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Long Beach Poly wins with defense

October 11, 2008|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

In today's world of no-huddle spread passing offenses, Long Beach Poly High and Ventura St. Bonaventure hooked up in an old-fashioned game that was decided by line play Friday night.

And that battle was won by the Jackrabbits, who took advantage of a blocked punt by Ryan Willis and a David Skara field goal in the fourth quarter to defeat St. Bonaventure, 12-7, in front of an estimated 8,000 at Long Beach Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The Seraphs, ranked No. 3 in the Southland by The Times, made things difficult for No. 2 Poly, but the Jackrabbits' ability to make plays down the stretch proved to be the difference as they improved to 5-0. St. Bonaventure is 4-1.

"This is what we're made for and that's when it comes down for our defense to win a game, we have what it takes," said Poly defensive end Iuta Tepa, who had two sacks and helped lead the Jackrabbits' dominant defense.

"We were focused on stopping [USC-bound] Patrick Hall and we did that."

Hall was pretty much a non-factor all game as the Jackrabbits did a solid job of getting numerous tacklers to the ball. In the first half, Poly took advantage of some poor tackling by the Seraphs to take a 7-0 lead. In helping the Jackrabbits drive 61 yards in 14 plays, quarterback Morgan Fennell twice avoided tackles and scrambled for big runs. He also completed a key third-down pass to tailback Daveon Barner.

Fennell then capped the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Stanjarivus McKay with five seconds left before intermission.

Poly controlled most of the third quarter, but St. Bonaventure forced the Jackrabbits to turn the ball over on downs for the second time in the game when linebacker Dylan Davis led a strong defensive push in the middle.

St. Bonaventure's offense then responded with its best drive of the game, sparked by a 56-yard run by Devon Blackledge. The Seraphs tied the score at 7-7 when quarterback Logan Meyer completed a six-yard touchdown pass to Zach Meyer with 1:13 left in the third quarter.

The turning point came early in the fourth when the Jackrabbits' defense forced the Seraphs to punt from deep in their own territory. Willis then charged in to block the punt for a safety that gave the Jackrabbits a 9-7 lead.

Poly extended its lead to 12-7 on a 30-yard field goal by Skara with fewer than four minutes left.

Two-minute drill

Running back Christian Farrow had 102 yards and two touchdowns in 15 carries for host San Pedro (5-0) during a 38-14 nonleague victory over Sylmar (3-2). Pirates quarterback Barry Heads completed 11 of 14 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. . . . Quarterback Te-Shon Burton completed 12 of 18 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns to lead Lawndale Leuzinger (4-1) to a 35-6 nonleague victory over host Hawthorne (0-5).

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