It's going on five months now that Huntington Beach Edison football players keep refusing to let their coach, Dave White, call it quits and slip away into the sunset to sip one of those Hawaiian drinks with a colorful umbrella sticking out on a sandy beach far away.
Every week in the Southern Section Division 3 football playoffs, Edison has found a way to postpone the White retirement party. On Friday night, the Chargers pulled off their biggest win yet, relying on the running of junior tailback Jack Carmichael to defeat host La Mirada, 44-24, to win the Division 3 championship.
White has vowed to step down at the conclusion of this season after 31 years as head coach and 38 years in the program. This season started with official practice on Aug. 1. There was a trip to Hawaii, two bye weeks and 14 games, and Edison (13-1) isn’t closed to being finished. The Chargers advance to play in a
In truth, whatever happens next week or beyond, nothing will take away the joy from winning a section title in White's final season. This is a team he cares deeply about, and his players feel the same about him.
"It was for us to make him win this championship," Carmichael said. "It's not our championship. It's his."
Said White: "I'm emotional. This team has been special the whole year. We got better and better. It's a special group."
Carmichael rushed for 181 yards and scored two touchdowns. Many of the holes were opened by all-star center Michael Saffell, headed to Cal. In the first half, when Edison opened a 28-10 halftime lead, Carmichael rushed for 163 yards in seven carries.
A 91-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter by McCade Barrett gave Edison a 35-10 lead. But La Mirada made a valiant comeback bid. Touchdown catches of 13 and 19 yards by Jeremy Clark cut the Matadores' deficit to 34-24. Nick Hernandez rushed for 131 yards.
Quarterback Griffin O'Connor was steady throughout for Edison. He passed for 232 yards, completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to E.J. Ginnis and had touchdown runs of 11 and six yards.
La Mirada Coach Mike Moschetti offered a gesture of unity and a reminder that life is more than just about who wins or loses. His players wore an emblem on their helmets honoring Whittier Christian football player Ethan Hawks, who died last month after a freak accident in which a piece of metal struck him while he was riding in a car on the freeway.
White has been such a fixture for so long at Edison that he'll be hard to replace.