Peaking at the right time. That seems to be the direction the Edison football team has taken during the first two weeks of the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
For the second straight week, the top-seeded Chargers dominated the opposition in picking up its second win in Southwest Division play. They remained undefeated on the road this year by rolling to a 52-14 quarterfinal victory last Friday at Valencia of Placentia.
The Chargers began their playoff march on Nov. 9 with a 27-3 win against Esperanza. Next up is a semifinal date at 7 p.m. Friday against No. 4-seeded Foothill at Orange Coast College.
"We're playing really well right now," said Edison Coach Dave White who registered a milestone victory in last week's win against Valencia. "We're pretty balanced in our attack and we're playing with confidence. That's what you want to see from your team at this stage of the season."
Edison is the lone remaining team alive in postseason competition. Huntington Beach had its Southwest Division title hopes dashed last week by defending champ and No. 2 seed Tustin. The Tillers (12-0) face No. 3 seed Villa Park (10-2) in Friday's other semifinal.
White, who played quarterback at Edison, earned his 200th coaching victory at his alma mater last Friday. In his 27th year at the helm, White is 200-104-3.
The Chargers stormed to a 38-7 halftime lead on Valencia (8-4) in improving to 11-1 overall. It's the third time in the last seven years that the program has won 11 or more games.
Senior quarterback Aleksander Torgersen was 12 of 20 for 237 yards with touchdown passes of 16 yards to senior Trevor Borkowski and 81 yards to senior Elijah Herrera. The Chargers had two scores on returns, the first coming in the opening quarter on a 23-yard interception return by Herrera, and junior Kiante Goudeau returned a kickoff late in the first half 95 yards for a touchdown.
Senior running back Donald Rice started the scoring with a 14-yard touchdown run in the opening quarter, junior Hunter Kelley closed out the first half with a 41-yard field goal, and junior running back Marcus Swanigan scored on runs of 24- and one-yard runs in the third quarter that increased the lead to 52-7.
Valencia scored its first touchdown on a short drive in the opening half after an interception return set the Tigers up inside the Edison 10-yard line. Their final score came in the fourth quarter against Edison's second defensive unit.
"It was a pretty special night," said White who was presented with a commemorative plaque after the game by Edison Athletic Director Rich Boyce following the Valencia win. "The kids played really well. We moved the ball on offense and our defense played another great game. Our special teams played a great game, too. We couldn't have played much better, really."
The Chargers played the quarterfinal game without leading rusher Marquis Ross (knee injury). White said that Ross will not play Friday.
Foothill, Edison's semifinal opponent, edged La Habra, 30-27, in another quarterfinal game last Friday. Senior quarterback Jack Gilchrist (16 of 25) thew for 199 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores as the Knights came back from a 13-10 halftime deficit.
The Knights have a strong receiving corps that includes the Moss twins, Julian and Jarrell. Julian Moss had 133 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions against La Habra. Both also start at defensive back and are threats on kickoffs and punt returns.
"Foothill's definitely the best team we've faced, so far, in the playoffs," White said. "They have a lot of weapons and our special teams are going to have to contend with those [Moss] brothers.
"We have a lot of respect for Foothill. I've known Coach [Doug] Case for nearly 25 years, and his team plays in our summer league tournament every year. We're looking forward to the game."
The Knights (10-2) on Friday will be facing their second Sunset League team this year. In their opening game Aug. 24, they pulled away late to a 28-14 victory over Fountain Valley.
A victory Friday would put Edison in a Southern Section division final for the second time in four years. The Chargers finished runner-up to Servite in the 2009 Pac-5 Division final.
The Southwest Division championship game is at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 at Angel Stadium.
In another Southwest Division quarterfinal game last Friday, Huntington Beach fell, 49-18, to visiting Tustin. The Tillers, who attempted only two passes for the game, rolled up nearly 300 rushing yards in the first half which ended with them holding a 35-12 lead. They scored on five of their six first-half possessions in winning their 20th straight game.
Huntington trailed, 14-0, after the first quarter. The Oilers got some momentum back at the outset of the second quarter by recording a safety on a botched punt by the Tillers on the first play of the quarter. After Marco Valenzuela returned the ensuing free kick to midfield, the Oilers moved down to the Tustin seven thanks to a 19-yard run by Bo Breunig. The drive stalled but Wyatt Marlow kicked a 22-yard field goal to make it a 14-5 game.
Junior quarterback Kai Ross scored Huntington's first touchdown on a short keeper just before halftime. Breunig, a senior who rushed for 145 yards in his final game, scored on a 15-yard run with 3:14 remaining in the game.
Junior linebacker Matthew Tavakoli came up with a fumble recovery and return of 26 yards on the second play of the second half to put Huntington at the Tustin 40-yard line, but the Oilers couldn't capitalize after fumbling the ball away at the Tustin seven.
Huntington, the No. 3 team from the Sunset League, closed out a 6-6 campaign. The Oilers reached the playoff quarterfinals for the second straight year.
"I thought our effort was good but we had breakdowns on [defensive] assignments, and you can't do that against a team like Tustin," Huntington Coach Eric Lo said. "They have some good athletes and they can really run the ball. We had opportunities but we didn't capitalize on them.
"It was a good season for us. We had a lot of injuries and went through a lot this year, and to be here, in the second round of the playoffs, says a lot about our kids."
Twitter: @MikeSciaccaCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times