High School Football: Chargers blank Barons for Bell Game win

Dave White knows just how special is the Battle for the Bell football game between rivals Edison and Fountain Valley.

White has played in the game, worked it as an assistant coach and for the last 28 years, has been head coach at Edison.

The veteran coach also knows how special it is to win this game, and doing so, by shutout.

Actually, Friday turned out to be the third time since 2005 that Edison has earned a shutout victory against Fountain Valley. The Chargers' defense put on a spectacular performance at sold-out LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College and as a result, Edison went on to claim a 24-0 win.

It was the ninth-straight Bell Game triumph for Edison, and 18th in the contest for White, who is now 18-10 as head coach against the Barons. The nine consecutive wins continues the longest such streak in the series which Edison now leads, 29-14-1.

Fountain Valley's last win in the series came in 2004 (21-20).

"Nine years in a row is hard to do," White said after the game. "The kids worked really hard this week to get ready for this game. They were pumped and they had a real good week of practice.

"To get a shutout in this game, is pretty special."

Friday's Bell Game was the first for Ray Fenton, who is in his first season as Fountain Valley head coach. The outcome didn't turn out the way he had hoped, although he said his team can take away some positive things from the game.

Fountain Valley turned the ball over three times, twice in the second half.

"I'm proud of our guys," Fenton said. "They played hard and they never quit. For that, I'm proud of them.

"Turnovers really hurt us tonight. [The Chargers] have a great defense and are very physical, but we didn't help ourselves. We had our chances tonight and when you go up against the defending CIF champions, you need to play your best and take advantage of the opportunities in front of you. We didn't do that."

The win kept Edison in line for the Sunset League championship. The Chargers, ranked fourth in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division, ran their league record to 3-1. They are 6-3 overall.

Fountain Valley fell from a share of the league lead with the loss. The Barons, ranked ninth, are 2-2 in league and also 6-3 overall.

Through Friday, Edison, Los Alamitos, and Newport Harbor share first place. Third-ranked Los Al (8-1, 3-1) rallied in the second half for a 21-14 homecoming victory over Huntington Beach (4-5, 1-3). Seventh-ranked Newport Harbor (5-4, 3-1) defeated Marina (1-8, 0-4), 49-17.

White said with a victory Friday, his team would have a shot as repeating as league champion.

"Now, we're in line for it," he said. "We win next week, and we're champs. But, we have one game to play and we have to be ready."

Edison did suffer a big loss Friday. In the first quarter, senior quarterback Christian Heffelman, who started the game and directed the Chargers' first two series, was injured midway through the quarter on a sack. Heffelman was seen after halftime on the Edison sideline with his right (throwing) arm in a sling, and White confirmed after the game that the injury was a broken collar bone.

Before the injury, Heffelman turned in the first big play of the game when, on Edison's opening possession, he connected with senior receiver Diego Velez on a 51-yard touchdown pass.

Heffelman got great protection up front on the first-down play from the Edison 49-yard line, and sent a text-book pass downfield toward Velez, who slipped behind the Fountain Valley secondary, made the catch at the five, and went in for the score. Hunter Kelley's conversion kick gave the Chargers the lead for good at 7-0 with 8:35 to go in the quarter.

Edison has rotated quarterbacks throughout the season, and junior Matt Gane stepped in on Edison's third series and directed the offense until the final minutes of the game. But neither the Chargers or Barons could mount much offense after the touchdown pass, as both defenses were stout the remainder of the opening quarter and late into the half.

It was during the final 3:11 of the half, that the game got away from Fountain Valley.

Facing third-and-seven from his own 36, Fountain Valley senior quarterback Scott Schultz, under a heavy rush, threw an interception. The ball went right into the arms of Edison senior defensive back Josh Gruwell, who made the pick at the Fountain Valley 36 with 4:46 left in the half. The Chargers couldn't get anywhere, but Kelley came on to hit a 50-yard field goal attempt to push the Edison lead to 10-0.

Kelley said the kick, which came with 3:11 remaining in the half, was the longest field goal of his career.

The Barons were forced to punt from their own end zone on their ensuing series, and Edison got the ball back at midfield. On first down, senior running back Marcus Swanigan, making his first playing appearance in five weeks, bolted around right end with a pitch and ran 46 yards to the Fountain Valley four where he was tripped up on a touchdown-saving tackle by Barons' junior free safety Sal Ochoa.

Two plays later, though, Swanigan did reach the end zone, again taking a pitch around the right side to score on a four-yard run.

It put Edison on top, 17-0, with 51 seconds until intermission.

The Chargers led by that score at the half.

Swanigan had been out of action since suffering a shoulder injury during Edison's Sept. 27 nonleague game against Mater Dei. He had a monstrous game in his return. At defensive end, he had several tackles for loss including a pair of quarterback sacks. One of those sacks came on Fountain Valley's series before his touchdown run. He dropped Schultz for a seven-yard loss on a second-down play to put the ball at he Barons' seven. Two plays later, the Barons were punting from their end zone.

Swanigan led all rushers with 110 yards.

"Marcus has been out five weeks and he was ready to play," White said. "He gives us some juice, some spark. He's pretty special."

Late in the third quarter, Swanigan came up with a great run to set up the Chargers in scoring position. His number was called upon on a third-and-11 play from the Edison 31. Swanigan found a seam up the middle then cut and weaved his way for a 40-yard gain down to the Fountain Valley 17. The Chargers got to the one, where Gane scored on a keeper two plays into the fourth quarter.

The shutout was the second of the season, and first since a 14-0 win over Los Angeles Garfield on Sept. 5, for the Edison defense, which has held five opponents to a touchdown or less.

"Our defense has been pretty good all year," White said.

Edison can earn at least a share of the Sunset League title next week with a win against Marina. The Chargers and Vikings play at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 at Westminster High.

Fountain Valley still has a shot at a share of the league title, but needs several things to happen next week, in order to do so. The Barons are a game back of three teams, but also are in the running for a CIF Southern Section playoff berth. Next week, they take on Los Alamitos at 7 p.m. Thursday at Veterans Stadium in Long Beach.

"We still have a lot to play for," Fenton said. "We still control our own destiny."

The Great American Rivalry Series, presented by the United States Marine Corps and Hibbett Sports, selected the Edison-Fountain Valley game as part of its 100 best rivalry games across the country. The series, in its 10th year, featured the Bell Game in Week 11 of the 2013 series and was present at OCC.

After the game, Edison was presented the Great American Rivalry Series Champions trophy, and Swanigan was named MVP of the game.

Prior to the game, Hunter Kelley of Edison and Fountain Valley senior right tackle Kyle Smith were honored as top student-athletes for their respective teams.

This year's Great American Rivalry series is covering 68 cities in 38 states throughout the prep football season.

Edison (6-3, 3-1)

27....Compton Centennial...18

14...Los Angeles Garfield...0


7…Mater Dei…21

35…San Clemente…7

48…*Huntington Beach…6

28…*Newport Harbor…16

10...*Los Alamitos...16

24...*Fountain Valley...0

Nov. 8: at *Marina (Westminster High), 7 p.m.)

(*denotes Sunset League game)

Fountain Valley (6-3, 2-2)

49…at Foothill…28

24...Dana Hills…21

17…Trabuco Hills…24

49…Wilmington Banning…17



19…*Huntington Beach…14

25...*Newport Harbor...42


Thursday : at *Los Alamitos (Veterans Stadium), 7 p.m.

(*denotes league game)

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