The562’s coverage of girls’ flag football in 2023-24 is sponsored by the Los Angeles Chargers.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly is sponsored by Bryson Financial.
From the outset of Tuesday’s game against their rival Wilson Bruins, the Long Beach Poly offense was firing on all cylinders. Playing with some additional motivation on Senior Day, the host Jackrabbits raced out to a 26-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 32-8 victory on Burcham Field.
Junior quarterback Aaya McLyn had four total touchdowns to lead the way for Poly. She was eager to make an impact in this meeting after missing her team’s first game against Wilson while dealing with a concussion. The Jackrabbits won that game 6-0, and wanted to show more of their explosiveness on offense this time around.
“I wanted to not only prove myself, but our team to Wilson, especially because it’s that big rivalry,” McLyn said. “In that 6-0 win, they didn’t see the full team, so it was especially big for me to show them that we weren’t just what you saw last time. We keep getting better every time.”
McLyn made up for lost time with a rushing touchdown midway through the first half, followed by three TD tosses to three different receivers. Poly head coach Rob Shock said the coaching staff made some adjustments based on last game and was pleased with the results while having his full lineup available.
“Offensively we clicked. Obviously, you can tell Aaya makes a big difference for us,” said Shock. “She is the staple of our offense. When she goes, we go. And obviously that’s what we missed last time we played them.”
After Sydney Santos opened the scoring with a TD scamper, McLyn doubled the lead with a lengthy score of her own, then hit Janelle Morris on the extra point to make it 13-0 Poly. McLyn would then find Andra Greer for a short TD toss on fourth and goal to extend the Poly lead to 19.
The Jackrabbits ran a great two-minute offense late in the half, scoring with just 63 seconds left on a deep ball from McLyn to Malawna Green. When Zadie Kuykendall hauled in the extra-point pass, the Jackrabbits had a 26-0 halftime lead.
Senior Tiare Ho-Ching caught Poly’s only TD of the second half, and showed off her griddy to celebrate.
Wilson was able to outscore the Jackrabbits in the second half thanks to a great drive late in the half. Freshman Coco Gonzalez was a standout for the visitors, and had a diving grab to help set up her own TD catch a few plays later. Fellow ninth grader Jayme Zamora looked through the Poly defense and linked up with Gonzalez over the middle in the end zone, breaking Poly’s shutout against the Bruins this season.
Zamora then hit Gonzalez for the two-pointer to make it a 32-8 final score. Gonzalez was also a standout on defense for Wilson, collected a couple pass break-ups and an interception.
Poly’s defense also had some takeaways, as senior Cheyanne Clark had a pick in the first half, and Desah’ne Jackson recorded an interception that eventually fell into the hands of teammate Brianna Bailey. Poly linebackers Tirisa Noun and Anise Becker also did a nice job against the Wilson running game and short passing game with a few tackles for loss each.
“The defense played awesome,” said Shock, who was able to rotate in several players to gain experience. “Defensive is our backbone and with how well they play, they really make the offense step up.”
Both these teams will be back in action next Tuesday as Poly visits Cabrillo and Wilson hosts Jordan.