Opening week of the Sunset League football race is a big one. It provides teams the chance to start anew and get a leg up on the competition.
For Huntington Beach, no game is bigger than the one scheduled that week for the Oilers, no matter the opponent, Coach Eric Lo said. The fact that their next foe is Edison, only adds to its importance.
The Oilers' league debut on Friday comes against an Edison program that has won or shared seven of the last eight, and eight of 10, Sunset championships.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Huntington's Sheue Field.
"It's the most important game for us this year, because it's the game we are playing this week," Lo said. "They are the defending league champs and are a very good and well-coached team but for us, this is about getting ourselves ready to play in a tough, tough league. We're more concerned about ourselves. We've talked about Edison but we have five, big games ahead of us.
"For us, it's one game at a time. That's our singular focus."
The Edison-Huntington game is one of three Sunset openers on tap this week. Also Friday, Fountain Valley (4-1) takes on Marina (1-4) at Westminster High. The league race actually gets underway Thursday when undefeated Los Alamitos (5-0) goes on the road to take on Newport Harbor (3-2).
Huntington has had two weeks to prepare for its league opener. The Oilers have been idle since they beat Downey, 37-29, on Sept. 27.
The Oilers (3-2) are itching to get back in game action.
"The guys are really excited," Lo said. "We know Edison's a good team. They are really good up front with their offensive line and they get after it. They are strong on defense and have two really good corners.
"We're looking forward to the challenge of playing them."
Edison prepped for the start of league by disposing of San Clemente, 35-7, last week. Senior running back Tyler Warren rushed for a game-high 101 yards and scored three times. Junior running back Manase Time started the scoring with a five-yard touchdown run, and senior quarterback Christian Heffelman teamed with senior receiver Jeremy Maxwell on a 66-yard scoring pass.
Warren, who also played defensive back, also blocked a punt.
The 35 points were a season-high for the Chargers (3-2) who were coming off back-to-back losses to Servite and Mater Dei.
The Edison defense has held three opponents (Garfield, Mater Dei, San Clemente) to a single touchdown.
"I thought we played really well against San Clemente," Edison Coach Dave White said. "We had some guys out with injuries but the kids stepped up and came through.
"I thought Tyler [Warren] played a great game. Defensively, we have played well two weeks in a row now. The key for us was that we didn't turn the ball over, which we did against Servite and Mater Dei."
The Chargers now face a Huntington team that has scored 30 or more points in four of five games.
"They can score," White said. "Kai Ross is scary. He's really athletic and makes plays both at quarterback and on defense [as a cornerback]. He runs the ball well and has a good arm. He's their leader."
Both teams have key players out with injury. Heffelman has started at quarterback the past two weeks for Edison. He has been in a rotation with Matt Gane, who suffered a groin injury against Servite three weeks ago, throughout the season. White said Gane will return to the lineup this week.