The lead in the Sunset League football race was up for grabs Thursday night between Edison and Huntington Beach, and fittingly the outcome of the showdown was up for grabs heading into the game's final moments.
In the end, it was Edison that emerged victorious.
The Chargers took a giant step toward reclaiming the Sunset crown by holding off a determined Huntington squad, 20-14, before a full house at Cap Sheue Field on the Huntington Beach High campus. The Chargers never trailed in the game but had to withstand a couple of fourth-quarter drives by Huntington to defeat the Oilers for the 14th straight time.
Huntington hasn't won in this series since the 1993 team led by Tony Gonzalez edged Edison, 10-7.
The scoreboard was out of commission at Cap Sheue Field and the teams had to rely on the game announcer and officiating crew for time remaining in each quarter. It cost Edison a scoring opportunity late in the first half.
"It's a big win for us," Edison Coach Dave White said after his team improved to 6-2 and won its third straight. All three wins in the streak have come against Sunset competition and puts the Chargers alone in first place at 3-0 with two games to play.
Huntington saw its five-game win streak snapped and fell to 6-2 and 2-1 in league.
"They're a good team and we knew this would be a tough one," White continued. "We tried to give it away again, though. We almost gave it away to Los Al (a 10-7 Edison win) and we did give it away a few weeks back to Mater Dei. Tonight, we stopped them late and held on.
"Like I said, this is a big win and it puts us in the driver's seat."
Neither team scored in the second half after Edison, ranked 10th in the CIF Pac-5 Division, had taken a 20-14 halftime lead. Both the Chargers and Oilers had scoring opportunities in the final 24 minutes but squandered away those chances. Huntington turned the ball over on downs midway through the fourth quarter, and turned over the ball twice in the final five minutes.
"We had our chances, that's for sure," Huntington Coach Eric Lo said. "I thought we played hard and they played hard, and I thought that there was some questionable calls. But we're not going to hang our heads. We still have two more league games left, starting next week with Los Al."
Huntington reached the Edison 24-yard line midway through the fourth, where it needed less than a yard to keep its drive alive. On fourth down, running back Nolan Biegel was stopped by Edison linebacker James Babinski for no gain. Huntington's defense then forced a three-and-out but the Oilers fumbled away Aleksander Torgersen's punt and the Chargers' Dominic Granado fell on the loose ball at the Edison 43.
The Oilers got the ball back one final time with 2:20 left but on first down, quarterback Michael Chislock's high pass toward Austin Simpkins was intercepted by Edison defensive back Connor Mase. Huntington was also called for a personal foul after the play, and the Chargers took over at the Huntington 28.
Three running plays by Nick Masaniai put the ball at the 15 and the Chargers then ran out the clock.
Edison took the opening kickoff and went 61 yards for the game's opening score. Favreau did most of the damage on several draw plays that netted big yardage, but it was a five-yard run by junior running back Elijah Herrera that resulted in a touchdown. Herrera also took in a 16-yard pass from Favreau to set the Chargers up at the Huntington eight. The drive was kept alive by a pass interference call against Huntington on an incomplete pass.
The Oilers also reached the end zone on their first possession. They went 80 yards to tie the score, the final 15 of those coming on a keeper around left end by Chislock. Edison came right back to reclaim the lead for good. The Chargers converted a fourth-and-one play when Favreau got out of the grip of Huntington nose guard John Vis and fell forward for a four-yard gain to the Huntington five-yard line. On third down, Favreau's pass to the left corner of the end zone intended for Troy Baljeau fell incomplete, but Huntington again was whistled for pass interference. With a fresh set of downs, Herrera scored on the next play from three yards out to make it 14-7.
Edison extended its lead to 20-7 on its next possession and needed just two plays to cover 57 yards. On second down, Favreau found Mase over the middle at the Huntington 30. Mase then did the rest as he angled his way to the right side of the field and scored on a 48-yard pass play. Torgersen's point-after attempt was wide right.
Huntington, however, wasted little time in getting back into the game. A four-play drive ended when Chislock hit a wide-open Simpkins for a 35-yard touchdown pass with three minutes left in the half.
Edison moved down field quickly on its final drive of the half and reached the Huntington 21 after Favreau found Sedric Hill on a 19-yard pass. The clock, though, ran out on the Chargers.
"We had two times outs left and I intended to use them, but we weren't sure how much time was left on the clock," White said. "I'm glad it didn't cost us at the end."
Favreau threw for 165 yards and led Edison in rushing with 87 yards.
Chislock threw for 121 yards and ran for 26 more.
Next week, Huntington travels to Veterans Stadium in Long Beach to face Los Alamitos and Edison plays archrival Fountain Valley in the Bell Game at Orange Coast College. Both games are at 7 p.m. Nov. 4.
Twitter: @MikeSciaccaCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun