By Mike Guardabascio (courtesy of www.presstelegram.com)
November 8, 2017
In a game earlier this season, Long Beach Poly defensive lineman Jermayne Lole hurt his hand and reluctantly jogged to the sideline. As it turned out, he’d broken a finger. As the Jackrabbits’ athletic training staff looked at him, he grunted that it didn’t hurt. A few plays later, after receiving treatment, he was back on the field.
“That kid is as old school as it gets,” said Poly coach Antonio Pierce.
It’s a sentiment that’s been echoed around the city. Compton coach Calvin Bryant said that Lole reminds him of a few elite defensive stoppers: Tarbabes alum Datone Jones, an NFL pro currently with the 49ers, and Jurrell Casey, a Poly alum who’s enjoying a Pro Bowl career with the Titans.
Poly assistant linebacker coach Lavar Arrington has been a vocal fan of Lole’s. During the Jackrabbits’ preseason scrimmage, he crowed at the offensive line, “What are you double-teaming him for? That’s just gonna (tick) him off.”
There hasn’t been much that opponents have been able to do to slow Lole down this year. The 6-foot-2, 265-pound Lole has 68 tackles, second most on the team. More remarkably, he has 29 tackles for loss and nine sacks despite playing only half a game in the six Moore League contests.
He’s a throwback in terms of physicality, a senior who brushes away any talk of making football safer or less violent.
“I just like physicality, banging, all that,” he said. “With all these flags, they don’t want us to play real football anymore. It started in the NFL and then colleges and now high school. Football is getting soft, that’s how I feel.”
Given his hard-nosed mentality and production on the field, it’s no surprise that several NCAA programs are courting Lole. A dozen colleges have offered scholarships already including UCLA, Utah, Washington State and Arizona. But while college coaches might be thinking about Lole, he’s not thinking about them — yet.
While most elite recruits are planning official visits during the season and sometimes catching postgame flights to crisscross the country late Friday night in time for college games Saturday, Lole has put all that to the side for now.
“I’m not thinking about college right now, I’m just focused on the season,” he said. “I just want to win, that’s all that’s on my mind.”
If the Moore League champion Jackrabbits (8-2) are to win their CIF-SS Division 1 playoff opener against JSerra (7-3) on Friday at Veterans Stadium, Lole will have to be a big part of it.
The Lions, the fourth-place team from the tough Trinity League, feature a high-production rushing offense that averages more than 200 yards per game. JSerra is led by a former teammate of Lole’s, running back Al Gene Fisher III — the two played together at Paramount last year before transferring.
“I can’t wait to play against him,” Lole said. “We were texting with each other when the brackets were coming out on Sunday, hoping we’d play each other.”
Friday’s kickoff is at 7:30 p.m., and the game will be televised on Fox Sports West.