Football Long Beach Poly

PREVIEW: Long Beach Poly vs Vista Murrieta CIF Football Playoffs

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The playoffs are here for Long Beach Poly (9-1) and at Wednesday’s night practice the Jackrabbits were fired up for the opportunity to extend their season by another week. They’re hosting Vista Murrieta on Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m.; Poly is the No. 2 seed in Division 2 and is hoping to advance to next week’s quarterfinals, where they’d travel to either Servite or Valencia.

“We’ve had a great week of practice, it’s a matter of just executing our gameplan,” said Poly coach Stephen Barbee. “This is a very talented team with a stable of running backs and some big time receivers. Their quarterback has a live arm and is good at eluding their pass rush and their defense is very tough. They play really hard, and that’s a trademark of a well-coached team.”

Brody Guinn and AJ Jones are the Broncos’ top receivers, with Alexander Vega toting the rock at running back. QB Bryson Beaver is a sophomore but is a 6-3 prospect who’s thrown for 25 touchdowns so far this year.

They keys for Poly are to continue their multi-faceted offensive approach, with QB Darius Curry spreading the ball to Kamarie Smith, Jordan Malau’ulu, Ezekiel Orozco, Charles Clinton, and Luke Buggs. Any one of those receivers is a threat to go for 100 yards and two touchdowns in any game Poly plays, making them a tough team to cover.

“They all feel confident because they know I believe in them to catch the ball,” said Curry. “It’s not like if you’re not getting touches you’re going to slack off–they know they need to go 100% on every play because they can all get the ball on any given play. They’re going to eat when it’s time to eat.”

Poly’s young offensive line is anchored by a lone senior, center Jeremiah Filipo, who’s been lights out for the Jackrabbits this year. His crew will pave the way for running backs Joshua “Noodles” Cason and Colin Powell, two seniors who know how to run hard in short yardage situations.

Defensively, Poly’s got to get home to the quarterback–they’ve successfully pressured QBs but often let them slip away. Their talented linebacking corps led by Oregon commit Dylan Williams will need to dial in on stopping a hard-running Broncos team.

“We’ve been playing decently but there’s a lot of things we’ve got to sharpen up on this week,” said Williams. “They’re a great team, they play really hard–we’ve got to come out disciplined and ready to compete.”

Poly’s defensive backfield has been the strength of the defense, with a group that’s hauled in 14 interceptions in 10 games, including four by Arizona commit Quimari Shemwell. Cameron Gherardi has three and freshman Julius Johnson has a pair, with Mikey Beresford, freshman Donte Wright Jr., and linebackers Williams, Cason, and Princeton Tusa each pulling one in as well.

If Poly can rush Guinn and force some errant throws, the DBs will be ready and waiting to make plays. will have live coverage of the game and full coverage with article, video, and photos after.

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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.