Huntington Beach Edison 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 on Saturday and came back in the final minute to edge the Chargers, 39-35, in the Southern California Regional Division 1-A bowl game at Huntington Beach High.
Jack Sears, a USC commit, ended Edison’s farewell tour for White, who his 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 to 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. Seven seconds remained, and Edison quarterback Griffin O’Connor, who finished with 369 yards and three touchdowns through the air, couldn’t throw his fourth touchdown. The junior’s pass went out of the end zone as time expired.
The Tritons’ historic season continues. They get to travel to Sacramento and make their first trip to the state finals. San Clemente (12-3) plays Loomis Del Oro (13-2), the winner of the CIF Northern California Regional Division 1-A bowl game, next Saturday at Sacramento State at 4 p.m.