The Long Beach football world is always at its most exciting when one of two things is true: Long Beach Poly is good enough to challenge for a CIF-SS championship, or Long Beach Poly is down enough that the rest of the Moore League gets excited at the prospect of beating the Jackrabbits.
Our friend Paul Slater was on the Millikan team that beat Poly in 2009 in double overtime, the last time the Jackrabbits lost on the field to a league opponent. We asked Paul if he would rather have beaten Poly, or won a lower-division CIF-SS championship, and he didn’t hesitate: “Beating Poly. People talk about that forever.”
It’s understandable that teams are itching for their shot at Poly. The Jackrabbits’ losses to Lakewood and Millikan in 2009 were their first losses in the league in almost two decades. Poly has since had to forfeit three league games in 2015, but on the field, they’re 57-0 against league opponents since 2009, with a combined score of 2,874-344, or about a 50-6 average score.
Thanks to the Jackrabbits’ 1-3 start, there are at least two teams with an eye on beating Poly this year, and they’ll get their shots over the next two Fridays at home. Millikan hosts Poly this Friday at 7 p.m., and Wilson hosts the Jackrabbits next Friday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m.
The Bruins are 5-0 for the first time in at least two decades and are ranked No. 1 in the CIF-SS Division 7 poll, with a very legitimate shot at the first CIF-SS football title in school history. The hopes for a win over Poly are high enough that the school has already begun pre-selling tickets for next week’s games as of today, and is recommending that anyone who wants to come, better get their tickets early, as the game may be sold out before next Friday.
10th Anniversary of Millikan Mayhem
It was 10 years ago that we covered perhaps the craziest football game we’ve ever seen, when Millikan beat Poly 35-34 in double overtime. As it so happens, we were actually sportswriter for the Long Beach Post, and got this video of the game:
I’ll never forget watching people stream in from other games as a decent crowd turned into an overflow one as everyone got the call: “Millikan is going to OT with Poly.”
The sidelines filled up, the stands filled up, and cars literally double-parked along Palo Verde so fans could stand on top of the roofs and watch the finale, with Arizona State and NFL-bound Alden Darby leading the Rams to the win.
The funny thing about it is, then-Millikan coach Kirk Diego was as surprised as anyone. Poly was coming off their loss to Lakewood the week before, a deserved loss to a better team—the Lancers went to the Division 1 semifinals that year. Diego knew the Jackrabbits would be fired up and excited to re-establish dominance on someone, and actually decided to hold a few banged up players out of the game, telling us, “We all know what’s liable to happen here tonight.”
Cut to the second half and a one-score game, and those players strapping helmets on to go in and help lead the Rams to a thrilling win.
Game of the Week
There’s no doubt the football Game of the Week is Poly visiting Millikan this Friday in what’s sure to be a sellout, and what could be a repeat of the 2009 magic.
By the way, girls’ volleyball is actually the sport to watch in town this fall, football fireworks aside. Several local teams are primed for CIF-SS championship runs with Long Beach Poly, Lakewood, Wilson, St. Anthony and even Avalon out on Catalina all ranked highly in their CIF-SS divisions.
The two top teams in the area will meet on Tuesday at Lakewood at 3 p.m. as the Lancers welcome the Jackrabbits for what’s sure to be a loud, sellout affair.
Support our journalism.
Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.