California’s Top 50 high school football teams: Stephen Barbee’s No. 10 Long Beach Poly team should be his best yet

SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California ahead of the fall 2021 season. Here’s an inside look at the Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits of the CIF Southern Section, the No. 12 team in our countdown.

MORE: PRESEASON ALL-STATE TEAM | TOP 50 COUNTDOWN

LONG BEACH POLY TEAM PAGE | 2021 FALL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

POLY HEAD COACH

Stephen Barbee – 4th season – (20-7)

2021 SPRING AT A GLANCE

  • 4-0 overall
  • 3-0 in Moore League (1st)

IMPACT DEPARTURES

  • LB Bryun Parham – Graduated
  • DE/DT Jacob Tuioti – Graduated
  • WR Keyonta Lanier – Graduated
  • WR Jordan Riles – Graduated
  • CB Kamren Blanton – Graduated
  • LB David Bakalar – Graduated
  • OL Brandon Pati – Graduated
  • OL Michael Fesili – Graduated
  • WR Kyren Racheal – Graduated
  • WR Anthony Curtis – Graduated
  • DB Torion White – Graduated

2021 FALL SCHEDULE

  • Aug. 20 vs. Leuzinger – 7:00PM
  • Aug. 27 @ Serra – 7:00PM
  • Sept. 3 vs. Mission Viejo – 7:00PM
  • Sept. 17 @ Centennial – 7:00PM
  • Sept. 24 vs. Millikan – 7:00PM
  • Oct. 1 vs. Wilson – 7:00PM
  • Oct. 8 @ Cabrillo -7:00PM
  • Oct. 15 vs. Compton – 7:00PM
  • Oct. 21 @ Jordan – 7:00PM
  • Oct. 29 @ Lakewood – 7:00PM

RETURNING STARTERS

  • 7 on offense
  • 7 on defense

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Donovan “Poe” Yandall (Senior-LB/DE) (6-2, 230)

Offer sheet: Army

Coach Barbee: “Donovan is a returning all-state player for us. He was our defensive MVP in the spring. His size and strength makes him a dominant force.”

2021 spring stats: 17 tackles, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble

Wendell Moe (Senior-DL/OL) (6-4, 330)

Coach Barbee: “Wendell is another all-state guy for us. He was the lineman of the year from the Moore League last year. He’s an incredible player who’s very hard to stop on either side of the ball.”

2021 spring stats: 23 tackles, with one sack

Tyson Ruffins (Junior-OL/DL) (6-3, 310)

Coach Barbee: “Tyson was a big part of why we averaged over 200 yards per game rushing last year.”

2021 spring stats: 16 tackles, forced a fumble

Jalen Johnson (Senior-LB) (6-0, 210)

Coach Barbee: “Jalen is very athletic. He’s going to be a three year starter for us.”

2021 spring stats: 21 tackles, one sack, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble, one TD

Shea Kuykendall (Senior-QB) (6-2, 205)

Offer sheet: University of Dayton

Coach Barbee: “Shea as well as Darius Curry each have a unique set of skills that will keep defenses guessing and allow both to play.”

2021 spring stats: Completed 44 of 68 passes for 546 yards, six TDs, four INTs, 14 carries for 55 yards, two TDs

Tyson Bordeaux (Senior-WR) (6-2, 155)

Coach Barbee: “Tyson has had a great summer and fall camp. We graduated all of our starting receivers from last year and Tyson has come in and done really well.”

2021 spring stats: Three catches for 16 yards, one tackle on defense

Ikenasio Mikaele (Junior-LB) (5-10, 180)

Coach Barbee: “Ikenasio started for us last year. He’s very versatile and will be playing a lot of positions for us on the defensive side.”

2021 spring stats: 20 tackles, five for loss, one interception, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery

Daylen Austin (Junior-CB) (6-2, 175)

Offer sheet: 13 offers including Georgia, Notre Dame, USC and Oregon

Coach Barbee: “Daylen is long and physical.”

Simeon Williams (Senior-WR/CB) (6-3, 190)

Coach Barbee: “I’m really looking forward to watching Simeon this season.”

IMPACT TRANSFERS IN

  • Darius Curry – 2023 QB – St. Bernard
  • Dylan Williams – 2023 LB – St. Bernard
  • Kylen Allen – 2023 DB – Orange Lutheran

WHAT’S THE QUARTERBACK SITUATION?

Senior Shea Kuykendall and sophomore Darius Curry, a transfer from St. Bernard, will split the quarterback reps this season.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO FOR POLY

Poly is in the same position as a few other Southern Section teams. The Jackrabbits are on the Division 1/2 playoff line (although they’re probably closer to Division 1 than 2 on paper) and so the best case scenario varies depending on how one looks at it. The Jackrabbits have enough skill to be a 9-1 team, which would most likely put them in the Division 1 playoff field. While that would be a great achievement, it means they’d most likely face Mater Dei or St. John Bosco at some point and not win a CIF title. If the Jackrabbits fall into Division 2, they’ll be Southern Section championship favorites. Regardless of their Division placement, Poly’s a shoe in to win the Moore League.

MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO

The most realistic scenario for Poly is a 7-9 win regular season. If they’re in Division 2, they can make a championship run, if they’re in Division 1, they’ll either be a quarterfinal or semifinal team.

COACH SAID

“We’re really excited. We have a lot of depth and athleticism on the defensive side of the ball. We have a lot of size up front and we also have a lot of multi-sport athletes. We’re excited about the season. We just need to continue to work hard and put it together.

“We have a very challenging non-league schedule. We aren’t looking past any team on our schedule. We went 4-0 in the spring and we really want to build on that. Nine guys from last season went on to play college football. They will be tough to replace, but we’re excited about the challenge. We want these non-league games to put us in a position to be ready for our league and the playoffs.”

“This team has grit, they’ve been tough through this whole COVID thing. The fact that they’re showing up and giving the effort they give is incredible. We’re bonding well. Our goal is to end the season with a win.”

— Head Coach Stephen Barbee

MORE: PRESEASON ALL-STATE TEAM | TOP 50 COUNTDOWN

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