VIDEO: Poly’s classic redemption against Mater Dei

In this, the seventh installment of’s Classics video series, we look back at the 2012 CIF Southern Section Pac-5 football championship game that ended up being the rubber match between Long Beach Poly and Mater Dei.

The classic rivals had split their three previous championship battles 1-1-1 before the Jackrabbits smacked the Monarchs 35-17 at Angel Stadium. Poly started the 2012 season by losing three of its first four games, including a 56-0 loss at Narbonne.

The Jackrabbits redemption in the playoffs by beating big-money programs Mission Viejo, St. John Bosco and Mater Dei with superior offensive/defensive line play.

“It’s Poly football,” Poly coach Raul Lara said after winning his record fifth title. “Be physical, control the line of scrimmage… this is a sweet year. I don’t keep count or like to compare championships, but this is special because of how we started. Honestly, I never thought we would be here.”

A few future NFL pros on the roster—Juju Smith-Schuster, Jayon Brown, Iman Marshall—and superior coaching helped Poly dominate the proceedings against the stunned Monarchs, especially in the second half. Mater Dei had almost 30 plays in Poly territory after halftime but couldn’t score.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” said Jayon Brown. “It feels like I won a Super Bowl. Hell, I did win a Super Bowl.”

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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, a community-funded nonprofit media outlet.