After one of the wildest games the Jackrabbits have had in recent memory, Long Beach Poly’s football squad was able to prevail against Narbonne in a nailbiter, 20-17.
“We did a great job fighting,” said Poly coach Antonio Pierce. “Our guys played hard and we were able to win it in the fourth quarter.”
The Jackrabbits trailed by three points when they got the ball back with just 2:14 remaining in the game, and junior quarterback Nolan McDonald was sensational. After three weeks of listening to classmates and fans talk about transfer quarterback Malik Henry, McDonald had his moment to shine and he grabbed it.
• PHOTOS: Poly edges Narbonne
When Poly started on its own 20, he mastered a perfect two-minute drive that went 80 yards in just over 1:40. He was perfect on the drive, completing all three pass attempts to move the ball 32 yards, and running 22 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown sprint with 16 seconds left on the clock.
That score put Poly up 20-17, and its defense was able to hold on for the win.
The first half saw plenty of offensive woes for the Jackrabbits, who gained just 108 yards in the first 24 minutes, and scored no points. Poly trailed by just three points, thanks to a stellar play on special teams, as middle linebacker Josh Brown blocked a Narbonne punt and Jajuan Barker was able to scoop up the ball and score to give Poly a 7-3 lead.
But the Gauchos answered with their only long drive of the first half, going 84 yards with a couple of long runs, before Justin Franks was able to punch it in from 2 yards out. That gave Narbonne a 10-7 lead, which the Jackrabbits couldn’t eat away at, despite two first-and goal-opportunities. Without a kicker to rely on, they turned the ball over twice on fourth-and-goal tries.
The other big Poly play also came on special teams, as Jack Jones sprung a kickoff return for 50-plus yards, and likely would have taken it all the way had a Jackrabbit blocker not tripped him up.
Poly (2-0) will have next week off before traveling to face Bishop Gorman on Sept. 18.