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Football Long Beach Poly Wilson

Football: Long Beach Poly Shuts Out Wilson in ‘The Big Game’

The562’s coverage of football in 2023-24 is sponsored in part by the MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center Foundation and Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Foundation

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.

In the 91st anniversary playing of The Big Game, there was plenty to cheer for on both sides of the field. But while Wilson’s running tandem proved that they’re ready for primetime, all the scoring went the Jackrabbits’ way, as Poly shut out Wilson in the city’s oldest sports tradition, winning 46-0.

“Overall we played a very good game, had a couple of miscues but the defense came up with a shutout,” said Poly coach Stephen Barbee. “Their running backs gave us all we could handle, coach Meyer does a great job over there.”

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Bruins running backs Laighton Scott V and Christian Chapman combined for 211 total yards rushing and receiving, almost all of it against Poly’s starting defense. But while the Bruins had success moving the ball, an opportunistic Jackrabbits defense came up with several sacks and four interceptions to help put up their first shutout of the season. Cameron Gherardi hauled in two picks, with Donte Wright Jr. and Princeton Tusa each grabbing one as well.

It was an emotional night for Gherardi, in his second game with Poly after sitting out following a transfer.

“Waiting five, six weeks to get back on the field, there’s been a lot of emotion going into this game,” he said. “Playing with my brothers was amazing. As for the picks, that’s not even me, that’s credit to the D-Line for getting the pressure on the QB. When the ball is hanging up there I’m 6-3, I’m gonna go get it.”

Poly’s offense turned the ball over three times, once on a lost fumble and twice on interceptions thrown uncharacteristically by QB Darius Curry, who still threw for four touchdowns in the win. Wilson’s Dejon Harold nabbed both picks for the Bruins.

As usual Curry distributed the ball around throwing two TDs to Ezekiel Orozco, one to Jordan Malau’ulu and another to Charles Clinton. Luke Buggs also had 92 yards receiving. The other Poly scores came on a 96-yard touchdown kickoff return by Mikey Beresford and a 54-yard touchdown run by freshman Ben Harris, as well as a late rushing touchdown by backup QB Deuce Jefferson.

Curry said he feels like the Jackrabbits are still in building mode.

“There’s still a lot of room for improvement, we had an okay game but we still have yet to play a full complete game,” he said. 

The Jackrabbits didn’t do a lot of celebrating during the game, but they were loud and rowdy on the field after Barbee announced that the shutout had earned them a Saturday off.

“That’s our first real two-day weekend all year, everyone was excited for that,” said Curry.

The Jackrabbits will have a short week then travel to Cabrillo Thursday at 6 p.m. while Wilson will host Jordan in a pivotal Moore League game.

VIDEO: Long Beach Poly vs Wilson Football
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Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.