By Mike Sciacca
1:41 PM PST, November 24, 2012
Coach Dave White said it wasn't his team's best effort.
For the Edison football team, Friday's performance was just enough to get the Chargers where they had wanted all along for the season to take them: to Angel Stadium.
Edison secured a spot in next Friday's CIF Southern Section Southwest Division championship game by rallying in the late stages of its semifinal matchup with Foothill to pull out a 22-16 victory over the Knights at Orange Coast College.
The win puts top-seeded Edison in the 7:30 p.m. division final at Angel Stadium against No. 3-seeded Villa Park, which in Friday's other semifinal, stunned defending division champion Tustin, 35-34. The Chargers (12-1) handed Villa Park (12-1) its only defeat of the season, 27-7, on Sept. 6.
"We did what we had to do and moved on," said White, who will take Edison to its fourth title game appearance in the last 11 years. "We didn't play real well and made too many mistakes. We threw two interceptions in the first quarter and fumbled the ball away. We had penalties that cost us but we still got the job done.
"On the flip side, our defense played pretty good all night. We shut down their run game and we had two fumble recoveries and intercepted a pass."
Three consecutive field goals by Foothill's Sean Pihl, the last, a 32-yarder midway through the fourth quarter, took the Knights from a 14-7 deficit, into a 16-14 lead. Edison, which has played three postseason games without leading rusher Marquis Ross (knee injury), went in front for good on a four-yard touchdown and two-point conversion run, both by senior running back Donald Rice, with 1:40 remaining.
On Foothill's final possession, Edison senior linebacker Robert Reyes came up with an interception to seal the win.
"We made some big plays when we had to," White said. "We had a lot of guys really step up tonight. It's a great win."
One such play came from junior cornerback Kiante Goudeau who returned a fumble 20 yards for Edison's first touchdown. The play wiped out a 7-0 Foothill lead and knotted the score five minutes into the second quarter. The teams were tied, 7-7, at the half, and the Chargers took their first lead in the third quarter on a one-yard run by senior quarterback Aleksander Torgersen.
Goudeau scored on a kickoff return in last week's 52-14 quarterfinal win over Valencia of Placentia, and came up with a big interception return in Edison's playoff opener against Esperanza two weeks ago.
"Kiante has really had some big plays for us these past few weeks," White said. "He's playing really well."
Edison has won nine straight games. The Chargers' only loss this year was a 20-14 setback to Mater Dei on Sept. 21. The Monarchs advanced to next week's Pac-5 Division title game by blanking St. Bonaventure, 21-0, Friday.
"We're excited for the opportunity to play at Angel Stadium," White said. "Our guys have worked hard for this."