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Football: Get ready for lots of defense for LB Poly-Mater Dei game

November 26, 2013|By Eric Sondheimer

 2013 has produced lots of offense and lots of points this season, but Friday's Pac-5 Division semifinal game between Long Beach Poly and Santa Ana Mater Dei at Veterans Stadium is going to feature two teams with exceptional defenses. In other words, get ready for some hard hitting, with not a lot of scoring.

Both teams can stop the run. Both teams can put pressure on the quarterback. Both teams can come up with big plays.

Therefore, maybe each school will be working on a trick play or two this week to get a slight edge. Maybe those two-point conversion plays will get some practice.

Special teams could be key. Poly has struggled at times trying to make field goals and extra points. But the Jackrabbits have John "Juju" Smith ready to return punts.

Mater Dei will try to run the ball successfully. Good luck on that. Poly's defensive line loves challenges.

Poly will try to get the ball to Smith. Mater Dei will counter with Jonathan Lockett ready to shadow him everywhere. And somebody better be blocking Mater Dei's Malik McMorris. He knows how to find the quarterback. He's not ready to focus on the track season quite yet.

The coaches, Bruce Rollinson at Mater Dei and Raul Lara at Poly, enjoy facing each other. Poly has won 19 section titles. Mater Dei has won 10 section titles. It's tradition against tradition. It's strength against strength. It's going to be a great game.

Eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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