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Long Beach Poly Proves Jordan Is No Wizard

Football: Dominating play in final 16 minutes of game puts cross-town rival away, 41-20.


Despite a roster brimming with talent, top-ranked Long Beach Poly had yet to overwhelm anyone with a big victory seven weeks into the season.

That all changed Friday night when the Jackrabbits overwhelmed No. 11 Long Beach Jordan, 41-20, before about 6,000 at Long Beach Veterans Stadium to all but wrap up their seventh consecutive Moore League title.

Poly (7-1, 4-0) could make it official next week with a victory over Long Beach Millikan.

The Jackrabbits led only 27-20 late in the third quarter after Jordan receiver James Wilson took a screen pass from Cameron Smith and skirted the sideline for a 72-yard touchdown, but Poly dominated the game's final 16 minutes.

Tailback Hershel Dennis scored his third touchdown of the game on a seven-yard run early in the fourth quarter to put the Jackrabbits back comfortably ahead, 34-20. Poly's Rory Carrington scored on a 14-yard run six minutes later to seal the victory.

"Jordan came to play, no doubt about it," Poly Coach Raul Lara said. "Our kids were tested today, but we kept our composure, didn't make too many mistakes and continued to pound them and pound them and wore them out."

Dennis finished with 208 yards in 30 carries and scored on touchdown runs of 23, three and seven yards. Carrington had 119 yards and a touchdown in 15 carries.

Jordan (6-2, 3-1) was bidding for its first victory over the Jackrabbits since 1994, which was also the last year the Panthers shared a piece of the Moore League title. But Jordan failed to capitalize on Poly's five turnovers and had lengthy touchdowns on an interception return and a fake punt called back because of clipping.

The majority of Smith's 12 completions came on screen passes, which were effective against a secondary that played off the line of scrimmage. But the Panthers couldn't control the line of scrimmage and had difficulty running the ball.

Poly led, 20-13, after a first half that was nearly disastrous for the Jackrabbits.

Smith pushed ahead for a one-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter that gave the Panthers a 13-12 advantage.

Jordan had an opportunity to pad its lead when a punt bounced off a Poly player and was recovered by Panther linebacker Devon Lee at the Jackrabbit 37-yard line. But an offensive pass interference call against Jordan pushed the Panthers back and they eventually had to punt.

Poly got the ball back at its 35 and scored 18 seconds later when quarterback Brandon Brooks connected with Marcedes Lewis on a 16-yard touchdown pass play. Dennis ran in the two-point conversion to make it 20-13.

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