Edison Values Family

Matt White of Huntington Beach Edison made a diving interception against Santa Ana Mater Dei. Any proud father sitting in the bleachers would have been jumping up and down, giving high-fives and shouting, "That's my boy."

White's father, Edison football Coach Dave White, didn't have time to celebrate. He had to get his team's offense on the field.

It was hours later, away from the crowd, that father and son took a moment together to appreciate the effort.

"Right after the game, he was telling me, 'Good job,' " Matt said.

It can be an uneasy alliance when a father is coaching his son.

Trouble happens when either one forgets his role, and then it's up to Mom to come to the rescue as mediator.

Fortunately, the Whites are thriving in their father-son relationship. Matt tied a school record earlier this season with 13 receptions in a game against Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley. He leads Edison (3-1) in receiving with 25 catches for 374 yards and two touchdowns.

Another son, Hunter, is playing on the freshman team. Dave, a 1974 Edison graduate, is enjoying every minute seeing his sons follow the same path he took.

"It's no master plan," Dave said. "It just worked out that way. Edison was always a great place for me. I've been coaching there for 24 years. It's probably as much a thrill for them playing for Edison as it was for me."

Matt started out as an Edison ball boy when he was 7 and knew from that day what his future would entail.

"Since the first day I set foot on the field, I couldn't wait to get there," he said.

While others wondered whether he'd be uncomfortable having his father as coach, Matt believed the opposite.

"I thought that was the best part of it," he said. "You get to spend the whole time with your Dad. It's been great."

Matt, a senior, has been on the varsity since his sophomore season. After practice, he and Hunter take a 20-minute ride home with their father. And don't think they are talking about allowances, dinner or movies. It's football. But at home, the coach becomes Dad.

"Once you get home, he's different," Matt said.

Not that his father isn't capable of entering one of his moods. Silence in the car or at home means he's a little annoyed. That's the way he was on the ride home after a 6-0 loss to Mater Dei last week. Matt understands the pressures on his father.

"He expects more out of me, and I know that and do everything I can," he said.

Said Dave: "He's hard to get mad at. He's a lot nicer than I am."

Teammates tease Matt if his father erupts at practice, joking, "Is he like this at home?"

One of the joys of growing up in a close-knit community is to see a father who played quarterback at the local high school now coaching his son at the same school. And there could be a third White son playing for Edison. Garrett is only 6 and getting ready to become a ball boy.

Matt thinks it will be "cool" to look back at video one day and compare it to his father's game films, seeing the difference between generations.

Asked who looks better wearing an Edison uniform, Matt said, "Probably me because our uniforms are little more advanced."

On Thursday, Edison will play Los Alamitos, the No. 1-ranked team in the Southland by The Times, in a Sunset League game.

Los Alamitos is coached by John Barnes, whose son, Jimmy, is the team's starting quarterback. The Whites and Barneses will have much to talk about.

But one thing is certain for Dave White.

"It's just fun coaching [Matt]," he said. "It's real special."

And don't be surprised if someday Matt follows in his father's coaching footsteps.

Asked if he'd like to become a coach, Matt said, "I've thought about it. I've been around football all my life. It's the greatest."

Eric Sondheimer can be reached at eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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