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Flag Football: Long Beach Poly Shuts Out Jordan And Lakewood

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly is sponsored by Bryson Financial.

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

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On the first drive of the afternoon, in the first of two games for the Long Beach Poly flag football team, Elle Dennison set the tone. The senior defensive back intercepted a Jordan High pass attempt, starting off an impressive day for Dennison and the Poly defense on Tuesday at Lakewood High School.

Dennison would later pick off another Jordan pass–then another–to rack up an eye-popping three interceptions in the first half alone. By the time the final whistle sounded, the Jackrabbits had earned a pair of shutout wins against Jordan and Lakewood, with Dennison recording four of Poly’s seven interceptions as a team.

“Our defense played well, and they’ve been playing extremely well in practice,” said Poly head coach Rob Shock after the wins. “For us offensively, playing against a defense like this makes us better. We have to execute on offense, and we’ll be looking at things–we’ve got to make better plays and move the ball more efficiently as a team. But our defense stepped up in both games, they played well, and I give them all the praise for keeping those zeros on the board.”

Dennison had an unbelievable afternoon with four combined interceptions across both games, but her brief foray to the offensive side of the ball didn’t go as planned. She landed awkwardly after going up for a catch and left the game with an injured wrist, but still did more than enough to be the team’s MVP for the day.

“It felt really good, I surprised myself,” said Dennison, who also revealed her secret to success. “I think it’s because I had gloves on, I usually don’t wear gloves. But I really think it’s because I had gloves and I was getting a little bit more coverage going deeper. I could really see when the ball was coming down and I was able to break on it.”

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Poly’s offense had Aaya McLyn back as the quarterback, and she tossed a pair of first-half TDs to put Poly up 14-0 on Jordan. Freshman Dominique Wheeler opened the scoring with an impressive catch along the back of the end zone, then back-to-back passes from McLyn to Janelle Morris led the ‘Rabbits to the end zone.

Morris added a second TD after halftime, catching a ball in the middle of the field and then weaving her way through the Panthers defense for a 60-yard score. Leah Salas recorded an interception in the closing seconds to secure the 21-0 win for Poly.

J-Town was led by senior Asia Edwards who had an early interception and made a number of nice grabs and runs out of the backfield. Katelyn Garcia and Micah Lemons also had interceptions for the Panthers, who are now 2-1 in Moore League action this season.

“They were aggressive, they played hard throughout the game, and I just let them know, turnovers hurt us today,” said Jordan head coach AJ Luke. “Turnovers hurt us, but I was just happy that they were competitive the whole time. And we were able to put in some of, I call them our rookies, and they did a good job, they didn’t back down … So this is all learning for our kids, and I’m proud of them.”

Hosts Lakewood lined up against Poly in game two, and again the Jackrabbit defense put on an impressive showing. The green & gold picked up a 19-0 win, giving them two wins over the Lancers exactly a week apart.

Poly struck first on a 60-yard TD strike from McLyn to Tiare Ho-Ching, who hauled in the deep ball, made one quick turn and outran the Lakewood defense. After an interception by Caitlyn Jung, McLyn hit running back Neela Bagley on a swing pass up the right sideline and Bagley found her way into the end zone to make it 13-0 Poly.

The Jackrabbits added a third score as McLyn connected with freshman Kalianna Soth for a score just before halftime, giving Poly the 19-0 edge.

Lakewood played even with Poly in the second half, and had a few drives go deep into Jackrabbit territory before stalling out. Dionna Bradley was a playmaker at quarterback, with Jayla Baker hauling in the longest pass play of the day for the Lancers.

Those two nearly linked up for a Lakewood score, but a deflected pass ended up in the arms of Dennison for an interception in the endzone. The game would end on Poly’s third pick of the game as a deflected pass fell in the arms of Kiele Ho-Ching.

Moore League flag football resumes next Tuesday as Poly will visit Wilson, Jordan hosts Millikan, and Lakewood will host Cabrillo for a doubleheader.

VIDEO: Long Beach Poly vs. Jordan & Lakewood, Flag Football
PHOTOS: Long Beach Poly vs. Jordan, 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.