For the 14th consecutive year, Edison High owns the Battle for the Bell football rivalry.
Behind a one-two punch of Kobe Lopez and Mike Walters, who combined to rush for four touchdowns and almost 300 yards, the Chargers easily beat host Fountain Valley 42-20 at Orange Coast College on Friday night.
Lopez rushed 36 times for 208 yards and one touchdown, while Walters had 10 carries for 85 yards and three touchdowns. The ground attack most likely secured an Edison (5-4, 3-1 in league) berth into the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.
The third-place Chargers have a showdown in the regular-season finale with Los Alamitos, which shares first place in the league with Corona del Mar at 3-0-1, at Cerritos College on Oct. 26.
“Our line is just killing it upfront,” said Lopez, a senior who has rushed for 541 yards and four touchdowns in his past three games. “The game is usually leaning on the run game and we are just working through it.”
It was a defensive battle for most of the first quarter as both teams went three-and-out on their first two possessions. Once Edison got into a groove, it was able to march down the field with Lopez.
The Chargers struck first in the 51st edition of the rivalry. Walters found the end zone on a two-yard run with a little more than four minutes left in the opening quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Edison scored again. Sophomore quarterback Braeden Boyles connected with senior wide receiver Jacob Biddle for a 19-yard touchdown pass, putting the Chargers up 14-0. Boyles completed 10 of 21 passes for 150 yards.
Fountain Valley’s successes were few and far between as it was not able to find a whole lot through the air or on the ground when it mattered.
Josh Stupin, who was 21-for-31 passing for 382 yards and three touchdowns, found senior receiver Brandon Krause on the sideline, resulting in a 71-yard score. Fountain Valley cut the deficit in half with 9:09 left in the first half.
But Edison extended the lead right before halftime. Walters got his second score, coming on a one-yard run, giving the Chargers a 21-7 lead with 27 seconds remaining in the first half.
After the break, it was more of the same from Edison’s running game. The Chargers capitalized on Fountain Valley’s mistakes, which included a lost fumble, a turnover on downs and penalties.
Boyles was able to score on a 35-yard run to increase the Edison advantage to 28-7 midway through the third quarter. Walters followed that up with a four-yard touchdown run five seconds into the fourth quarter.
Almost five minutes later, Lopez was able to score on a one-yard run.
Fountain Valley (4-5, 0-4), ranked No. 10 in the CIF Southern Section Division 8 poll, did not quit, even when it was down 42-7.
Stupin had connected with Tristan Bettinghausen and Jaylen Flores for a 76- and 80-yard touchdown, respectively. Though they were impressive plays, it was already too late.
Edison coach Jeff Grady credited Lopez and Walters for putting the game away.
“They both run hard and run physical,” Grady said. “They run with their pads down and they fall forward most of the time.”
Fountain Valley coach Jimmy Nolan praised the Chargers, who lead the Battle for the Bell series 36-14-1.
“We couldn’t stop the run, and when you can’t stop the run, you can’t win football games,” said Nolan, whose team has dropped five consecutive games and will most likely miss the postseason. “As for turnovers, you can’t turn the ball over against a team like Edison.”
Edison 42, Fountain Valley 20
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Edison 7 – 14 – 7 – 14 — 42
Fountain Valley 0 – 7 – 0 – 13 — 20
E – Walters 2 run (Spradlin kick), 4:17.
E – Biddle 19 pass from Boyles (Spradlin kick), 10:35.
FV – Krause 71 pass from Stupin (Martinez kick), 9:09.
E – Walters 1 run (Spradlin kick), :27.
E – Boyles 35 run (Spradlin kick), 6:28.
E – Walters 4 run (Spradlin kick), 11:55.
E – Lopez 1 run (Spradlin kick), 6:51.
FV – Bettinghausen 76 pass from Stupin (Martinez kick), 5:55.
FV – Flores 80 pass from Stupin (kick failed), :12.
E – Lopez, 36-208, 1 TD.
FV – Fuiava, 6-29.
E – Boyles, 10-21-0, 150, 1 TD.
FV – Stupin, 21-31-0, 382, 3 TDs.
E – Biddle, 3-42, 1 TD.
FV – Flores, 2-97, 1 TD.
MIKE REGALADO is a contributor to Times Community News. Follow him on Twitter: @TheBigDisco