No one dared to pencil in Huntington Beach Edison as a Southern Section Division I title contender before the season, but the Chargers can no longer be overlooked after their 22-8 thumping of neighborhood rival Fountain Valley on Friday night before a crowd of close to 10,000 at Edison Field.
Matt White, the son of Edison Coach Dave White, had two interceptions, caught a 33-yard touchdown pass and was part of a defense that recorded nine tackles for losses against a team that only two weeks ago beat Los Alamitos, then the No. 2-ranked team in the nation.
By winning the critical Sunset League game, Edison (6-3, 3-1), ranked No. 22 by The Times, created a three-way tie for first place with No. 12 Fountain Valley (6-3, 3-1) and No. 7 Los Alamitos (8-1, 3-1).
The Chargers keep raising their level of play, particularly on defense. Despite having only three senior starters and no huge linemen, Edison has limited opponents to one or zero touchdowns in seven of its nine games.
Sophomore quarterback Brian Shrock completed eight of nine passes for 124 yards with two touchdowns.
Fountain Valley's offense was stuck in reverse most of the night. The Barons trailed, 16-0, at halftime. Quarterback Chris Debowski had three passes intercepted in the second quarter and was saved from a fourth interception by an official's call. Fountain Valley was outgained, 123-16, in the first half.
Asked about the Chargers' defensive success, inside linebacker Nate Mitani said, "It's all heart. We've got more heart than anyone."
Fullerton Troy 22, Fullerton 21 -- Trailing, 21-20, with only 1:41 to play, Troy Coach John Turek decided to go for broke. Ron Blanco made his coach's gamble pay off, taking the ball around the right corner and into the end zone for a two-point conversion and an upset of previously undefeated Fullerton (8-1, 3-1).
The victory gave Turek, who is retiring at the end of the season, the most career victories in Freeway League history at 149. It also gave Troy (7-2, 3-1) a share of the league lead.
"I'm numb," Turek said. "I've never been this excited. With that little time [left], we had to go for it."
Fullerton, ranked No. 23 by The Times, took a 21-14 lead with 2:50 to play on a nine-play drive capped by an eight-yard touchdown run by Brian Allen.
Troy then took four plays to drive 59 yards, the bulk of them coming on a 43-yard reception for a touchdown by tight end Zack Myers on a pass from Evan Webber.
Agoura 17, Moorpark 0 -- Joey LaRocque rushed for 63 yards in 16 carries and scored a touchdown as the host Chargers clinched a playoff berth with the Marmonte League victory.
LaRocque, who had three receptions for 51 yards, scored on a four-yard run with 4:25 left in the third quarter to give Agoura (8-1, 5-1) its final margin of victory. The run capped a six-play, 29-yard drive after an interception by Josh Silverman.
Agoura quarterback Bryan Walker completed 10 of 19 passes for 142 yards and rushed for 35 yards in 14 carries.
Cody Holland of Moorpark (7-2, 5-1) completed 14 of 24 passes for 191 yards, but he had two passes intercepted in the second half.
Ojai Nordhoff 35, Westlake Village Oaks Christian 28 -- Junior running back Will Strong gained 157 yards in 23 carries in the second half and scored the last three touchdowns for the Rangers, who rallied to beat visiting Oaks Christian and clinch the Tri-Valley League championship.
Previously unbeaten Oaks Christian (8-1, 4-1) led, 28-13, before Strong scored on runs of three, 16 and 54 yards in the last 11:19. His efforts helped Nordhoff (8-1, 6-0) secure its first league title since 2000.
Strong, who suffered a strained left knee in the Rangers' last game, was limited to only eight yards in three carries in the first half and Oaks Christian led, 21-13, at intermission, following the Lions' comeback of their own from an early 13-0 deficit.
Oaks Christian rallied behind senior quarterback Joey Halzle and freshman running back Marc Tyler. Halzle completed 15 of 26 passes for 218 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown pass to Mark Richardson.
-- Lauren Peterson