Calhoun, Poly run to victory
BAKERSFIELD – When Asauni Rufus scampered 13 yards into the end zone early in the third quarter, it marked Bakersfield's first lead of the game.
It lasted all of 12 seconds.
On the first play of the next series, Long Beach Poly running back Jeremy Calhoun busted an 80-yard run for a score. It was the first of three second-half touchdowns for the Jackrabbits, who beat Bakersfield, 27-7, on Friday night at Bakersfield High.
“The line, they opened that hole so big, I had to score for them,” Calhoun said. “I had to reward them for that great blocking up front.”
The game was a matchup of the two winningest programs in California history.
For Poly (3-1), this win avenged last September's 29-6 loss at Veterans Stadium. The Drillers fell to 2-2.
Calhoun, a 6-foot, 175-pound junior, rushed 11 times for 197 yards and a touchdown. James Brooks Jr., who had a big game in last week's win over Centennial of Corona, added 84 yards on 10 carries and a fourth-quarter score.
Calhoun and Brooks, who is also a junior, ran so well behind Poly's offensive line that do-everything receiver John “JuJu” Smith was barely even used out of the backfield.
“I think every week you're going to see thunder and lightning,” Poly coach Raul Lara said of Calhoun and Brooks. “That's what we expect out of those two. Brooks might have a good day. Jeremy might have a good day. And then, you know obviously JuJu will have a good day every day.”
Poly's defense stood out once again. A week after holding Centennial of Corona's high-powered unit to 28 points, the Jackrabbits did a nice job thwarting Bakersfield's option.
Rufus, who entered with a team-best 406 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground, ran 23 times for 118 yards, but the Drillers' stable of backs were held to a combined 97 yards on 28 carries.
Poly again alternated its quarterbacks. Tai Tiedemann was 4of 6 for 46 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown pass to Christian Pabico, and an interception.
Josh Love threw for 37 yards on 3-of-7 passing and connected with Johnnie Rucker on a 21-yard score.
With a challenging nonleague slate in the books, Poly opens Moore League play against Cabrillo (0-4) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Veterans Stadium. The Jaguars, whose record is a bit deceiving because of a tough schedule, lost, 55-0, Friday to Orange Lutheran.
“We can't overlook any opponents,” Calhoun said. “We've got to take it one step at a time and just go undefeated through league.”
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