win in history, making Poly the new all-time wins leader in California history, according to Cal-Hi Sports’ record book. The victory officially puts Poly one win up on Bakersfield High. The Jackrabbits dominated every phase of the game in an impressive 49-0 win, which saw the clock run for the entire second half.
“It was great to see us clicking on all cylinders,” said Poly coach Stephen Barbee. “We had a real good week of practice and we ended up dictating the game, which was good. I liked seeing us match the physicality of a great line, it was a good test to get ready for the playoffs.”
The Jackrabbits have outscored their five Moore League opponents 259-6 this year, and will go for history at home against Jordan next week. If they can put up a fifth consecutive shutout, they’ll tie the record for fewest points allowed in a full Moore League season. Friday’s game against Compton highlighted a challenge for the Jackrabbits in preparing for the playoffs. Few teams in the Moore League have been able to give them even a full game. The clock ran for the entire second half against Compton, and for the second, third, and fourth quarters last week against Cabrillo. Even against a playoff-eligible team like Compton, Poly only ran 21 offensive plays (six of which were touchdowns) and had just eight minutes of possession.
“Our mindset is we want to play our starters for three quarters as we get closer to the playoffs, we have to be ready to be able to play full games,” said Barbee. “But I love that when the number twos and threes got in, there was no dropoff.”
Poly linebacker Joshua “Noodles” Cason had a fumble returned for a touchdown against Compton and was part of a defensive effort that shut out their hosts, and gave up less than 100 yards of total offense. Cason said that the Jackrabbits’ best work hasn’t been coming on Friday nights.
“Our game times are really at practice,” he said. “We work harder at practice, the hardest days is practice. These games are just to have fun and help us prepare for the future. But the practices are what are making sure we’re ready for the playoffs. We have to be ready for that road ahead of us.”
Poly certainly looked plenty ready on Friday. They scored a touchdown every time they touched the ball while successfully mastering Compton’s double-wing offense. QB Darius Curry threw 14/18 for 260 yards and six touchdowns, with Jadyn Robinson putting up four catches for 72 yards and two scores, and a touchdown each to Jordan Malau’ulu, Charles Clinton, Karon Green, and Ezekiel Orozco.
Poly’s defense was arguably more impressive, with 15 tackles for a loss, the touchdown from Cason, and two recovered fumbles by Jases Jones, including one for a touchdown after Ionatana Noa blocked a punt.
Ropati Eneliko was outstanding, playing well on Poly’s offensive line and also putting up eight tackles on defense. Linebacker Dylan Williams, who recently decommitted from USC, was a physical terror all night, arriving violently as he put up six tackles. Lineman Phoenix Tusa helped anchor the front for Poly with five tackles and two tackles for a loss.
“This defense is special,” he said. “We don’t turn on each other when times get hard. Our scout team prepares us all week in practice and when we get to the games everything feels easy.”
The leading rusher for Compton was Jeremiah Hall, who had 14 carries for 46 yards, more than half of his team’s offensive total.
Poly (9-0, 5-0) will try to make history at Veterans Memorial Stadium next week hosting Jordan and stud running back Jordan Washington, while Compton is in effectively a playoff game against Lakewood on the road.