Long Beach Poly demonstrated a new component to its high-powered football team Friday night. A solid defense.
The Jackrabbits held Huntington Beach Edison to 165 yards of offense in their Southern Section Division I quarterfinal game, producing six sacks and three turnovers in a 21-0 victory at Orange Coast College.
“Our defense doesn’t get the respect it deserves,” said defensive back Byron Velega, who recovered an Edison fumble on the second play of the game, setting up Poly’s first touchdown five plays later.
“Every chance we have to go up against a good defense like Edison’s, it’s a chance to show how good we are.”
Poly (10-2) advanced to play Santa Ana Mater Dei as part of a Division I semifinal doubleheader next Saturday at the Home Depot Center in Carson.
The top-seeded Jackrabbits, winners of four of the last six Division I titles, will be trying to avenge a 21-20 upset by Mater Dei in the semifinals last season.
“We aren’t going to sleep,” Velega said. “We’ll probably be breaking down films [this morning].”
After the Jackrabbits took a 7-0 lead on Anthony Torrell Baker’s three-yard touchdown run, Edison’s Dominik Bronowicki made a 50-yard field goal, but was roughed on the play and Edison (8-4) decided to take the points off the board and accept a first down at the Jackrabbit 18.
Two plays later, however, Poly’s Rodney Van intercepted a pass at the five and returned it to midfield.
“Looking back, that was probably the wrong thing to do,” said Edison Coach Dave White, whose defense had allowed eight points or less in its previous 10 games. “But we knew we were going to have to score touchdowns to win.”
Poly took advantage of a miscue by Edison’s punt team to go ahead, 14-0, late in the first half. Bronowicki chased down an errant snap, but could only manage a punt that netted minus-four yards. Poly took over at the Charger 36 and scored three plays later on a 29-yard pass from Cruz Parsons to tight end Julian Hawkins.
The Jackrabbits were slowed by penalties in the second half, as Torrell Baker had three long runs called back, including a 59-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Poly finished with nine penalties for 85 yards.
Mater Dei 35, Fountain Valley 7 -- There’s no secret to Mater Dei’s plan in what it hopes will be two more games this season. The Monarchs (8-4) showed exactly how they plan to beat Poly next week in a trial run against the Barons in front of about 7,500 at Santa Ana Stadium.
Mater Dei’s ball-control offense rushed for 366 yards, and matched its highest output of the season against the division’s fourth-seeded team.
“If you can’t stop the run, you’re in trouble,” said Fountain Valley Coach Eric Johnson, who was the defensive coordinator for four of Mater Dei’s five titles in the 1990s and was facing his old school for the first time.
And the Barons were in trouble.
They were unable to contain quarterback Jason Forcier, who rushed nine times for 81 yards including touchdowns on runs of 31, 13 and 15 yards as the Monarchs won for the eighth time in nine games.
Forcier also completed four of seven passes for 43 yards and a nine-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Brown.
Forcier wasn’t the only person Fountain Valley (8-4) had to worry about running behind a line of Brian McHugh, Jarrid Johnston, Tyler Perkins, Allen Autagavaia and Brandon Nicolas.
Rick Guzman rushed 13 times for 94 yards, Dane Bower carried 10 for 96 yards, and Justin Guzman ran nine for 69, including a four yards for a score that put the Monarchs up 35-0 with 3:14 left in the third quarter.
Mater Dei’s defense also contributed, holding Fountain Valley to a season-low seven points and forcing four turnovers, two of which were turned into touchdowns.
Los Angeles Loyola 10, La Puente Bishop Amat 9 -- Scott Deke completed 10 of 16 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown pass to George Hypolite as the Cubs (9-3) advanced to the semifinals, where they will face defending champion Los Alamitos for the second consecutive season.
Bishop Amat (7-5) scored on the first play of the game on a 74-yard run by William Wagner. The Lancers missed two field-goal attempts in the last four minutes of the game.