HUNTINGTON BEACH — It was just moments after Edison High had defeated Marina, that Chargers Coach Dave White stood near midfield, staring into the still night at Huntington Beach's Cap Sheue Field, as though looking for answers.
It was hardly the look of a coach whose team had just won.
"Marina played harder than we did," he said, although the scoreboard favored Edison, 24-12, Thursday in the Sunset League opener for both teams. "They played hard and my hat's off to them. We're just not a very good football team right now."
Edison, which snapped a two-game losing streak to improve to 4-2 overall, never trailed but had its hands full all night with the Vikings, who fell to 3-3.
The Chargers scored on three big touchdown passes yet an aggressive Marina defense stifled their running game throughout the night, holding it to 40 total yards.
"We didn't run the ball, period," White said. "We had absolutely no run game. Plus, we had a lot of stupid penalties although that's not the first time we've run up a lot of penalties in a game this year. We had a couple of big plays on offense and a few on defense, and that's how we won."
Edison's first big play came midway through the first quarter when sophomore defensive end Trenton Aschoff recovered a muffed punt return by Marina's Brayde Hill at the Marina 45-yard line. The next big play came three snaps later when quarterback Chase Favreau hit a wide open Dejean King for a 45-yard touchdown pass. Gavin Perdomo's conversion gave the Chargers a 7-0 lead.
Favreau had two more big touchdown passes in the game, both to receiver Troy Baljeu. The first came on a 25-yard play that pushed Edison's lead to 14-6 late in the first half, the second on a 35-yard scoring play on a fourth-and-10 call early in the third quarter. Favreau did a pump fake and then found a wide-open Baljeu at the Marina 10. The junior strolled into the end zone and Perdomo's third conversion of the game made it 24-6 with 6:58 left in the third quarter.
Edison was up, 17-6, at the half after Perdomo connected on a 30-yard field goal with 11 seconds left before intermission.
Marina also took advantage of a muffed punt return to score its first touchdown. It happened late in the first quarter when Eli Cabaccang pounced on a fumble by the Chargers' Roland Blackiston at the Edison 45. Three plays later, running back Alex Waked rambled 29 yards to the end zone. The point after failed and the Vikings trailed, 7-6, with 11:43 left in the first half.
After Edison had taken its 24-6 lead on its first possession of the second half, Hill electrified the crowd with an 81-yard kickoff return out to the Edison 19. Three plays later, and following a personal foul call against Edison, Waked scored from seven yards out to pull the Vikings to within 24-12.
Revitalized, Marina had two more chances to get even close. The Vikings, however, failed to convert both times deep in Edison territory.
On Edison's next possession after Waked's TD, the Vikings' Alex Willingham scooped up a Nick Masaniai fumble at midfield and returned it 15 yards down to the Edison 35. Marina did convert a fourth-and-seven play on a nine-yard pass from quarterback Nick Marshall to Scott Reed to keep the drive alive and eventually reached the 14-yard line where it again faced fourth down. This time, Waked was stuffed at the line of scrimmage, two yards shy of a first down, and Edison took over one minute into the fourth quarter.
The Vikings forced Edison into a three-and-out on the Chargers' next possession and got the ball back at the Edison 36 with 8:39 to play. They drove to the eight-yard line and after Waked was dropped for a three-yard loss on third down by Aschoff, faced fourth-and-four. Marshall's pass in the flat to Hill fell incomplete and Edison took over on downs with 5:33 remaining.
The Chargers then ran out the clock.
"I thought we played really well and we had our chances but made some mistakes that cost us," Marina Coach George Pascoe said. "Penalties in crucial moments just killed us, and it's tough to lose that way."
Neither team could mount any type of offense in the first half. Of Marina's seven possessions, six resulted in three-and-out series. Of Edison's eight possessions, five were three-and-out series. Edison also racked up 70 yards in penalties in the opening half.
Favreau ended up eight of 18 for 114 yards. Baljeu had four receptions total 58 yards.
Waked led all rushers with 60 yards on 24 carries.
Both Edison and Marina play homecoming games next week on Oct. 22. The Chargers play host Huntington Beach at Sheue Field, and the Vikings entertain Fountain Valley at Westminster High. Both start at 7 p.m.
In other Thursday games:
Ocean View 30, Orange 14: The Seahawks opened up Golden West League play with a convincing win over the host Panthers at El Modena High. Running back Timmy Robinson rushed for two touchdowns, Colton Johnson scored a defensive touchdown and Brian Hernandez kicked two field goals for Ocean View which is now 5-1 overall.