SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California ahead of the 2022 season. Here’s an inside look at the Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits of the CIF Southern Section, the No. 16 team in our countdown.
- 5th season as Long Beach Poly head coach, 29th year as a high school football coach overall
- 31-11 record at Long Beach Poly
- Previously coached at Marin Catholic and St. Margaret's
2021 AT A GLANCE
- Overall record: 11-4
- League record: 5-0 (1st place in Moore League)
- Won Division 4 Southern Section title 38-7 over St. Francis
- Lost 21-17 to Gardena Serra in Division 1-A state bowl game
(All games are at 7 p.m. unless noted otherwise)
- Aug. 18 @ Clovis
- Aug. 26 vs. Serra Gardena
- Sep. 2 @ Mission Viejo
- Sep. 9 @ Leuzinger
- Sep. 16 vs. Lakewood
- Sep. 30 @ Long Beach Millikan
- Oct. 7 @ Long Beach Wilson
- Oct. 14 vs. Cabrillo
- Oct. 21 vs. Compton
- Oct. 28 vs. Jordan
- 7 on offense
- 7 on defense
- Donovan Turner - WR/CB - Graduated
- Shea Kuykendall - QB - Graduated (Northern Colorado)
- Donovan "Poe" Yandall - DL - Graduated (Army)
- Malik Brown - LB - Graduated
- Tyson Bordeaux - WR - Graduated (Grambling State)
- Jalen Johnson - LB - Graduated
- Wendell Moe - OL - Graduated (University of Arizona)
- Jeremiah Fort - LB - Graduated
- Austin King - DB - Graduated
- Nicolas Kelly - WR - Graduated
IMPACT PLAYERS TO WATCH
CB Daylen Austin - Sr. - 6-1, 180
2021 stats: 44 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery. 2 punts returned for TD's and 1 kickoff returned for a TD
Coach said: "Daylen is probably one of the most talented defensive backs in the nation. He's also an incredible kick returner. He's just one of those guys that has the ability to go the distance every single time he touches the ball. He runs the anchor for the Poly 4x100 team. He's an incredible playmaker. He's a four year player for us who we're excited to have as one of the leaders of this team."
OL Tyson Ruffins - Sr. - 6-3, 305
Offer sheet: 24 offers including Georgia Tech, San Jose State and Utah State
Coach said: "Tyson is a four year starter for us and he has a 3.8 GPA. I feel that he's one of the best linemen in America. Once he gets his hands on you, it's a wrap. On pass blocking you're not getting anywhere and on run blocking he's a road grader. He's a great kid with incredible force."
RB Devin Samples - Sr. - 5-7, 190
Offer sheet: Grambling State and Morgan State
2021 stats: 229 carries for 1,519 yards and 20 TD's
Coach said: "Devin is a three year starter for us at running back. I'm really looking forward to the consistency that he brings to the game. He's an every down back. He's not somebody who we pull out when we're passing. He can pretty much do it all and we're really excited about getting him for one more year. It's not all that often that Long Beach Poly has a three year running back."
DL/TE Dominic Lolesio - Sr. - 6-4, 230
University of Arizona commit
2021 stats: 29 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks
Coach said: "Dominic really started to shine for us last year. Seeing him go up against Tyson Ruffins everyday, it's awesome. Dominic is going to be very good. He's long, fast and powerful. He'll play some tight end too and he also really shined for us on special teams last year. It's nice when you have such a big guy running down on the kickoff and handling business."
DL Phoenix Tusa - Sr. - 6-0, 245
2021 stats: 36 tackles, 14.5 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Coach said: "Phoenix will play nose guard and end for us. He's a high level rugby player as well. He's very fast and physical. He's hard to move on a double team. We're really excited about what he's shown. He was a starter for us last year."
LB Ikenasio Mikaele - Sr. - 6'1, 215
2021 stats: 77 tackles, 19.5 for loss, 5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble
Coach said: "Ikenasio essentially does it all. He plays inside, outside and he's also a long snapper, h-back and punter. He'll be a three year starter for us. He's also a national level rugby player. It's great to see multi-sport athletes excelling in both sports. The ability for him to do so many different things is definitely a bonus for us as a football team."
QB Darius Curry - Jr. - 5-10.5, 180
Offer sheet: 10 offers including Georgia, LSU and Michigan
2021 stats: Completed 40 of 64 passes for (62.5%) 404 yards, 1 TD and 3 INT's
Coach said: "Darius has had a great summer and spring. He's really a player. He's really grown as a quarterback being able to understand the defenses. We're really excited to see the growth from him and to take over the reigns this year by himself. It'll be very good."
LB/TE Dylan Williams - Jr. - 6-2.5, 200
2021 stats: 48 tackles, 11.5 for loss, 2 fumble recoveries
Coach said: "Dylan dunks basketballs, runs the 110 and 300 meter hurdles in track and after this year he'll be one of the best football players in the nation to be quite honest. The athleticism on Dylan is off the charts. The ability to shut down half of the field on his side is pretty incredible. He's also very physical and has the ability to cover in space. He's not a one trick pony. He can do it all. He's one of the younger leaders on the team."
WR Jason Robinson Jr. - Jr. - 5-10.5, 160
2021 stats: 63 catches for 1,007 yards and 12 TD's
Coach said: "Jason was an All-American as a sophomore. He's the best route runner in America. What he can do in space is incredible. Just the control he has over his foot work and his route running abilities allows him to create space against defenders. That's what sets him apart. He would make plays last year where he made four or five guys miss."
CB Kylen Allen - Sr. - 6'1 - 180
2021 stats: 15 tackles, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery
Coach said: "Kylen got a lot of run for us late in the season last year. He'll play some corner in nickel for us this year. He's a very talented young man who's very physical as well. Sometimes we'll put him inside the box on some heavier run stuff. He likes to be physical."
CB/WR Jadyn Robinson - Soph. - 5-8, 150
Offer sheet: Colorado State and Arizona
2021 stats: Caught 1 TD, rushed for 1 TD, 4 tackles on defense
Coach said: "Jadyn started 15 games for us last year as a freshman. Look for him to have an incredible year this year. In track he long jumps and does sprints. He's very similar to his brother Jason and maybe even a little quicker. He's an incredible route runner who's great with his hands. He's also a great leader, an incredible team guy. He showed great selflessness last year and said 'whatever you need me to do coach, I'm going to do.' Jadyn is going to be an impact player right away."
S Timmy Tuiagamoa - Jr. - 5-9, 190
Offer sheet: Grambling State
2021 stats: 48 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble
Coach said: "Timmy was our starting free safety last year. He's great in coverage. The kid is a hammer. He really comes up and is great in run support. He's not shying away from contact. He's an incredible player. I'm really looking forward to an incredible junior year from him."
LB/RB Joshua Cason - Jr. - 5-9, 215
2021 stats: 87 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, 1 blocked punt
Coach said: "Joshua is another high academic guy. He led our team in tackles last season. He was also our second running back who averaged seven yards per carry. He's a load. There are plays where he's stiff arming guys right into the ground. He's an incredibly hard worker. He's a 3.8/3.9 GPA guy and he's so humble. He's the heart of the team to be honest. He doesn't talk much, but when he talks it's pretty profound and whatever the message is the team's rolling with it. He's going to have a monster year. He's like having another coach on the field. He just gets it."
WR Raiden Brown - Sr. - 5-11, 161
Offer sheet: Arizona State
2021 stats (at St. John Bosco): 2 catches for 68 yards, 1 TD
Coach said: "Raiden will play in the slot for us. He's great in space."
WR Jordan Malau’ulu - Jr. - 5-11, 170
Offer sheet: Pittsburgh
2021 stats (at St. John Bosco): 3 catches for 39 yards
Coach said: "Jordan came in from St. John Bosco. He'll be playing receiver as well as defensive back. He's also a holder for us. He's another multi sport guy for us. He runs track and plays baseball. It's great to have those guys. That's something we want. I want all of my kids doing all of these different sports. In this day and age of so much specialization, it's very important to be able to get out there and be coached by other people. We have a world class track program. Go out there and get coached by those coaches. In a day and age when so many people want just football, that's not the case here."
CB Chase Stewart - Sr. - 5-8, 150
2021 stats: 3 tackles
Coach said: "Chase is another good academic kid. He's waited his turn playing behind our older corners. He's about to have a breakout year for us. It's always been the Poly way where you have to wait your turn. Chase is going to have a great year. He's had a good spring."
CB/WR Armani Wilkson - Sr. - 5-11, 180
2021 stats: 19 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 INT
Coach said: "Armani has had an unbelievable fall camp. He played for us a lot last year, but had a few injuries that kept him out. This kid is going to be so solid for us. He has great ball skills."
IMPACT TRANSFERS IN
- Raiden Brown - 2023 WR - St. John Bosco
- Timothy Moore - 2023 DL - Warren
- Isaac Johnson - 2024 LB - Servite
- Jordan Malau’ulu - 2024 WR - St. John Bosco
- Hasani Scott - 2024 CB - Los Alamitos
REGULAR SEASON GAME(S) OF THE YEAR
Poly's second and third games of the season are the biggest on their schedule. On Aug. 26, the Jackrabbits play Gardena Serra at home and on Sept. 2, Poly travels to play Mission Viejo.
Last season, Long Beach Poly lost to Serra twice and Mission Viejo once. The Jackrabbits have the talent to be more competitive in those two games this season. While going 2-0 during that two week stretch is unlikely, it's possible.
10-0 and a berth in the Division 1 Southern Section playoffs
Long Beach Poly is loaded this season and the Jackrabbits have a chance to go 10-0. It may not be a big chance, but it's a possibility nonetheless. The only game Poly will be heavy underdogs in is against Mission Viejo.
MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO
8-2 and a Division 2 playoff berth
Poly will run through the Moore League as usual, so the non-league games are the ones to pay attention to this season. Expect the Jackrabbits to go 2-2 or 3-1 in those games. After last season, Poly will have revenge on its mind against Serra. That contest is shaping up to be one of the regular season games of the year in Southern California.
"It's exciting because we finally have a decent amount of depth and competitive practices every day. My expectation is that this group plays to the Poly standard. We talk about daily the winning traditions and expectations of Poly. Those haven't changed in the decades that this program has been around."
"From a seasonal goal, we want to be able to have a successful preseason. We want to win our league championship. Where we end up in the playoffs is completely out of our hands. Whoever we get matched up against, we're just trying to win a CIF championship, a regional championship and a state championship."
"From a program perspective, we're going to love these kids every day. Some days it might be tough love where you have some honest conversations with them on stuff, but I think it's something where collectively as a program, we're just trying to do what's best for these young men. That's at the forefront for all of our decisions."
-- Stephen Barbee