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Edison football makes statement with shutout of San Clemente

Edison's Tyler Hampton catches the ball over San Clemente's Blake Allen during a nonleague game on Friday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Since opening week when the Edison High School football team was forced to schedule a new opponent at a moment’s notice due to COVID-19, the Chargers have had one challenge after another thrown at them.

Edison was more than up to the task against a stout defense in its final tuneup before the start of Sunset League play.

A big-play offense and timely turnovers on defense sent the Chargers to a 42-0 victory over San Clemente on Friday in a nonleague game at Huntington Beach High School.

Edison (3-2) had lost its last three meetings with San Clemente, all of them since Jeff Grady had succeeded Dave White as the head coach of the Chargers, and all of those defeats coming by one possession.

Edison's Nico Brown is wrapped up by San Clemente's Ethan Rea on Friday.
Edison’s Nico Brown is wrapped up by San Clemente’s Ethan Rea on Friday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Another close game seemed to be forthcoming with the Chargers lining up against a Tritons defense that had not surrendered more than 13 points in any game this season. A week ago, San Clemente limited a potent CdM squad to a single touchdown.

San Clemente, though, lost that game, and if the Chargers executed on defense, they could be there at the end.

A game-defining play was delivered by the Edison defense on the opening drive, as Peyton Gregory ripped the ball from San Clemente quarterback Lachlan Van Rosmalen near the Chargers’ goal line and returned it up the near sideline for a 97-yard touchdown.

Gregory described the play as “probably the biggest moment in my football career.”

Edison's Cody Grbic, left, and Dom Lopez tackle San Clemente's Blake Allen.
Edison’s Cody Grbic, left, and Dom Lopez tackle San Clemente’s Blake Allen.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

San Clemente (3-2) had worked its way back into the red zone when Dom Lopez stepped in front of a Van Rosmalen pass to end another promising drive for the Tritons.

It was one of two interceptions for Lopez and three for Edison in the game, with the other going to Gregory.

“They were marching down the field on us, and they had a heck of a drive going, a long drive,” Grady said of Gregory’s defensive touchdown and the subsequent turnovers created by his team’s defense. “I mean, they had two long drives in the first quarter, and it absolutely sparked us. Those are big, emotional shifts.”

Another momentum-grabbing play for Edison came when Hudson Letterman recovered a pooch kick by Nicholas Preston, giving the Chargers a short field that they would take advantage of. On the next play, Parker Awad launched a deep pass to Tyler Hampton for a 39-yard touchdown.

“We’re just getting better and better every single week,” Gregory said. “As you can see, the score is showing that. Last week, we took it to Palos Verdes and beat them. We’re just going to continue to do that for the rest of the season.”

Edison's Peyton Gregory strips the ball from San Clemente quarterback Lachlan Van Rosmalen during a nonleague game Friday.
Edison’s Peyton Gregory strips the ball from San Clemente quarterback Lachlan Van Rosmalen. Gregory ran 97 yards for a touchdown.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Edison had a 21-0 lead before Nico Brown, the reigning Sunset League offensive player of the year, had made his first reception of the contest after the midway point of the second quarter.

Brown became the focal point of the offense coming out of the locker room, making five catches for 58 yards on the opening drive of the second half.

That led to another short-yardage touchdown on the ground for Troy Fletcher to extend the lead to 28-0.

Fletcher turned seven carries into 58 yards and three touchdowns. Brown finished with seven receptions for 87 yards.

Awad had 305 passing yards, including the 39-yard touchdown pass to Hampton in the second quarter.

Edison's Peyton Gregory grabs a shirt of San Clemente's Brock Della Vedova.
Edison’s Peyton Gregory grabs a shirt of San Clemente’s Brock Della Vedova.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Before the game, the Chargers honored the American servicemen that lost their lives in the Kabul Airport attack in Afghanistan. As the Edison players came out onto the field, there were 13 American flags in their ranks, along with pictures of the 13 servicemen.

It was a special moment for Hampton, who said his parents helped to organize the tribute.

“That was a big part of the day because my father, he was in the Marine Corps, so that kind of just hit close to the heart,” Hampton said. “That was a big part of the day, as well.”

After the pandemic forced Edison to find a replacement for their scheduled season opener against Venice, the Chargers added Servite to their schedule.

The Chargers were handed losses by two Trinity League opponents in nonleague play, the other coming against Orange Lutheran.

Edison's Nathan Gates lifts Tyler Hampton in celebration after Hampton scored in the first half against San Clemente.
Edison’s Nathan Gates lifts Tyler Hampton in celebration after Hampton scored in the first half against San Clemente.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Grady said he believes his team responded well to the challenging nonleague schedule and is entering league as a better team because of it.

“I think when you play against good teams, they expose your flaws,” Grady said. “We were exposed early, especially against Servite, and then you kind of learn from your mistakes. As we tell our team, the video never lies. That’s our résumé, and teams we play get it every week, so what do you want to be on your résumé?

“I think our team has bought in, and they’ve found ways to get a little bit better each week.”

Nonleague

Edison 42, San Clemente 0

SCORE BY QUARTERS

San Clemente 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0

Edison 7 – 14 – 14 – 7 – 42

FIRST QUARTER

E – Gregory 97 fumble recovery (Preston kick), 8:17.

SECOND QUARTER

E – Fletcher 3 run (Preston kick), 11:54.

E – Hampton 39 pass from Awad (Preston kick), 11:44.

THIRD QUARTER

E – Fletcher 5 run (Preston kick), 6:45.

E – Fletcher 23 run (Preston kick), 4:49.

FOURTH QUARTER

E – Hogue 1 run (Preston kick), 7:35.

INDIVIDUAL RUSHING

SC – Allen, 10-26.

E – Fletcher, 7-58, 3 TDs; Hogue, 8-31, 1 TD.

INDIVIDUAL PASSING

SC – Van Rosmalen, 14-23-3, 132.

E – Awad, 18-23-0, 305, 1 TD.

INDIVIDUAL RECEIVING

SC – Della Vedova, 3-59.

E – Hampton, 3-97, 1 TD; Brown, 7-87; Tripp, 4-61.

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