Football coaches might want their teams to approach every game in the same manner, but some games on the schedule stand out.
The Edison High football team hosted Orange Lutheran of the Trinity League on Friday night, and the Chargers did everything except win in a chance to play under the bright lights of a big game.
Ashton Logan made a 29-yard field goal with 40 seconds remaining, and Orange Lutheran defeated Edison 17-14 in a nonleague game at Huntington Beach High.
“We wanted this one so bad tonight,” Chargers senior wide receiver Cole Koffler said. “We were just waiting for this one to come up on the schedule forever because it was like back to an old Sunset League versus Trinity League matchup.
“This one hurt. This one really hurt.”
Edison (2-1) was looking for its first win against a Trinity League opponent since defeating Servite 6-0 on the road on Sept. 14, 2012. Had the Chargers defeated Orange Lutheran (2-1), it would have marked the first 3-0 start for Edison since 2016, when it won the CIF Southern Section Division 3 title over La Mirada.
4th down and 5, no problem. Boyles to Cole Koffler from 22 yards and Edison answers OLU TD with their own. It is now 14-7 Chargers. @ocvarsity @latsondheimer @EdisonSportsNet @EdisonFootball_ @DailyPilotSport @craiganddiane @SteveFryer pic.twitter.com/CKJC2Jc3Gn— Rich Boyce (@richboyce4) September 7, 2019
Koffler scored a touchdown from 22 yards out on a fourth-down pass from Braeden Boyles with 3:49 to go in the third quarter, giving Edison a 14-7 lead.
Orange Lutheran senior running back Cooper Vander Hill carried the load for the Lancers, gaining 95 of his game-high 169 rushing yards in the second half.
“They always want us to be a real gritty team,” Vander Hill said. “That’s what the coaches are trying to label us as, so we just went out there and kept fight and fighting and came out with a big [win].”
The Lancers were able to answer the Koffler touchdown with one of their own. A 65-yard drive was completed with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Logan Gonzalez to Tiger Bachmeier, tying the score at 14-14 on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Ethan Howard also had a four-yard rushing touchdown for the Lancers in the third quarter.
Orange Lutheran went for it on fourth-and-goal at the Edison four with 4:53 remaining. Trent Fletcher got pressure in the backfield and forced Gonzalez’s throw off target.
The Lancers forced the Chargers to punt, and Orange Lutheran got the ball back with 2:41 to go at the Edison 48. When fourth down came up again, the Lancers opted to kick the field goal, and Logan converted.
Edison scored on its second drive of the game. Boyles stepped out of a tackle in the backfield by Joseph Wiersma, extending the Chargers’ drive with a six-yard scramble on a third-and-five play.
Mike Walters capitalized on the conversion, breaking free for a 25-yard touchdown run off right tackle.
Tanner Gunnell took charge on the ensuing defensive possession. Vander Hill broke a tackle on a 48-yard run for the Lancers, but Gunnell made the touchdown-saving tackle across midfield.
He also had a tackle for a four-yard loss, and when the Lancers failed on a fourth-down attempt, Gunnell had the coverage.
“He was amazing tonight,” Koffler said of Gunnell. “He was all over the defense, all over the field, making plays left and right.
“He was a man out there. He was a man. He really left his mark on this game, on this team and on [Orange Lutheran].”
The Chargers went into halftime with a 7-0 lead, but they could have taken a more commanding lead.
Jack Baron had two interceptions near the Orange Lutheran goal line to keep the Lancers close. The first came when Boyles underthrew Koffler on a deep route up the left sideline.
Later in the second quarter, Jacob Hanlon had thrown for 54 passing yards on his first drive leading the offense before Baron picked off a pass at the Orange Lutheran two, returning it 39 yards to get the Lancers out of the shadow of their own end zone.
“He understands big games, and boy, that was a huge takeaway for them because if not, the score is the other way,” Lancers coach JP Presley said.
PJ Campbell had 95 receiving yards, and Ryan Rivituso added 71 receiving yards for the Chargers. Walters finished with 67 rushing yards on 11 carries.
“[The turnovers] definitely hurt, but we had other opportunities, too,” Chargers coach Jeff Grady said. “I thought our kids played hard. I don’t want to miss that fact. Our kids played really, really hard, and they made a lot of great plays. We just came up short. I’m very proud of the way we played.”
Orange Lutheran 17, Edison 14
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Orange Lutheran 0 – 0 – 7 – 10 — 17
Edison 7 – 0 – 7 – 0 — 14
E – Walters 25 run (Tro. Fletcher kick), 4:24.
OL – Howard 4 run (Rabbit kick), 6:46.
E – Koffler 22 pass from Boyles (Tro. Fletcher kick), 3:49.
OL – Bachmeier 7 pass from Gonzalez (Rabbit kick), 11:54.
OL – Logan 29 FG, :40.
OL – Vander Hill, 22-169.
E – Walters, 11-67, 1 TD.
OL – Gonzalez, 14-19-0, 104, 1 TD.
E – Boyles, 8-20-3, 131, 1 TD.
OL – Bachmeier, 4-38, 1 TD.
E – Campbell, 4-95.
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