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Edison hits some bumps, keeps rolling
COSTA MESA - The scoreboard showed no surprises after the final seconds ticked off, and Dave White wore a smile Friday night after Edison easily won its first-round CIF-SS Southwest Division playoff game.
It didn't mean that the venerable Chargers' coach was all that happy with his team's 27-3 victory over Esperanza at Orange Coast College.
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"We were getting kind of greedy," White said. "We didn't feel like we played our 'A' game on either side of the ball tonight. Definitely, offensively we didn't. But our defensive coaches aren't happy with them, either."
On the surface, the top-seeded Chargers (10-1) got another strong effort from their defense, while quarterback Alek Torgersen threw for 196 yards and accounted for two touchdowns.
But what got under White's skin was a flurry of yellow flags thrown against his team. There were 14 in all for 139 yards, and all but one dicey pass interference call was warranted.
"We were sloppy," White said. "Way too many penalties. Every time we had a good play on offense, we had a penalty. So we've got to shore that up."
"The goal in the playoffs is to fight and live another day. We're playing next Friday night."
But Edison's defense made an impact early as Kiante Goudeau intercepted a pass from Esperanza quarterback Austin Steele and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown to halt the Aztecs on the opening possession.
Torgersen had his short passing game going early, completing four consecutive passes on the Chargers' opening drive before he called his own number on a 36-yard scoring run for a 14-0 lead.
The Chargers kept control throughout. Torgersen, who was 17 for 28 on the night, floated a gorgeous 14-yard pass to Marcus Stepancich over an Esperanza defender in the third quarter for a 24-3 advantage.
Esperanza (6-5) squeaked into the playoffs as an at-large team, and Aztecs coach Greg Kemp had to feel as if he was coaching with both hands tied behind his back.
Starting quarterback Troy Deluca was injured during a loss to Yorba Linda last week, and then Steele was shaken up and left the field in the second quarter Friday after an 11-yard keeper.
Steele, who moved over from wide receiver, didn't return to the game after suffering what Kemp said was a concussion.
"He took a shot to the back of the head," Kemp said. "He's kind of Mr. Everything for us. It's tough when you lose a kid like that."
Predictably, the Aztecs' offense grounded to a halt as No. 3 quarterback Jacob Rodriguez struggled throwing the ball while the Chargers continued to put their focus on stopping running back Troy Poole. Poole had just 50 yards on 16 carries.