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PREP EXTRA: ORANGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Long Beach Poly's Rambo Settles Score With Los Alamitos

November 23, 1996|MIKE TERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LONG BEACH — Ken-yon Rambo was on the Long Beach Poly team that lost a heartbreaker to Los Alamitos in the 1994 playoffs.

On Friday, Rambo got his revenge.

His 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter sealed the Jackrabbits' 22-16 victory over the Griffins in front of an estimated 9,000 at Veterans Stadium.

Moments earlier, Los Alamitos (9-2) had scored on a three-yard touchdown pass from Sean Stein to Ryan Dunbar. That cut Poly's lead to two points.

Poly (8-3) will play Bellflower St. John Bosco in the second round.

"I've been waiting two years for payback [for a 7-0 loss]," said Rambo, 6 feet 2 and 185 pounds.

He also caught three passes for 35 yards.

"All week I had been telling the team about 1994. I'm so happy."

Los Alamitos had not lost a first-round game since 1990, when Newhall Hart beat them in overtime, 13-10.

Without their best defender--safety Ife Ohalete was idled with a deep thigh bruise--the Griffins' task of controlling Poly was daunting.

Herman Ho-Ching rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns in 29 carries, and quarterback Chris Lewis passed for 116 yards.

The Jackrabbits had only one turnover--an interception--that Los Alamitos was able to capitalize on. Stein rushed 23 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, the Griffins' first score.

"I thought they played mistake-free football and were a bit more physical than us," Griffin Coach John Barnes said. "But we still had a good season. We won a league championship and went farther than I thought we could.

"You can't win every game every year."

Long Beach Coach Jerry Jaso did not think the Jackrabbits were error-free, considering they had 10 penalties for 71 yards, but they were as good as they needed to be.

"I thought we were able to run well. And our defense did a pretty good job against them. They are a difficult team to keep out of the end zone."

The Griffins got an early indication what kind of night it was going to be.

On their first possession, the Jackrabbits moved easily downfield, covering 75 yards in 11 plays.

On a fourth down, Ho-Ching, whose 88 rushing yards in the first half, squeezed into the end zone from four yards out. Although the kick was wide, Poly led 6-0.

Poly kept the ball for nearly 10 minutes in the second quarter. The bulk of that time--7:46--came near the end of the half when the Jackrabbits ran off 17 plays, of which seven were inside the 20, and had another four called back because of penalties.

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