The Huntington Beach football team sailed over a frustrating hurdle last week. On Thursday, the Oilers will attempt to clear a second one.
The lead in the Sunset League standings is at stake at 7 p.m. at Cap Sheue Field when Huntington takes on Edison in the latest showdown in the championship race. Both teams enter Thursday's game 2-0 in league. Huntington is on a five-game win streak and is 6-1; Edison has won two straight and is 5-2.
The Chargers are ranked 10th in this week's CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division poll. Huntington comes in unranked.
"It's going to be exciting game," Huntington Beach Coach Eric Lo said. "We're really excited to be playing Edison. They always do a great job of coaching their guys up. This definitely is a big one for both teams."
Huntington finds itself in a rare spot: - playing for the league lead at the midway point of the league race. The Oilers took a giant stride forward in the standings Friday by knocking off Newport Harbor. The Oilers' resounding 35-7 victory was their first over the Sailors since 1991.
"It's probably the best performance by a team I've coached here," said Lo, who is in his fifth season as head coach of the Oilers. "It was a huge win for us against a great program (Newport Harbor). We had been talking all week long leading up to that game, about how big the game was for us. Then to go out and hold them to minus-four yards rushing, and rush for more than 350 ourselves, was amazing.
"The kids played really great that night and we're excited about it, but we have moved on."
The Oilers have to. The next challenge they face is playing an Edison program that hasn't lost in this series since a Tony Gonzalez-led Huntington squad posted a 10-7 victory in 1993.
Edison can assume the driver's seat in the league standing with a victory Thursday. The Chargers have already knocked off defending league champion Los Alamitos. They did so Oct. 13 by scoring a 10-7 win at Cap Sheue Field. Last week, the Chargers defense only surrendered a field goal in a 43-3 win over Marina.
Quarterback Chase Favreau tossed touchdown passes to Bryce Campbell and Sedric Hill and finished with 185 yards through the air. Running back Elijah Herrera returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score and later scored on a nine-yard run. Aleksander Torgersen threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Raekwon Yates in the fourth quarter.
"So far, we've got a big win over Los Al and last week took care of business against Marina. Now, we have another big one with Huntington," said Dave White, who was in his eighth year as Edison head coach the last time Huntington won in the series. "They (Huntington) are playing really well, but that doesn't surprise me. I kind of knew at the end of last year that they had a lot of good athletes coming back. They have very good coaching and those kids are playing with a lot of confidence. I thought they'd be in this league race, for sure."
The same night Edison took down Marina, Huntington was dominating Newport Harbor. Oilers quarterback Michael Chislock threw for 201 yards and threw touchdown passes to Ramon Vargas and Kai Ross. Chislock rushed for another 60 yards in a ground attack that was led by running back Nolan Biegel, who powered his way for 214 yards and a score.
The Huntington defense has given up 36 points during its five-game win streak and no more than seven a game in its last four. Overall, the Oilers have given up only 85 points in seven games. Against Newport, John Vis registered a pair of sacks and recovered a fumble.
"Since our loss to Corona del Mar, our starters have only given up two touchdowns," Lo said. "That's impressive. Our other guys have also played really well on defense, too. Offensively, we're starting to put together sustaining drives."
Edison's defense also has been tough to score on. In addition to surrendering just 10 points in two previous league games, the Chargers have held three other opponents to 13 points or less. They gave up more than 20 points in losses to Servite (27) and Mater Dei (22). In last week's win over Marina, the Chargers defense forced three turnovers — one a 13-yard fumble return for a score by Curren Provost — and also came up with a safety.
St. Margaret's (5-2) vs. Brethren Christian (4-3), 7 p.m. Thursday, Ocean View High): It's the Academy League opener for both teams when the Warriors take on the defending league champion Tartans.
BC concluded nonleague play last Saturday by defeating visiting Xavier Prep of Palm Desert, 28-21. .
St. Margaret's defense hasn't been scored on in three straight games and four overall. The Tartans last week walloped Firebaugh of Lynwood, 50-0. They have outscored their last three opponents, 148-0, and are riding a four-game win streak.
Marina (1-5-1, 0-2) vs. Fountain Valley (3-4, 0-2), 7 p.m., Huntington Beach High: The Vikings and Barons both are seeking their first Sunset League victories when the clash at Cap Sheue Field.
Marina has been outscored, 97-6, in its first two league games. Last week, Landon Marshall's first-quarter field goal accounted for the Vikings' only points in a 43-3 loss to Edison.
Fountain Valley has scored just seven points in two league games. Last week, the Barons were shut out, 28-0, by Los Alamitos.
Loara (2-5, 1-1) vs. Ocean View (3-4, 1-1), 7 p.m., Ocean View High: Ocean View will attempt to stay in the Golden West League race when they take on Loara.
Last week, the Seahawks lost a shootout to visiting Orange, which scored the final 13 points of the game to pull out a 41-40 victory. Quarterback Timmy Robinson amassed 300 yards of total offense. He threw touchdown passes to Willy Jarus and Alex Hernandez, and ran for three other scores.
There's been no lack of scoring for the Ocean View offense, which has scored 30 or more points in each of its last six games, including 40 or more in the last three.
The Saxons started the season 0-3 and last week fell, 28-21, to Westminster. Two weeks ago, Ocean View knocked off Westminster, 41-21.