By Mike Guardabascio (courtesy of www.gazettes.com)
September 20, 2017
The Long Beach Poly football team took an hour off from preparing for its Moore League opener on the road against Millikan Friday to celebrate a few of its top-tier athletes. Poly quarterback Matt Corral and receiver Jalen Hall were honored with a lunchtime rally stage ceremony where they received their U.S. Army All-American Game jerseys. Both players transferred into the school last year, from Oaks Christian and Hawkins, respectively.
Corral and Hall both said they were honored by the experience.
“I’ve always wanted to be an All-American,” said Corral, who’s a verbal commit to the University of Florida. “I’ve watched the game for a long time and I knew the odds were it would never happen—it’s been a lot of long hours and dedication to get here.”
For Corral’s parents, Peter and Liz, watching their son don an All-American jersey was the fulfillment of a lifetime dream of his.
Corral was in the Eastbay All-American game back in middle school, held in conjunction with the U.S. Army Game in San Antonio.
“He said back then, ‘I’m going to be in that game,’” said Liz. “It’s amazing to see it, it’s finally here.”
“It wasn’t easy for him getting here, there was a lot of stuff that he had to go through to get here,” said Peter Corral. “People in the beginning would tell me he’s really good, and I’d say, ‘Oh he’s just a football player.’ We finally saw it—well obviously, because we’re here.”
Hall is a highly-recruited receiver who has yet to make a college decision. He said he’d also grown up hoping to make it to the highest honor for a high school player.
“This was always my dream, my job was to make it a reality,” he said.
Last year at Hawkins, a few of his teammates received the honor, which only served as further motivation.
“Watching my friends do it last year made me hungrier to make it happen,” he said.
Corral and Hall have helped lead Poly to a 2-1 record this season, with wins over Los Alamitos and Narbonne as well as last Friday’s narrow 12-7 loss to Mission Viejo.
Poly opens league play on the road against Millikan this Friday.