Cabrillo Football Long Beach Poly

Football: Long Beach Poly Beats Cabrillo

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 Poly is sponsored by Bryson Financial.

The562’s coverage of Cabrillo Athletics is sponsored by the Cohn Family.

Long Beach Poly went to the Westside on a Thursday evening and came home with a win, although the host Cabrillo Jaguars had something to celebrate as well. Poly looked good in all three phases but a late Jags touchdown represented the first points Cabrillo has scored on Poly since 2012. The Jackrabbits led early and never looked back in a running-clock victory, 50-6.

“It was good to see us execute for the better part of the game,” said Poly coach Stephen Barbee. “Obviously you want to see your backups continue to execute at that same level. Hats off to (Cabrillo coach Shane Gonzales) he’s got some very good players and to see where his program was and where it’s at now is really nice to see.”

Monthly Subscribers to The562

By The562 Network Inc

Subscribe to the562 on GiveButter to make a recurring donation and keep Long Beach sports coverage free!

The Jackrabbits scored a touchdown on every drive in the first half, as Darius Curry was incredibly efficient as a QB, going 10/15 for 238 yards and four touchdowns in just one half of action. He found Luke Buggs for a 25-yard score to open things, then hit Ezekiel Orozco for a 75-yard score on the second. His third TD went to Jordan Malau’ulu early in the second quarter to make it 21-0 Poly.

The Jackrabbits’ fourth score came on a punt block by sophomore Deon Jackson, recovered for a touchdown by freshman Donte Wright Jr. Poly’s next drive saw Joshua “Noodles” Cason score it with a run, and then Poly capped the scoring before halftime with a 35-yard strike from Curry to Orozco, making it 43-0 at the break.

Orozco, a junior, came into this season in a crowded receiving corps for Poly, but has distinguished himself as one of Curry’s favorite targets, even alongside several other elite players.

“I had to prove myself that’s how I looked at it, I had to show people who’s Ezekiel Orozco?” he said.

The whole second half was played with a running clock and Poly put backups in, as backup QB Deuce Jefferson scored his second rushing TD in two weeks for Poly. The Cabrillo defense got a goal-line stand and takeaway as Poly looked to go up 57-0 but had the ball hit the turf, where it was fallen on by Cabrillo’s Demeyon Love.

Orozco had two catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns, and Curry hit six receivers on his 10 completions. Cason ran for 75 yards and a score and Poly put up 191 yards rushing on just 14 carries.

There was good news for the home team as well, though. Freshman QB Fernando Leanos threw for 191 yards and had big completions to D’Jon Pittman (22 yards receiving), Rodney Cheathum (53 yards receiving), and Kahliel Williams (93 yards receiving). Leanos was intercepted by Oregon commit Dylan Williams and sacked four times, but passing for 191 yards is a real bright spot.

Another bright spot was a late-game touchdown on fourth and goal by running back Antonio Elam, who plunged in from one yard out with time dwindling in the game. It was the first score for Cabrillo since 2012, and set off a big celebration on their sideline and in their stands.

“I’m happy for the kids, that’s a great moment,” said Gonzales after the game.

Poly (7-1, 4-0) will host Compton next week while Cabrillo (2-6, 0-4) will host Jordan.

VIDEO: Long Beach Poly vs Cabrillo Football
PHOTOS: Long Beach Poly vs Cabrillo Football
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.