Chargers in control, but have work to do

HUNTINGTON BEACH — From the look on his face, you couldn't tell that Dave White's Edison football team had just turned in a successful night.

"We just have to get a lot better, there's no doubt about it," he said.

Edison never found its groove offensively but did ride the three-touchdown performance of running back Marquis Ross and a stingy defense, to a 27-7 victory Thursday over Villa Park at Huntington Beach High's Sheue Field.

The matchup was an early-season showdown between teams ranked in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Conference poll. Edison entered the game ranked No. 2, Villa Park No. 4. The teams were meeting for the first time in football.

It was a tight game early on until the Chargers turned a defensive touchdown into a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Still, White, who is two games into his 27th season as head coach at his alma mater, was only half-pleased with the performance. The Chargers offense also sputtered last week in a season opening, 24-0 win at Garfield.

"Our defense played great but our offense was terrible," White said. "Our defense played their butts off again and our first team [defense] got its second shutout of the season. But our offense, once again, was inconsistent. There is so much to fix, that I don't know where to start."

Aleksander Torgersen, in his first year starting at quarterback and who has a rifle for an arm, misfired on his first four passes of the game. The senior went on to finish seven of 19 for 85 yards. Five of his passes went to senior wide receiver Marcus Stepancich who led all receivers with 73 yards. Ross, meanwhile, rushed 13 times for 92 yards. He had two touchdowns in the first half, and his third score gave the Chargers (2-0) a 27-0 lead at the outset of the second half.

"We just didn't get any type of drive going, really," White said. "We have a lot of new guys out there, and we're not disciplined. We had guys wide open, but we didn't block long enough to allow a throw, or, we overthrew our receivers."

It was a throwing miscue by Villa Park quarterback Dylan Osborne that led to the game's first score.

The Spartans (2-1) had advanced to the Edison 35-yard line late in the first quarter after gaining 22 yards on a pass play off a fake punt on fourth down. On the very next play, Edison senior linebacker Robert Reyes made a great read of a short pass by Osborne, stepped in to pick it off, and then raced down the left sideline for a 65-yard touchdown. Hunter Kelley's conversion put the Chargers up, 7-0, with two minutes left in the quarter.

The Edison defense was formidable all night. The Chargers contained Villa Park's big running back, Meki Tafuna, and continually harassed Osborne. The Spartans' only score came on a late drive in the fourth quarter, a 16-yard run on fourth-down by Mike Holmes with five minutes left.

The 22-yard gain on the fourth down fake punt, was the biggest of the game for the Spartans.

Ross scored the first of this three touchdowns early in the second quarter. On third-and-10 from the 30, he gained eight yards before being bottled up at the 22, broke free and made a quick cut to the outside, then sped away from defensive back Kyle Gordon to the end zone.

Edison had a short field to work with on its next scoring drive. An 18-yard punt, and a personal foul against the Spartans on the play, put the Chargers at the Villa Park 20. Two plays later, Ross strolled straight up the middle for a 13-yard scoring run. It gave the Chargers a 20-0 lead at the half.

Edison put together its longest drive of the game after intermission. The Chargers took the second half kickoff and moved 80 yards in just six plays in just over two minutes, to increase their lead to 27-0. Ross zig-zagged his way on an eight-yard run to the end zone with 9:51 left in the third quarter.

Villa Park started a tough, four-game stretch for Edison. In the next three weeks, the Chargers go up against three teams — Servite, Mater Dei, San Clemente, ranked in the Pac-5 Division top 10 poll.

White knows there's plenty of work to be done before his team travels to Cerritos College for a 7:30 p.m. game Sept. 14 against Servite.

"We had better find some magic," he said.

Twitter: @MikeSciacca

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