Long Beach Poly Shuts Down Compton

By Mike Guardabascio

“Compton is very physical and there’s no hiding from that offense,” said Barbee. “We needed to match their physicality tonight and I think we did that.”

Poly operated out of a five-lineman front and with hogs like Jacob Tuioti and James “Chubba” Maae taking up space, Compton didn’t have much room to operate in.

“They straight punched us in our mouth,” said Compton coach Calvin Bryant. “They were more physical, they were really strong. I don’t really feel like we played bad, I just think they played great, I can’t say enough about how well they played.”

The Jackrabbits offense was sharp, too, scoring on a 48-yard touchdown by Malachi Rice, a 27-yard touchdown pass from Mehki Jordan to Ramil Brown, and a 26-yard score from Jordan to Keyonta Lanier to go up 21-0 just nine minutes into the game.

Khilyn Neal forced a fumble and scooped and scored it, and then caught a 50-yard touchdown from Jordan. Jordan had a 24-yard score himself. Poly led 42-0 at halftime and the clock ran the entire third quarter, with Rice scoring, Aupiu Moe scoring, and Compton’s Jaishawn Smith scoring in the fourth quarter.

Barbee and the rest of the Poly program seemed especially excited about the pair of scores for Neal, the team’s utility man who plays defensive end, tight end, and some fullback.

“He’s worked so hard for us, he was injured last year, he fought his way back, he’s an incredible leader and football player,” said Barbee. “That first touchdown is an amazing feeling, I couldn’t be happier for him.”

Neal has actually gotten into the end zone four times this year, but had all four called back on penalties. That’s why he snuck a peak back over his shoulder on his scoop-and-score.

“I can’t even count how many I’ve had called back,” he said. “I had to look for the flag first, and then I celebrated.”

Poly will host Jordan next week while Compton faces Lakewood in a must-win game for their playoff chances.