High School Football: San Clemente ends Edison’s season in dramatic fashion


Edison High Coach Dave White turns 61 next Sunday. He had hoped to celebrate a day early by leading the football program to its first CIF State finals appearance.

The Chargers were so close to getting there.

San Clemente went on the road Saturday and came back in the final minute to edge the Chargers, 39-35, in a dramatic finish in the CIF State Southern California Regional Division 1-A Bowl Game at Cap Sheue Field.

Jack Sears, a USC commit, ended Edison’s farewell tour for White, who is retiring after his 31st season in charge of his alma mater. Sears completed 22 of 32 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns, with two interceptions, and he rushed 16 times for 77 yards.


The dual-threat senior almost let White and the Chargers (13-2) sneak into the CIF State Division 1-A Bowl Game next week.

With the Tritons up, 32-29, and their offense inside the opponent’s 10-yard line in the fourth quarter, Sears threw an ill-advised pass into the end zone that defensive back E.J. Ginnis picked off. The senior returned it 100 yards for a touchdown, allowing the Chargers to take a 35-32 lead with 4:41 left.

Sears bounced back, engineering a 16-play, 71-yard game-winning drive, taking almost four minutes off the clock. He helped move the chains twice on fourth-down situations, and then let all-around threat Brandon Reaves score the game-winning touchdown, on a one-yard run with 48 seconds to go.

Edison had one last shot, getting to San Clemente’s 33. Four seconds remained, but Edison quarterback Griffin O’Connor, who completed 23 of 48 passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns, couldn’t throw his fourth touchdown. The junior’s pass went out of the end zone as time expired.
The Tritons rushed the field and their historic season continues. They get to make their first trip to the state finals. San Clemente (12-3) plays Loomis Del Oro (13-2), the winner of the CIF State Northern California Regional Division 1-A Bowl Game, next Saturday at Sacramento State at 4 p.m.

The shot to play for a state crown came down to the wire for both San Clemente and Edison. For White, this marked the second time his program lost in the SoCal Regional. Unlike the one from four years ago, when the Chargers fell to Gardena Serra, 27-10, Edison had a chance to advance to the big stage.

The Chargers rallied twice from double-digit deficits. Three and a half minutes into the second quarter, they trailed San Clemente, 17-7, and midway through the fourth quarter, the Chargers fell behind, 32-21. Each time Edison battled back to take the lead.

O’Connor led the way the first time, producing two scores in a less than a four-minute span in the second quarter. He fired a 38-yard touchdown pass over the middle to wide receiver David Atencio, and with 4:04 to go before halftime, O’Connor ran for a two-yard touchdown. The Chargers went ahead for the first time, taking a 21-17 lead into the break.

Helping Edison come back in the second quarter was its defense forcing San Clemente to go three-and-out for the first time. Then when the Tritons got near midfield late in the first half, the Chargers held and forced another punt.

San Clemente gave Edison the ball right back to start the second half, not by punting, but by turning over the ball. Edison defensive back Brandon Moradian intercepted Sears’ pass on the Chargers’ 21.
That was as close as any team threatened to score in the third quarter.
The first points in the second half came eight seconds into the fourth quarter, and they belonged to the Tritons.

They took advantage of defensive end Austin Moore stripping O’Connor of the ball late in the third quarter, setting up the Tritons near midfield. Four plays later, San Clemente went back ahead, 25-21, on Sears’ five-yard touchdown pass to tight end Isaac Rex, and Sears’ run on a two-point try.

Sears would make it San Clemente, 32-21, after connecting with receiver Keith Jones on a seven-yard touchdown pass with 6:22 left. Seventeen seconds later, Edison struck back.

On first down, O’Connor’s threw a screen pass to Shaun Colamonico, and the senior took it the distance. Colamonico raced in for an 80-yard touchdown, and he finished with nine receptions for 182 yards and two touchdowns. The Chargers went for two, O’Connor throwing to Atencio to cut the deficit to 32-29.

San Clemente used some trickery to get in Edison territory. Reaves, on a reverse, threw a 32-yard pass to Jones (six catches for 80 yards). It was the running back’s second completion going for at least 30 yards. Then a 23-yard run by Austin Whitsett moved the offense inside the red zone, and a horse-collar tackle to bring down Sears resulted in a penalty, putting the ball half the distance to the goal, at the eight.

The Tritons elected to throw, and Ginnis made them pay with the 100-yard pick-six. The Chargers reclaimed the lead, and all they needed to do was stop San Clemente one last time.

They couldn’t. And a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty hurt Edison’s cause.

Instead of being on the Chargers’ 34 with 80 seconds remaining, the Tritons got inside the 20-yard line. Four plays later, after Sears completed passes for seven and 15 yards to get San Clemente to the one, the Chargers ran it in. Sears handed the ball off to Reaves, who on his fourth carry on the night found the end zone, giving him 28 touchdowns on the year.

Edison could not muster another comeback, as White coached his 360th game as Edison’s leader.

White wanted to coach one more, not wanting his last game to be in Huntington Beach. He wanted it to be in Sacramento next Saturday, the day before his birthday.

White finished his Edison coaching career with a 238-119-3 record.

“It was a tough loss, but a great season,” said White, whose Chargers claimed the Sunset League title and the CIF Southern Section Division 3 title this year. “We were a play or two away from going to the state championship game.”

CIF State Southern California Regional Division 1-A Bowl Game

San Clemente 14 3 0 22 — 39

Edison 7 14 0 14 — 35

SC – Whitsett 36 pass from Sears (Trager kick), 5:48.

E – Colamonico 8 pass from O’Connor (Morrell kick), 2:35.

SC – Whitsett 96 kickoff return (Trager kick), 2:18.

SC – Trager kick 32 FG, 8:33.

E – Atencio 38 pass from O’Connor (Morrell kick), 8:01.

E – O’Connor 2 run (Morrell kick), 4:04.

SC – Rex 5 pass from Sears (Sears run), 11:52.

SC – Jones 7 pass from Sears (Trager kick), 6:22.

E – Colamonico 80 pass from O’Connor (Atencio pass from O’Connor), 6:05.

E – Ginnis 100 INT return (kick failed), 4:41.

SC – Reaves 1 run (Trager kick), :48.

SC – Sears, 16-77.

E – J. Carmichael, 8-62.

SC – Sears, 22-32-2, 262, 3 TDs.

E – O’Connor, 23-48-0, 369, 3 TDs.

SC – Jones, 6-80, 1 TD.

E – Colamonico, 9-182, 2 TDs.