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 Long Beach Poly football team is looking forward to its most highly-anticipated season in more than a decade, as the Jackrabbits have returned to the national rankings with several top recruits still on the roster for 2023. The Jackrabbits have put together nine of their ten games for the upcoming season, and it’s a schedule that fits the hype and expectations around the resurgent program.
The Jackrabbits will travel to Hawaii for a “double zero week” game, and renew contracts with nationally-ranked Mission Viejo and Serra, with plans currently underway for an additional out-of-state trip against a national program that are still being worked out, according to head coach Stephen Barbee.
“We’re really excited to have two out of state games and to play against nationally-ranked, quality opponents,” he said. “Three of our four nonleague games will be against nationally-ranked teams. We’re excited to play in games like that.”
The Hawaii trip will be to the big island of Hawaii, where the Jackrabbits will play Hilo High on August 11. Barbee liked the idea of taking his team out of state, which they’d planned to do prior to the COVID-19 pandemic canceling the original 2020 slate of games. Going to the big island instead of Oahu means his team can get the benefit of a Hawaii trip without the headaches of having 80 teenagers in Honolulu and Waikiki.
“We’re looking forward to a great family trip to the islands,” said Barbee. “That’s going to be a special thing for our team.”
That game will take place early, a week before most teams in California start playing, since Hawaii begins their season earlier in August. After returning home from that out-of-state trip, Poly will return home and have a bye week August 18, when most of the state is opening its schedule.
The Jackrabbits have another out-of-state game against an elite team going in the August 25 week, but Barbee said sponsorships and plans are still being finalized, and he’s not allowed to give specifics.
After that, the Jackrabbits host Mission Viejo at Veterans Memorial Stadium and then travel to Serra for a pair of highly-anticipated SoCal nonleague contests. Poly played to a signature win against Mission Viejo last year that the Diablos will be hungry to avenge, and the Jackrabbits’ games against Serra have been SoCal classics for the last several years.
After that will be the Moore League schedule, with Poly traveling to Lakewood, having a bye week, then hosting Millikan at Vets in what will be a highly-anticipated game likely to decide the league championship between two talent-packed local public school programs.
Poly hosts Wilson, travels to Cabrillo, hosts Compton, then travels to Jordan to close the season.
Poly will bring a loaded roster into the 2023 schedule, with their only major holes at offensive line, where they graduated four multiple-year starters and will need to reload with young, unproven talent or transfers. Offensively, they’re led by star recruit QB Darius Curry, fresh off an incredible junior campaign.
Curry will have weapons around him including a loaded receiving corps with Jason Robinson, Jadyn Robinson, Jordan Malau’ulu, Ezekiel Orozco, Charles Clinton, Luke Buggs, Kamarie Smith, and Titus Bordeaux all returning. Poly will also feature a talented stable of running backs with Joshua “Noodles” Cason and Xavier Jones looking like a thunder and lightning duo, and the introduction of rising sophomore Malachi Dawson, who is currently about to start his freshman season of track looking like perhaps the fastest ninth grader in California.
Defensively the Jackrabbits will be led by star linebacker recruit Dylan Williams, who will be surrounded with veteran talent including Cason, Isaac Johnson, Timmy Tuiagamoa, Toa and Troy Tamasoa and others.
Just as exciting for Barbee as all the returning starters and scholarship-offered players is that almost his entire coaching staff will return as well. Longtime assistant Daniel Singh has been elevated to defensive coordinator which drew a positive reaction from Poly players and staff on social media.
“It’s a veteran team with a veteran coaching staff which you always feel good about,” Barbee said. “We’re looking forward to getting out there and competing.”
LONG BEACH POLY 2023 SCHEDULE
August 11: @ Hilo Hawaii
Aug 25: TBD
9/1: vs. Mission Viejo (Vets)
9/8: @ Serra
9/15: @ Lakewood
9/29: vs. Millikan (Vets)
10/6: vs. Wilson (Vets)
10/13: @ Cabrillo
10/20: vs. Compton (Vets)
10/27: @ Jordan