By Mike Guardabascio (courtesy of www.gazettes.com/sports/poly/)
After some flagging offensive performances in the last three weeks, Long Beach Poly wanted to treat Friday’s rivalry game with Wilson like the postseason. The Jackrabbits came out with their full starting lineup and looked crisp for a half, building a big lead and easily topping the Bruins, 56-0.
“The plan was to put the starters in and go treat it like a playoff game,” said Poly coach Antonio Pierce. “We just wanted to get into a better flow.”
The Jackrabbits did that, building a 28-0 lead in the first quarter while holding Wilson to four three-and-outs. Poly’s offense leaned heavily on All-American quarterback Matt Corral, a Florida commit.
Corral threw it 32 times in the first half and was 25 for 39 for 457 yards and five touchdowns, as well as two rushing touchdowns.
The Poly defense also held Wilson to just 14 yards of total offense in the first half and held its second consecutive league opponent to zero points; no Moore League school has ever gone a whole season without giving up a point.
“We didn’t want to talk tonight, we don’t want to talk,” said Poly linebacker Josh Jones. “We just want to let our pads and our helmets do the talking.”
Corral effectively spread the ball around, hitting eight different receivers. Darius Kryger had nine catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns while USC commit Cam McDonald had four catches for 143 yards and a touchdown, a 70-yard score just before halftime.
Poly only threw it seven times in the second half, subbing Corral out after the third quarter and pounding it on the ground. Raymond Graham had a 35-yard score to cap it for the Jackrabbits.
Because the two teams are the city’s oldest rivalry and have been playing since 1932, there was the usual large amount of fanfare. Long Beach Unified School District board members Felton Williams and Jon Meyer were on hand for the coin flip, along with LBUSD superintendent Chris Steinhauser. There was also a large crowd on hand of over 4,000 fans, most of them students.
“I think it’s good for both teams,” said Pierce. “It’s great for everyone to get that kind of support from the community.”
Wilson did get the ball moving in the second half as backup quarterback Ryan Pettway had two big completions. After a Poly penalty Wilson had the ball at the Poly five yard line, but Jones intercepted it to give the ball back to the Jackrabbits.
Ian Issa did some hard running for the Bruins with 25 yards on 11 carries, all of it after contact.
Poly (4-1, 2-0) will host Cabrillo at Vets next week while Wilson (2-4, 1-1) will visit Jordan.