Hunter Griggs heard the people talking after the season opener for the Edison High football team.
The Chargers beat Tesoro by a single point, a thrilling victory. But in giving up 47 points, it wasn't exactly the finest hour for the Edison defense.
"At the start of the season, a lot of people were doubting us," said Griggs, a defensive end. "We gave up a lot of points, 47 points, and everybody was saying that Edison has no defense."
Recent evidence, though, suggests the opposite.
Edison blanked San Juan Hills, 28-0, on homecoming Friday night at Cap Sheue Field. It was the Chargers' second straight nonleague shutout, after last week's 38-0 rout of Canyon.
The Chargers (3-1), ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division 2, now hope for good news on senior running back and team captain Jack Carmichael. He was injured midway through the second quarter Friday night after he was hit hard near the Edison sideline by a San Juan Hills defensive back. Carmichael, who had 12 carries for 56 yards and a touchdown before the injury, had his left ankle heavily taped up before he was carted off the field just before halftime.
Enter Griggs, who had already impacted the game on the defensive side by forcing two first-quarter fumbles that San Juan Hills (2-2), ranked No. 8 in Division 4, was able to recover. Before Friday, Griggs had just one carry for one yard and a touchdown this season, but he moved into the primary tailback position with Carmichael out.
"I used to play running back in Arizona, so I'm used to it a little bit," said Griggs, a senior transfer from Pinnacle High in Phoenix. "But it was definitely really fun. I hate to see Jack go down, because he's such a good player, but the line really made it easy for me …. Offense is such a rush. The line, I can't say enough. They opened up the holes."
The drive on which Carmichael got hurt ended up being 99 yards late in the second quarter. Griggs finished it off with an eight-yard touchdown run, a play after senior quarterback Griffin O'Connor found senior receiver Brandon Moradian on a 29-yard pass.
Griggs finished with 12 carries for 75 yards, scoring his second touchdown in the fourth quarter. This one came from two yards out from the Wildcat formation. Kobe Lopez, a junior for Edison, also contributed seven carries for 36 yards.
"That's why I keep telling our guys it's an ultimate team game," Edison coach Jeff Grady said. "We needed other guys to step up and fill voids, and the guys did a good job of that tonight. Hunter Griggs stepped in, Kobe Lopez stepped in and played nicely for us."
Defensively the Chargers were stout, denying the Stallions and senior quarterback Matt Rodriguez. David Atencio, Cameron Eden and Mateo Gallego all had second-half interceptions for Edison to preserve the shutout. Atencio, who caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from O'Connor in the first quarter to open the scoring, got his pick in the end zone. Eden and Gallego both had their interceptions in the red zone, with Eden returning his about 45 yards to near midfield.
"I'm excited with how they're playing," Grady said of the defense. "They're playing inspired, doing a lot of good things. It's not easy shutting people out. Obviously, we had some big turnovers throughout the game. They were driving a bit, and we'd come up with a big play, an interception. That part of it was a lot of fun.
"[Defensive coordinator] Coach [Rick] Justice is doing a really good job on that side of the ball with those guys … The kids are buying in and they're doing a good job."
Edison has a bye next week before what figures to be a highly anticipated game at San Clemente (4-0) on Sept. 29. The Tritons ended the Chargers' season and former longtime coach Dave White's career a year ago, edging Edison, 39-35, in the CIF State Southern California Regional Division 1-A Bowl Game.
Grady was recognized before the game as the Los Angeles Chargers High School Coach of the Week, and awarded a $1,000 check by Chargers lineman Kenny Wiggins. The 11 new members of the Edison Hall of Fame, including White, were also honored.
Edison 28, San Juan Hills 0
San Juan Hills…………………..0 0 0 0 — 0
Edison…………………….……14 7 0 7 — 28
Edi – Atencio 8 pass from O'Connor (Morrell kick), 5:30.
Edi – Carmichael 14 run (Morrell kick), 3:39.
Edi – Griggs 8 run (Morrell kick), 1:20.
Edi – Griggs 2 run (Morrell kick), 9:51.
SJH – Monarch, 6-42.
Edi – Griggs, 12-75, 2 TDs.
SJH – Rodriguez, 15-35-3, 137.
Edi – O'Connor, 12-20-1, 180, 1 TD.
SJH – Collins, 7-91.
Edi – Atencio, 7-83, 1 TD.