Football Jordan Long Beach Poly

Flag Football: Long Beach Poly Claims First Moore League Title With Shutout of Jordan

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

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

The inaugural season of Moore League flag football needed until the final week before a champion could be crowned. All that was left was a Battle of Atlantic Avenue on Tuesday afternoon to decide which school would go down in the record book.

The hosts from Long Beach Poly needed to defeat their rivals from Jordan in order to clinch an outright title, and that’s exactly what the Jackrabbits did. Led by dual-threat QB Aaya McLyn and a stingy defense, Poly earned a 28-0 shutout win to remain unbeaten in league play this season.

McLyn was involved in all four of Poly’s touchdowns, with a pair of TD tosses as well as a pair of nifty QB keepers that reached the end zone. The junior was happy to secure a league championship with her teammates and is already looking ahead to next year.

“It feels really good, we believed in ourselves a lot,” said McLyn. “So we kind of hoped that this would be coming. We don’t take it for granted and we’re excited to get the next one.”

History remembers who did it first, and for Poly head coach Rob Shock it’s a meaningful accomplishment to make history at his alma mater. Shock also serves as Poly’s boys’ athletic director, and his daughter, Dylan, is a senior on this year’s team. It’s an understatement to call it a family affair for Coach Shock, and he was at the heart of the postgame celebration when his players doused him with a celebratory water bath.

“So many things happen at this place, so to be a part of the history and tradition that this school has, that makes it all worth it,” said Shock in a drenched 1600 Atlantic shirt. “I mean, you already know, we’re a family of green and gold. I always try to do what’s best for Poly. And that’s just a special moment for me. I wanted it as much as the girls did, and we wanted to win it outright.”

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Jordan came out firing on the game’s opening drive, as QB Katelyn Garcia connected with Lilianna Sarmiento up the seam for a long pass inside the Poly 5-yard-line. The Panthers thought they’d made it in for a score, but were forced in a goal-to-go situation without the ability to run. Eventually, the Poly defense forced a turnover on downs as their secondary cut off all passing lanes in the end zone, and McLyn immediately went to work.

The junior immediately connected with Janelle Morris on a deep pass to get inside the Jordan red zone, then a few plays later on 4th & Goal from the one, she flipped a swing pass to RB Neela Bagley for the short TD, making it 7-0 Poly.

McLyn would run in a TD on Poly’s next drive to make it a 13-0 advantage, which was the score at halftime. Asia Edwards had a few nice plays for the Panthers to drive into Poly territory, but a Cheyenne Clark interception ended J-Town’s scoring threat late in the first half.

Poly would score on their first two drives after halftime to put the game away, with McLyn weaving her way in for another impressive rushing touchdown. She had a number of long runs throughout the game, which was based off what she saw from the Jordan defense rather than a pre-planned strategy.

“I was originally planning to play short and then go long, but once they started rushing with two, my options kind of started to limit,” McLyn explained. “So I had to go around the rushers and the gaps just opened up. I just had to trust what would happen and I just kept going.”

She also eluded tacklers in impressive fashion, using a hip swivel technique she saw on Instagram, of all places. While studying her craft, she came upon the IG page of Vanita Krouch, the quarterback for Team USA’s flag football team. Krouch was having her dog go after her flags, ans was using a specific hip movement to evade her canine challenger.

“She said it was all in the hips and you have to like torque or something,” said McLyn with a grin. “And ever since then I kind of just implemented that into my game.”

McLyn also added another long touchdown pass as she lofted up a successful jump ball for freshman Dominique Wheeler. Those two also connected on the two-point conversion to make the final score 28-0 Jackrabbits.

Each defense collected interceptions late in the game to prevent any additional scoring, with Leah Salas hauling one in for Poly and Micah Lemons returning the favor for Jordan.

The Panthers will be at Lakewood on Wednesday at 4:45 to conclude their season while Poly hosts Cabrillo at 3:30. A win for the Jackrabbits would wrap up an unbeaten Moore League season.

While the sport of flag football doesn’t offer CIF playoffs just yet, the Jackrabbits will be participating in an elite tournament this weekend at San Juan hills, sponsored by the LA Chargers. The Jackrabbits will open play against Huntington Beach and could force a meeting with top-seeded Esparanza in game two.

VIDEO: Long Beach Poly vs. Jordan, 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.