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L.B. Poly Has No Spark but Wins Anyway

Prep football: Jackrabbits do just enough to defeat Dominguez, 28-3.

October 07, 2000|ERIC STEPHENS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Long Beach Poly was calm and relaxed on the short bus ride over to Veterans Stadium on Friday night.

The Jackrabbits stayed that way throughout most of their nonleague football game against Dominguez and that was enough to make Coach Jerry Jaso's blood boil.

Maybe it was the pumped-up Dons running through the team en route to the locker room or enough of listening to Jaso urging them to snap out of it at halftime, but Long Beach Poly woke up long enough to post an uninspired 28-3 victory.

The Jackrabbits (5-0) had routed their previous three opponents by a 144-21 count, but they looked a step slow Friday. Poly had only a 7-3 halftime lead and didn't take control until late in the fourth quarter when two touchdowns finished off the pesky Dons.

"We were flat as a pancake," Jaso said. "I could see it on the way here. [During the game] I told our coaches how flat we were.

"This was the first time we really had no emotion. I was concerned about it before we played."

Linebacker Marvin Simmons, who transferred to Poly after three years at Dominguez, admitted the players weren't into the game.

"I knew they were going to play us hard," said Simmons, who was warmly greeted by ex-teammates afterward. "I think we did come out all big-headed, but we came on in the second half."

Dominguez, using many sophomores and juniors, hung in there against a formidable Poly team. It played the Jackrabbits even in the first half when other opponents haven't stayed close.

The Dons (3-2) were at their best at the end of the half when they foiled a long Jackrabbit drive. Poly turned to senior Markee White at quarterback after Brandon Brooks struggled on five possessions.

White injected some life into the Poly offense. He scrambled for 12 and 11 yards on consecutive plays and completed a 28-yard pass to Donte Chandler to move the team down to the Dominguez 25.

White completed another pass to Joshua Hawkins and a pass-interference call on Dominguez put the Jackrabbits on the 6-yard line with 25 seconds remaining. The Dons got tough in a hurry as they harassed White into two incompletions.

On third and goal, Dominguez lineman LaJuan Ramsey forced White into an overthrown pass that was intercepted by Kevin Hayles.

Poly's defense made its own mark in the first quarter. Dominguez quarterback Jason Cooper didn't see cornerback Odell Jackson and the senior intercepted the pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.

Safety Raymond Washington also cut off another Dominguez threat in the fourth when he picked off Cooper at the Jackrabbits' 27-yard line.

"I thought our defense was superb," Jaso said.

Poly put the game out of reach on a 9-yard scoring pass from Brooks to Hawkins with 5:30 left and a 69-yard punt return by Mike Willis with 4:08 remaining.

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