Overtime is the best time; a bus to Bakersfield, less so

Well, that was fun.

Actually, it was a hell of a lot of fun. Long Beach Poly’s 27-24 overtime win over Orange Lutheran was the wildest football game we’ve covered in a while, with Poly tying the game in the last seconds of regulation on a touchdown run and a two-point conversion, then winning it in overtime as quarterback Mehki Jordan became a hero.

It’s been a special season for Jordan, who wasn’t even Poly’s starter in the first game of the year. He’s proven himself the best man to run the Jackrabbits’ offense over the course of the season, both with his passing and running ability.

The Jackrabbits travel to Rancho Cucamonga for the quarterfinals this week in yet another game that will be live-streamed by Fox Sports, Poly’s fourth such game this season. The Jackrabbits’ opponent will be led by quarterback CJ Stroud, an All-American senior who’s expected to commit to Ohio State.

The other game in Long Beach last week wasn’t nearly as exciting, but it still has us awfully excited. Wilson blew out Fullerton 54-0- to advance to the quarterfinals, which sees them traveling to West Ranch on Friday. Bruins quarterback Ryan Pettway was near perfect, with a stat line reading: 11/12 for 306 yards and six touchdowns. Go ahead and screw your eyes back into your head.

Game of the Week

While Poly and Wilson try to handle their business on the road in Division 2 and Division 7, the only local playoff game will be in Division 9, as Lakewood hosts Highland.

We expect another exciting game for Poly and another fun blowout for Wilson, but we’ve got Lakewood as the Game of the Week for two reasons. First, you don’t have to drive two hours on a Friday night to get there. Second, it’s a real watershed moment for Lancers coach Scott Meyer.

Meyer, the son of longtime LBUSD Board of Education member Jon and grandson of Cliff Meyer, who Wilson’s stadium is named after, has a long history in town. He led Jordan to prominence 15 years ago, then bounced around and coached at Corona del Mar, Servite and Irvine before coming back to the Moore League.

This season, his first, he’s led Lakewood back to the playoffs for the first time in three years, and they’ve now won a postseason game for the first time in a decade, earning the right to host Friday’s quarterfinal.

Lakewood’s quarterback Gevani McCoy is sensational, and undersized running back James Voorheis has been slashing his way through the competition this year. Both will need big nights for Lakewood to make the semifinals.

Near Misses

Before the two of us started working together, JJ was actually very close to leaving behind his foolish idea of becoming a sportswriter for the only industry that has less job security and worse pay: coaching. If Mike had taken a few weeks longer to make up his mind about sportswriting, JJ would probably have accepted Meyer’s offer to come help coach the defensive backs at Jordan back in 2007.

If Lakewood gives up big passing plays on Friday, you can blame JJ. Then again, if he’d opted to become a coach, how would you know they gave up big passing plays on Friday?

Bakersfield

We love our jobs—hopefully that comes through in our writing and videos. If it doesn’t, consider this: most of this column was written on a bus to Bakersfield to cover the Long Beach Poly girls’ volleyball team’s state playoffs-opening match against Liberty High. Literally nothing says love like a bus trip to Bakersfield.

Moore League Cross Country Finals

As expected, last weekend’s Moore League cross country finals were a blast. Poly’s Ronan McMahon-Staggs and Camille Lindsay were the individual winners, while the Poly boys and Millikan girls brought home the league team championships.

Cross country purists have occasionally scoffed to us that the league finals are held at Heartwell Park, possibly the flattest park in the city of Long Beach. While it may be antithetical to the point of the sport, we certainly don’t mind not having to ice down after covering the meet.

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Mike and JJ go together like mac and cheese: they’re best friends, business partners and Long Beach sports experts. They’ve been working together for over a decade covering Long Beach local sports and now run the562.org, a community-funded nonprofit media outlet.
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