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Cabrillo Football Jordan Lakewood Long Beach Poly Millikan Wilson

Girls’ Flag Football Plays First Ever Moore League Games at Cabrillo

The562’s coverage of girls’ flag football in 2023-24 is sponsored by the Los Angeles Chargers.

Six Moore League high schools brought their girls’ flag football teams to Cabrillo on Tuesday afternoon, making history with the first set of league games ever played in the brand new sport.

Squads from Cabrillo, Jordan, Lakewood, Millikan, Poly and Wilson played on two different fields on the West Side campus, with great plays and exciting matchups from start to finish. When the dust settled, it was a good day to be from Atlantic Ave. as Jordan and Poly each emerged undefeated.

“We had a mission, we came out with a goal and I asked the girls to play to the standard that I expect of them,” said Poly head coach Rob Shock. “We had some setbacks, we needed to move the ball better, but I think our girls performed, the defense did a great job. They pitched a shutout so … gotta get them some donuts.”

Long Beach Poly has the advantage of being in its second season with a girls’ flag football program, and the experienced and talented Jackrabbits won their only game of the day against Lakewood, 26-0. Poly’s defense swarmed the ball effectively, and senior star Tiare Ho-Ching did a little bit of everything in the 26-0 victory.

“After playing Serra and our preseason games, we kind of have like a big X on our back now. Like we’re the most wanted team in the Moore League,” Ho-Ching said. “So it’s kind of fun to see all the trash talk before the game and then like, actually see it on the field. It’s fun to humble people.”

Ho-Ching opened the scoring with a TD pass to sophomore Neela Bagley, who caught a pair of TDs in the first half. Bagley’s second score was from 40 yards out with time expiring in the first half, as she took a short pass from freshman QB Kenzie Paimany and slipped past defenders along the right sideline all the way to the end zone.

Poly’s defense then had four interceptions in the second half: one from Alex Vallente, one from Cheyanne Clark (who added another in the first half) and two from Ho-Ching. Hers came on consecutive plays, and the first was returned 25 yards for a Poly touchdown. Both INT’s came after a couple big collisions involving Ho-Ching, which she said she used as “fuel” to make a big play. Ho-Ching would later cap the scoring in the final minute with a TD toss to Zadie Kuykendall.

Lakewood played hard throughout and showcased a talented lineup on both sides of the ball. Lancers head coach Leilani Utupo believes that with more experience and more practice time, the Lancers will be able to tap into that potential.

“I think the girls did good, but we have areas to tighten up,” Utupo said. “They’re still learning the game, but we do have athletes out there on the field. Also, we’re just trying to tighten up on the discipline. I think that’s the toughest part is getting the girls to listen and trust the fact that we know what we’re doing as coaches. Once we get past that barrier, I think that we’re going to be a team to look out for.”

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It was also a big day for Long Beach Jordan, as they earned victories over Millikan and Wilson. Senior Asia Edwards was a huge part of both wins, collecting four total TDs to help lead the Northsiders to victory. There was genuine joy permeating from the J-Town sideline throughout the evening, something coach AJ Luke was thrilled to see.

“It made me feel good because they do it in practice,” said Luke of his squad. “They have fun, they treat each other like family, we have team meals, they hang out together. So we kind of built the family and it showed today.”

Edwards caught both TDs in a 12-0 win against Millikan, then added two more TDs in J-Town’s 27-6 triumph over Wilson.

“It feels good, my team and I are just trying to run deep in the Moore League. This is our first season, first time playing football for a lot of players on this team,” said Edwards, who is also the starting point guard on the J-Town basketball team. “This is my first time on a flag football team, but I grew up liking all sports. I was born to like sports, so I’m glad it’s in my blood.”

“But basketball will always have my heart,” Edwards added.

Jordan led 20-0 at halftime against the Bruins, but Wilson was able to score first after the break thanks to an interception by Jordyn Jefferson. With Wilson set up on the Panthers’ 5-yard line, that set up a short TD toss from Jayme Zamora to Coco Gonzalez.

The J-Town defense was able to set up a score of their own as an interception by Micah Lemons led to a 10-yard TD toss from Ceanna Moeller to Edwards, making it a 27-6 final.

Millikan went 1-1 in its two games on Tuesday, bouncing back from the Jordan game to earn a 21-6 victory over Cabrillo. The Rams started out the game with a 60-yard touchdown scamper by Katelyn Torres, as the Jags defense was caught off guard.

Torres later added a second touchdown for Millikan, and Hailey Suttle scored the other TD for the Rams.

On the Cabrillo side, Anaya Richardson made an impressive interception inside her team’s 5-yard line, catching the ball behind the back of intended Millikan receiver Ryleigh Tubbs late in the first half.

The day ended with a thrilling game between Wilson and Cabrillo, as the teams needed overtime to settle it. The Bruins led 20-0 at halftime, thanks to a TD catch from Gonzalez, plus a pair of TDs for Jefferson, which included a one-handed interception returned 40 yards for a score.

Cabrillo steadily answered back in the second half, however, as a long TD run by Jiya Tyson and a Carla Nares TD grab got them back into the game.

The Jags would eventually tie things up with about a minute left in the second half as QB Aariyah Castrejón connected with Sophia Fabrigas for the touchdown to make it 20-20. In overtime, the Jags took their first lead when Jiya Tyson caught a tipped pass in the end zone, then Richardson’s extra point conversion made it 27-20 Cabrillo.

Wilson responded with their overtime possession, as Jayme Zamora connected with her sister, Norah, for a 10-yard touchdown pass. That gave the Bruins a choice–go for the tie and another overtime session, or play for the win. Wilson head coach Duane Haldeman decided to go for two, and Zamora threw a fade pass to Jordyn Jefferson who hauled it in for two points and the win as the Bruins took it, 28-27.

Moore League girls’ flag football will be back in action next Tuesday as Lakewood will host games against both Jordan and Poly while Millikan is set to host Wilson.

VIDEO: Long Beach Girls’ Flag Football
PHOTOS: Moore League Girls’ Flag Football
Tyler Hendrickson
Tyler Hendrickson was born and raised in Long Beach, and started covering sports in his hometown in 2010. After five years as a sportswriter, Tyler joined the athletic department at Long Beach State University in 2015. He spent more than four years in the athletic communications department, working primarily with the Dirtbags baseball program. Tyler also co-authored of The History of Long Beach Poly: Scholars & Champions.