Over the past four weeks I have had the pleasure of experiencing high school football as a member of the unbiased media. Tonight, I had the honor of experiencing Long Beach’s greatest rivalry as a fan on the sideline of my alma mater. Poly vs. Lakewood. A Lancers offense that has, prior to the loss of running back Jerry Stone, posted 137 points in 4 games pitted against the defense that has given up only a touchdown (give them a break, it was the defending national champs) in three games.
I’ve watched Poly games from the stands. I’ve seen them through a facemask. Heck, I’ve even caught a few from the press box at Vet’s, but I’ve never had the chance to experience a game from the Poly sideline. Granted I was taking stats during the game, but hey, what can you do? The fact that I was working didn’t keep me from noticing a number of other Poly coaches on the sideline to support their students, including Toby Hess of the ‘Rabbits Baseball team and Teri Collins of the Girl’s Soccer team. Nor did it deter me from introducing myself to some Poly alums, including (the one and only) Chris Lewis. But Lewis wasn’t the only former football player on the sideline, as Justin Phinisee, a Downey grad formerly of the Dallas Cowboys and Oregon Ducks, came out to cheer the ‘Rabbits on.
I think, however, what impressed me most about the Poly sideline is the way that the players handled themselves. Indeed, there was a little trash-talking, but, for the most part, it seemed to me that Poly let their actions on the field do the talking for them. They responded to the hype that this game brings the same way they always do: by running for 200+ yards and reminding everyone that they are Poly. #75, here we come.