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Football: Defense plays big for Long Beach Poly

September 17, 2010 | 11:55 pm

Twice in the fourth quarter, Long Beach Poly's defense was called upon to make a big play, and both times it answered the call in the Jackrabbits' 23-20 win over Harbor City Narbonne on Friday night. 

First it was freshman defensive lineman Jason Fao getting through on a blitz to sack Gauchos quarterback Troy Williams in the end zone for a safety that turned Poly's precarious one-point lead into a more secure three-point lead with 5:26 left. 

Then it was senior defensive lineman Michael Teo who dragged the elusive Williams to the ground before he could release a desperation fourth-down pass in Poly territory with 1:20 left. 

Noel Rankins was terrific for host Narbonne (1-1), rushing for 217 yards and one touchdown and throwing a 27-yard touchdown to Arlandus Richardson that broke a scoreless tie early in the second quarter.

Keltain Malveaux ran for 161 yards and two touchdowns and Randall Goforth returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown as Poly (2-1) bounced back from a decisive loss the week before to Ventura St. Bonaventure.

In a matchup between one of the best programs in the Southern Section and one of the best in the Los Angeles City Section, Poly proved that while its offense is fully capable of winning games, its defense can be counted on to save them.

-- Steve Galluzzo