Edison High School could afford the usual opening game raggedness Friday, and still come away with a 15-8 nonleague victory. That's because Edison's opponent, Long Beach Jordan, was operating somewhere in the threadbare-to-completely-shredded vicinity.
Edison (1-0) took advantage of a Jordan fumble to score the winning touchdown, a 17-yard pass from quarterback John Khamis to Ryan Belitz with 5 minutes 38 seconds left in the game.
It wasn't the first Jordan mistake, and not all of them led to Edison scores, but most came when Jordan seemed certain to score.
Early in the second quarter, Jordan had a fourth-and-two situation with the ball on the Edison four-yard line. But an offside penalty moved the ball back to the nine. Jordan brought out its field-goal kicking team, but while kicker Mike Lorenz was still counting his steps, the ball was snapped. Lorenz rushed and made a wild swipe at the ball. The kick was blocked.
A few minutes later, Jordan had the ball on the Edison three-yard line, after Jerome Henderson turned a screen pass into a 46-yard gain. Quarterback Johnny Nansen kept the ball and appeared poised to score, but fumbled into the end zone and Edison recovered for a touchback.
There was more. With time winding down in the first half, the Panthers had a first down on the Edison two-yard line. The Jordan coaching staff called three consecutive quarterback sneaks that got no yards. On fourth and goal, Nansen was tackled for a seven-yard loss as he rolled to his right.
"I give our guys on the line a lot of credit," Edison Coach Dave White said. "They hung in there and stopped them when they had to."
While Jordan was having its problems, Edison was sputtering. After a scoreless first half, the Chargers got on the board when Khamis completed an 11-yard pass to Steve Blanchard with 4:07 left in the third quarter.
Jordan soon answered when Nansen, who rushed for 121 yards in 17 carries, broke away for a 68-yard touchdown run a little more than a minute later. A two-point conversion pass from Lorenz, who fielded a bad snap, to Derrick Bradley, gave Jordan an 8-7 lead.
Nansen's run displayed Jordan's great speed advantage over Edison.
"They've got to be at least twice as fast as we are," White said.
But Edison overcame with a ball-control offense that relied heavily on running back Travis Balding, who rushed for 127 yards in 20 carries.