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Chargers' stellar defense keeps delivering
ANAHEIM – The question all season has been whether Edison's defense was the best in the county. A better one might be whether it was the best in Chargers history.
"It's one of the best," said Chargers coach Dave White, who has been at the helm for 27 years and also played at Edison. "Statistically, maybe it's the best. This team didn't have to play Pac-5 teams in the playoffs. That's hard to say. But they're pretty dang good."
Edison did play Pac-5 teams in nonleague play. It held Mater Dei, a Pac-5 finalist, to 16 points below its season average. Neither San Clemente nor Servite scored a touchdown. For the season, the Chargers recorded a school-record five shutouts and allowed 90 points, fewer than half as many as any team in the Trinity or South Coast leagues. And that is with a 14-game schedule, which only Mater Dei will have played by Saturday evening.
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The Spartans were the lone team to play the Chargers twice, proving yet again that life isn't always fair. They scored at least 21 points against every team it played not named Edison, and won all 12 of those games. They had 17 total in two games against the Chargers.
Villa Park's lone touchdown in Friday's 28-10 loss to Edison in the CIF-SS Southwest Division final at Angel Stadium came after it recovered a fumble deep in Chargers territory.
"It's a respectful loss," Villa Park coach Dusan Ancich lamented.
Pick a player in Edison's defensive rotation and he likely made a key contribution in the title game.
There were interceptions by defensive backs Kiante Goudeau, Jeremy Maxwell and Dylan Luther, and linebacker Donald Rice. There were sacks by defensive linemen Trenton Aschoff and Garrett Garcia, who came away with one of the team's two safeties. Usual suspects Derek Baljeu, Elijah Herrera, Robert Reyes and Alejandro Perez filled just about every other gap for Edison, which had 10 tackles for loss.
"They're playmakers," White said. "They all run around. There's hardly ever one guy on a tackle. We get five, six, seven guys on tackles. We put some pressure on the quarterback. We had four picks tonight. And we dropped three."
The Chargers, as they are wont to do, played eight in the box and dared the Spartans to throw. Villa Park had just one completion by halftime and nine total. Edison stifled the run game just as much. Spartans star fullback Meki Tafuna, who had been averaging about 150 yards a game in the playoffs, was held to 37 yards.
That had White sure about one thing regarding this defense:
"They've been as good against the run as anybody we've ever had."