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Battered Edison worn down by Rancho Cucamonga
COSTA MESA – Friday’s first-round playoff game between Edison and Rancho Cucamonga was an example of how fleeting momentum can be.
Edison came back from an early 10-0 deficit and took a 17-10 lead in the third quarter on Bowen Blake’s return of a fumble 28 yards for a score.
In a matter of minutes, the game’s flow turned the other way and the Cougars (8-3) beat Edison, 30-17, in a first-round West Valley Division playoff game at Orange Coast College.
Aaron Manning, who had the costly fumble, broke a 41-yard run on the first play of the ensuing drive and Rancho Cucamonga never looked back.
Angel Matute completed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Tyree Baker for the tie, Manning had a 29-yard touchdown run to go ahead with 9:34 remaining and Matute clinched things with a 22-yard pass to Manning four minutes later.
It was hard-fought effort for an Edison (7-4) defense that spent too much time on the field and an offense that was missing four starting skill players with injuries – quarterback Grant Lowary, running back Jacob Marines and wide receivers Garrett White and Jacob Price.
``It caught up with us,’’ Coach Dave White said afterwards. ``But we lost to a great team that was very well coached and has a lot of talent.
``A lot of guys we had out there were freshmen or on the JV a year ago. We played hard, but we didn’t have enough first downs and our defense was on the field too much.’’
Quarterbacks Griffin O’Connor and Blake turned in nice efforts, but O’Connor was intercepted three times and Blake once, three of the picks coming in the second half.
The game seemed headed in Edison’s direction early in the second half. The Chargers defense had limited Rancho Cucamonga to a touchdown and field goal and had come back from a 10-0 deficit to take a 17-10 lead.
Trailing 10-7 at the half, the Chargers drove for a tying field goal by Bobby Jinkins with 5:25 left in the third quarter.
Manning fumbled on the next possession and Blake picked up the loose ball and raced 28 yards down the sideline to make it 17-10 with 4:48 left in the third quarter.
But Rancho Cucamonga regained the momentum, and quickly, on Manning’s run and Matute’s touchdown pass.
Matute, erratic early, had four completions on the next drive and Manning closed the drive with a 29 yard burst to make it 24-17 lead.
The Chargers moved to midfield on the next possession, but O’Connor’s pass over the middle was intercepted by Jaylon Redd at their own 42.
An Edison pass interference penalty aided the Cougars drive. Facing a fourth-and-three at the Chargers 22, the Cougars went deep, Matute finding Manning behind a man in the end zone for a 22-yard score. The PAT hit the upright and the Cougar lead was 30-17.
``I told the kids they should be proud that they won the Sunset League title with all of the injuries,’’ White said. ``It’s just a dmore ifficult thing to do in the playoffs.’’
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