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SAM GANGWER, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Edison, which is entering its 31st and final season with Dave White as its coach, is beginning practice a few days ahead of most of the other Orange County teams.

Edison's White begins final season with a QB battle

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The OCVarsity Blitz crew was at St. Margaret's on Tuesday. ...

HUNTINGTON BEACH - Defending Sunset League champion Edison hit the practice field this week, kicking off Coach Dave White’s final season at the helm of his alma mater.

White has been coaching at Edison for 38 years, and the 2016 season will be his 31st as its head coach. He led the Chargers to 13 league titles and a CIF-SS championship in 2012.

Before White can begin his last go-round, he has to settle on a starting quarterback. Last season, Griffin O’Conner finished as the starter after Grant Lowary suffered a shoulder injury against Los Alamitos. However, O’Conner, now a junior, is in competition this season with Bowen Blake, a senior who started at safety last season.

“We have two really, really good quarterbacks,” White said. “They’re both really good competitors, really good athletes and have pushed each other and created a fierce competition.”

Against Los Alamitos, O’Conner threw for 217 yards and a score, and he scored a touchdown with a 65-yard run. O’Conner helped the Chargers go unbeaten in the Sunset League.

O’Conner finished the year with 1,119 yards and 10 touchdowns in seven games, but he also was picked off seven times and completed just 42 percent of his passes.

“He’s a great kid with great talent,” White said. “He has worked on every part of his game. He has gotten smarter and stronger. He has improved tremendously.”

Blake spent some time at quarterback last season, completing five of 12 passes for 67 yards, two touchdowns and one interterception. On defense, Blake played in in all 11 games, recording 41 tackles and an interception.

A bit Shorter and thicker than the 6-foot-3 O’Conner, Blake gives the Chargers offense more of a dual threat.

“I’ve played QB all my life,” Blake said. “I know the work he (Griffin) has put in. But I also know that work I have put in throughout my life and this offseason.”

The Chargers will open their season in Hawaii against Baldwin on Aug. 20.

WHITE STEPPING DOWN

White said he made up his mind that 2016 would be his final year as coach last summer, around the time his youngest son, Garrett, committed to Yale.

White knew he wanted to watch Garrett play in college, but he also wanted little bit more time with the group of players that are seniors this season.

“I wanted to go one more year with this senior class,” White said. “I like these kids.”

White’s middle son, Hunter, plays at Boise State, which is close enough for White to fly there on Saturday mornings for games. But with Yale on the East Coast, White knew he would not be able to watch Garrett play in person and continue coaching.

When his Friday nights are freed up, White also wants to watch his oldest son, Matt, coach high school football in Boise.

As for possibly returning to the sidelines in a few years, after his sons are done playing in college, White left the door open for speculation.

“I guess in four years, when Garrett is done at Yale, who knows,” he said. “Maybe I will be going crazy and driving my wife nuts and she’ll tell me I have to go coach or she’ll kick me out.”

RECRUITING INTEREST

Michael Saffell, the Chargers’ 6-3, 290-pound center, has been getting a lot of attention from recruiters for some major college teams.

After he won the offensive line MVP award at the Nike Opening combine in Los Angeles in February, Safell began getting more attention from Pac-12 schools, and he landed an offer from Cal in July.

“It definitely started to spike up after that,” Saffell said of the Nike Opening. “Now I am talking to every Pac-12 team. (I’m) taking my time and looking to see what happens and playing out the process.”

During the offseason, Saffell worked on his flexibility in his stance after he noticed on film that he was not as limber as he wanted to be when trying to get to the second level on run plays.


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