To say Cole Koffler’s spirits have been down is an understatement. He dealt with more than Edison High opening the football season with two losses.
Koffler said he lost his grandfather, Rudy Reyes, to a heart attack on Tuesday, a couple of days before the Chargers’ next nonleague game. While Reyes, who was from the Philippines, didn’t really understand the game of football, he always supported Koffler.
Koffler dedicated Thursday’s game to his grandpa. The junior wide receiver put on a show, one that Reyes would have been proud of.
Koffler caught nine passes for an Edison single-game record 265 yards and three touchdowns, and the host Chargers won their first game, a 51-15 rout of Canyon at Huntington Beach High.
“I know he’s looking down on me today,” Koffler said with a smile. “This one is for him.”
This one was for Reyes and the Chargers (1-2). Koffler came through for Edison, which avoided its first 0-3 start in 13 years.
By halftime, Koffler had eight receptions for 219 yards and two touchdowns. He was 33 yards shy of breaking Denny Flanagan’s single-game record of 251, set in 2001.
Through the first eight quarters, Edison produced one offensive touchdown, coming on a 12-yard catch by Koffler late in last week’s 38-7 loss at Westlake Village Oaks Christian. The score gave Koffler and quarterback Patrick Angelovic some momentum going into this week’s game.
Scoring wasn’t an issue for the Chargers against Canyon (0-3).
The Chargers scored seven touchdowns in the first three quarters on Thursday. Angelovic completed 13 of 17 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half.
Angelovic’s backup, Braeden Boyles, also threw a touchdown to Koffler. And it turned out to be the one Koffler needed to surpass Flanagan. The 6-foot-3 Koffler hauled in a 46-yard pass in the end zone early in the third quarter.
“It was kind of a long time coming,” Edison coach Jeff Grady said of the offensive eruption of 307 yards and three touchdowns through the air and 214 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. “We hadn’t been really consistent … offensively. It was good to get an effort like that.”
The Chargers found the end zone three times in the first 8½ minutes against Canyon. They should have scored on the first play from scrimmage.
Angelovic found a wide-open Koffler streaking on the left, but he put too much air under the ball. Koffler slowed down to catch the 43-yard pass. The two hooked up on a 21-yard pass on third-and-nine, setting up the offense at the one. From there, Mike Walters rushed for the score, one of his three of the night. And just like that Edison took its first lead of the season.
But Canyon responded two minutes later.
Two big plays, a 45-yard run by Jared Parker and a 24-yard catch by Jimmy Matiasevich, moved the Comanches to the Edison five-yard line. A short pass got them to the one, and after linebacker Luke Hoggard and Walters, playing linebacker, stopped Parker at the line of scrimmage on consecutive runs, Canyon went for it on fourth-and-goal. Quarterback Vince Hourigan scored on a one-yard keeper to the left, helping tie the game midway through the first quarter.
“We certainly didn’t start … the way we wanted to start [on defense],” Grady said. “We had a couple of mental errors early in that first drive. But we regrouped and we played physical.”
Jovanni Page, a defensive tackle, always seemed to be in Canyon’s backfield. Page, defensive ends Bryce Gilbert and Trent Fletcher, linebacker Cameron Eden, Hoggard and Walters slowed down the Comanches, who only passed for 63 yards and were tackled behind the line of scrimmage 11 times.
Gilbert recorded 1½ sacks and Fletcher added a sack, while Page combined on a sack. Page also recovered a fumble, which Gilbert caused when he sacked Hourigan and Edison took over at Canyon’s two. The Chargers went to their Wildcat offense, with Walters at quarterback, and he scored on a run to the left. Edison went ahead 20-7 in the first quarter.
The Chargers added to their advantage in the second quarter. Koffler caught a screen pass on the left, then went inside, before going to the left to complete a 17-yard touchdown. Kieren Spradlin converted a 24-yard field goal. Kobe Lopez, who rushed 13 times for 96 yards, scored on a one-yard run, allowing Edison to take a 37-7 lead into halftime.
“We finally found that spark that we were looking for,” Koffler said before looking up to the sky.
Edison 51, Canyon 15
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Canyon 7 – 0 – 0 – 8 — 15
Edison 20 – 17 – 14 – 0 — 51
E – Walters 1 run (Spradlin kick), 8:16.
C – Hourigan 1 run (Rouly kick), 6:16.
E – Koffler 28 pass from Angelovic (Spradlin kick), 4:25.
E – Walters 2 run (kick failed), 3:35.
E – Koffler 17 pass from Angelovic (Spradlin kick), 8:36.
E – Spradlin 24 FG, 3:31.
E – Lopez 1 run (Spradlin kick), 1:03.
E – Koffler 46 pass from Boyles (Spradlin kick), 9:16.
E – Walters 23 run (Erickson kick), 4:32.
C – Hij 1 run (Rouly run), 6:35.
C – Hij, 13-63, 1 TD.
E – Lopez, 13-96, 1 TD.
C – Hourigan, 6-12-0, 63.
E – Angelovic, 13-17-0, 257, 2 TDs.
C – Bradford, 2-21.