Edison made a statement Friday at Sheue Field: in order to win the 2013 Sunset League football championship, a team will need to go through the Chargers.
Edison took a first step toward repeating as league champ by cruising past host Huntington Beach, 48-6, in a Sunset opener for both teams.
The Chargers, ranked No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division poll, winners of two straight and now 4-2 overall, stunned Huntington early and never let up. They bolted to leads of 13-0 after one quarter, 27-0 at the half, and 34-0 early in the fourth quarter.
The win spoiled homecoming for Huntington, which was looking for its first win against Edison since 1993.
It was the most points scored by Edison, and the fewest scored by Huntington, this year.
Even the 27-0 halftime lead surprised Edison Coach Dave White.
"It did, absolutely," White said of the four-touchdown cushion.
Edison took command from the opening kickoff. The Chargers' offense was rolling despite not having leading rusher Marcus Swanigan (shoulder injury). Their defense was smothering, and limited Huntington to 29 yards of offense in the opening half.
The Chargers defense has now held three opponents to a touchdown or less in six games.
Edison's offense rolled up nearly 300 yards in the first half. The Chargers took the opening kickoff and methodically marched in for their first score. Senior Christian Heffelman started at quarterback for the Chargers and his short passes, combined with runs by senior back Tyler Warren, got the drive going. Junior Matt Gane, who started at quarterback earlier in the year and rotates with Heffelman at the position, was back in action for the first time since suffering a groin injury against Servite three weeks ago.
Gane's first run of the night was a 20-yard gain to the Huntington 26-yard line. Warren would go on to score on a one-yard plunge to cap a 13-play series that took off the first 6:26 of the game clock.
Huntington's first possession of the game went nowhere, as quarterback Kai Ross was swarmed under for minus-19 yards on three plays by the Edison defense. The Chargers got the ball back at their own 44 and consecutive runs by Gane which netted 18 yards, took the ball down to the Huntington 37. Two plays later, Heffelman laid out a perfectly thrown pass which junior receiver Jake Favreau caught on the run and turned into a 34-yard scoring play.
It was 13-0 with a minute left in the first quarter, and became 20-0 less than five minutes into the second quarter on a two-yard touchdown run on a keeper by Gane. The five-play drive, which started at the Edison 19, was keyed by a 49-yard pass play from Heffelman to Marcus Epps. The senior receiver made the catch at the Huntington 27 and was dragged down at the 13. Gane scored two plays later with 7:39 left in the half.
Thirty-five seconds later, Epps made another big play when he stepped in front of a Ross slant pass to make an interception at the Huntington 29. He had a clear path to the end zone and his return for a touchdown took the lead to 27-0.
The Chargers had another opportunity to get on the scoreboard before the half, but a 35-yard field goal attempt by senior Hunter Kelley sailed low and wide left with 1:21 to go.
Heffelman and Gane shifted in and out at quarterback throughout the half, and game.
"I thought our offense played real well in the first half," White said. "It was nice to mix things up with Matt [Gane] and Christian [Heffelman]. We worked on that at practice this week."
Huntington (3-3) had five first-half possessions. Two were three-and-out series, one ended on Epps' interception return for a score, and another was a seven-play series.
The Oilers, ranked eighth in the Southwest Division, never crossed midfield in the opening half.
"We had too many missed assignments early in the game and they exploited our mistakes," Huntington Coach Eric Lo said. "They are a really good football team and we did not play well, at all.
"Our goal at the half was to fix our mistakes. We wanted to go out there and win the second half, but we didn't do that, either."
Huntington twice reached Edison territory in the third quarter, but couldn't score. The Oilers first got there when senior strong safety Trevin O'Cain recovered a fumbled punt at the Edison 43. A personal-foul call during their offensive series hampered the Oilers. who would give the ball back to Edison on downs, after a fourth-down pass from the 32 fell incomplete.
On their next series, the Oilers moved from their own 23 to the Edison 36 but again on fourth down, a high snap was fumbled by Ross and Chargers' junior linebacker Manase Time recovered at the 42.
The Chargers scored four plays later, with Gane taking off around right end for a 49-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 34-0.
The Oilers answered with their best drive of the night.
Starting from their own 36, they went in for their only score, a nice grab in the corner of the end zone by senior receiver Tucker deCamp who caught Ross' five-yard pass before tip-toeing out of bounds. The score came on a fourth-down play, one of three fourth-down plays the Oilers converted during the drive.
A pass interference call against the Chargers on a fourth-down pass earlier in the drive kept it alive.
Edison responded quickly. Two plays after the Ross-deCamp TD pass, Warren took a handoff at his own 47, started up the middle but found no opening, quickly shifted gears and cut to the right side. He found nothing but green turf in front of him, and raced untouched on a 53-yard scoring run.
With the score at 41-6 with 6:45 remaining, the game went to a running clock. Before time ticked away, Edison sophomore running back Jacob Marines scored on a 30-yard run with 54 seconds left.
"We did some nice things tonight," White said. "We're real happy with the win but, it's only one game. This league is tough. Newport [Harbor] got a big win [Thursday] night, and we go to their place next week. There's a lot of football left to be played."
Through the opening week of the Sunset League race, Edison, Fountain Valley, and Newport Harbor, each won their opener. Fifth-ranked Fountain Valley swarmed Marina, 40-14, Friday, and Newport Harbor on Thursday handed previously-undefeated and third-ranked Los Alamitos a 27-24 defeat in overtime.
Next Friday, Edison travels to Newport Harbor, Fountain Valley plays host to Huntington Beach, and Marina is home to Los Alamitos.
Edison schedule (4-2, 1-0)
14...Los Angeles Garfield...0
35...San Clemente 7
Friday: at *Newport Harbor, 7 p.m.
Oct. 24: *Los Alamitos (Huntington Beach High), 7 p.m.
Nov. 1: vs. *Fountain Valley (OCC), 7 p.m.
Nov. 8: at *Marina (Westminster High), 7 p.m.)
(*denotes Sunset League game)
Huntington Beach schedule (3-3, 0-1)
Friday: vs. *Fountain Valley, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25: vs. *Marina, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1: at *Los Alamitos (Veterans Stadium), 7 p.m.
Nov. 8: vs. *Newport Harbor, 7 p.m.
(*denotes Sunset League game)