Wicker, Waller and one-point Poly win

Jackrabbits advance in CIFSS Pac-5 playoffs by turning back talented Oregon-bound QB.

For other analysis of the weekend’s top results, CLICK HERE.

It’s never easy for Long Beach Poly in the first-round of the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs. This is because the Jackrabbits usually have to face an opponent from a much stronger league than their own Moore League.

Joseph Wicker has been playing at a high level since his first game. Photo: Ronnie Flores.

Joseph Wicker has been playing at a high level since his first game. Photo: Ronnie Flores.

It happened again on Friday at Veteran’s Stadium in a 34-33 triumph over Servite of Anaheim from the Trinity League. In a game reminiscent of last year’s 18-16 triumph over Orange Lutheran and a 21-16 upset two years ago over unbeaten Mission Viejo, Poly advanced to a quarterfinal matchup against 9-1 Crespi of Encino.

On a fourth and 11 from Poly’s 40-yard line, Poly defensive tackle Joseph Wicker batted down Travis Waller’s pass over the middle to seal the one-point victory for the jackrabbits.

“I was cage rushing, so it was actually my assignment to play Waller,” Wicker said. “I was playing the A or B gap and when he threw the ball I knocked it down. It was the second time I did that and I was trying to pick off the ball. We had trouble with their option, but we have young ends, we will see the mistakes we made so we can fix them for next week.”

Waller, the Oregon-bound QB and regarded as one of the best in the nation, scored on a 15-yard run with five seconds remaining in the second quarter to make the score 20-13 in favor of Poly heading into halftime.

Waller also scored the go-ahead touchdown on a two-yard keeper and a two-point conversion to cap a nine-play, 55-yard drive that gave Servite a 33-27 lead.

Poly answered with the game-winning touchdown, a 10-yard rush by Jeremy Calhoun, with 3:15 remaining.

Waller got the ball back one last time from his own 36-yard line but the game ended on Wicker’s heroics.

Waller finished with 305 yards passing and the two touchdowns for 4-7 Servite, which was the fifth place entry from the Trinity League and ended the season on a five-game losing streak.

RB James Brooks Jr. also scored two touchdowns for Moore League champ and No. 4 seed Poly.

Ronnie Flores is the managing editor of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at ronlocc1977@yahoo.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores

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