By: Mike Guardabascio (courtesy of www.gazettes.com)
September 2, 2017
It took more than half of the football game between Long Beach Poly and Narbonne for either team’s offense to get going. In the end, it was the Jackrabbits who made enough plays in the fourth quarter to come away with a narrow nonleague victory, 14-10.
“We didn’t think our offense would be this bad and I take full responsibility for that,” said Poly quarterback Matt Corral, a Florida commit.
The Jackrabbits and Gauchos were scoreless at halftime, and Narbonne took the first lead on a 30-yard field goal from kicker Edgar Ramos in the third quarter. That seemed to shake Poly from its funk. The Jackrabbits responded two drives later with a 70-yard touchdown drive, capped by a perfectly-thrown fade pass from Corral to Jalen Hall.
Narbonne answered with an 80-yard scoring drive of its own, pulling ahead 10-7 after Jermar Jefferson plunged into the end zone. Jefferson, a transfer running back, was declared eligible by the L.A. City Section the day before the game and was a workhorse for the Gauchos, totaling 108 yards on 21 carries.
Narbonne’s final score put it up with just under 8 minutes remaining, but Corral and Poly responded, traversing 60 yards in just over 2 minutes, taking the lead for the final time on a 5-yard scoring pass from Corral to Darius Kryger.
After that, the Jackrabbits’ defense continued its strong play and held the Gauchos down. Poly had a difference-maker of its own declared eligible shortly before the game, as Jermayne Lole started on the defensive line and had two sacks.
“We were sloppy tonight but our defense made plays,” said Poly coach Antonio Pierce.
Corral finished 22 for 39 for 217 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
“I just had to forget the first half,” said Corral. “I had to get it together for the rest of my team and just have a short memory.”
Quarterback Jalen Chatman started 8 for 8 for Narbonne and finished 13 for 24 with 150 yards and an interception, as Poly’s Tyric Lebeauf picked him off to end a promising drive in the first half. Both teams had critical turnovers as Poly fumbled it away at the goal line on its first drive.
Narbonne (1-1) will travel to Palos Verdes while Poly (2-0) will take an early-season bye week before hosting Mission Viejo on Sept. 15.