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Edison powers its way into title game
COSTA MESA - With less than two minutes remaining in Friday's game and 41 yards away from a chance to play in the CIF-SS Southwest Division title game at Angel Stadium, Edison went with what it knows best.
The Chargers called four consecutive running plays. The first two carries went to Elijah Herrera (14 and 23 yards), followed by Donald Rice's 4-yard touchdown and 2-point conversion, giving the top-seeded Chargers a 22-16 victory in the semifinals over fourth-seeded Foothill at Orange Coast College.
"That's our season," Edison coach Dave White said. "Run behind the big boys (offensive line) and get the ball to Rice and Herrera."
Foothill's final possession started on its 10, and quarterback Jack Gilchrist was sacked on the first play by Trenton Aschoff. Robert Reyes sealed the outcome with an interception on third down.
Edison (12-1) advances to play Villa Park in the Southwest finale next Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Angel Stadium. The teams met earlier this season with Edison winning, 27-7.
Villa Park defeated second-seeded Tustin, 35-34 in the other semifinal Friday.
"That's a tough game for anybody to lose," White said. "They kind of dominated us for a lot of the game."
Foothill (10-3) scored nine points in the second half, all on field goals by Sean Pihl (40, 43 and 32).
His 32-yarder came with 6:32 left in the game and gave the Knights a 16-14 lead.
"We were lucky to hold them to three field goals, otherwise we wouldn't have been in this thing," White said.
"Our defense made some great stops."
Edison's next possession fizzled at the Foothill 43, but Alek Torgersen's punt was downed at the 14.
Foothill lost yards on its next series, and after the punt the Chargers took over on the Foothill 41, setting the stage for the go-ahead drive.
"We decided to pound it," Herrera said of the final drive. "We went back to our basics and did what we were supposed to do."
This was the first time since the loss to Mater Dei (Sept. 21) that the Chargers trailed in the fourth quarter.
This game had a similar start. Edison committed a turnover on the first series of the game, which Foothill turned into a touchdown, a 16-yard scoring pass from Gilchrist to Jarrell Moss with 7:23 left in the opening quarter..
"I actually said to (wide receiver Dylan) Luther that we're not going to let this happen like it did against Mater Dei," Herrera said.
"We were making a lot of mistakes that we don't normally make. It was concerning, but we knew we could pull through."
The Chargers are now headed to their fourth CIF final in the last 11 years. The most recent came in 2009, when Servite defeated Edison, 16-6, in the Pac-5 title game, also at Angel Stadium.
"Maybe the fourth time is the charm," White said.
This is Edison's first year in the Southwest Division. The Sunset League was dropped out of the Pac-5 Division before the season.
"We want to win the Southwest Division and hopefully get a bid for the Southern California Regionals," Herrera said.