HUNTINGTON BEACH — Dave White felt his Edison football team showed improvement over the past week.
Coming off a nine-point win at Compton Centennial to start the season, the Chargers opened their home schedule Thursday against Los Angeles Garfield. They scored on their first possession of both halves and made those scores stand, and rode their first defensive shutout of the season to an 18-0 victory at Cap Sheue Field.
The two wins gives Edison, the top-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division, some momentum heading into a bye week. And that's a good thing, as consecutive nonleague games against Servite, Mater Dei and San Clemente, await the Chargers.
"We had some good things happen on offense but we need to be a little more consistent," White said. "We'd have a good play, then we'd stall. We'd drive downfield, then fumble. But, I thought we got better from last week."
In a 27-18 win over Centennial last Friday, Edison turned the ball over three times and had 120 yards in penalties. Thursday, the Chargers only turned the ball over once and were penalized just twice for 10 yards.
Junior quarterback Matt Gane keyed Edison's opening possession of the game. He carried the ball on four of the first six plays of the drive which included an 18-yard first-down run on the first play from scrimmage. He ended an eight-play, 74-yard drive by throwing a nice, 26-yard touchdown pass in the end zone to wide open senior receiver Jeremy Maxwell.
Hunter Kelley's conversion made it 7-0 with 3:11 left in the first quarter.
On their next possession, the Chargers moved from their own 47 out to the Garfield 27 but were pushed back when Gane was dropped for a 14-yard loss on first down. Kelley came on to attempt a 51-yard field goal with 10:29 left in the second quarter, but his kick was short and wide right.
Edison had 121 yards of offense and Garfield 81 in the half. The Bulldogs (0-2) mounted a scoring threat late in the half and faced third-and-eight from the Edison 21. They moved backward from there as quarterback Ausencio Navarro's screen pass to TyJon Delancy blew up in the backfield. Delancy was dropped for a nine-yard loss by a host of Chargers led by lineman Markus Boyer. On fourth down from the 30, Boyer was in on a sack of Navarro that resulted in a four-yard loss with one second left on the first-half clock.
Edison's other touchdown drive of the game mirrored its first. Running back Marcus Swanigan ripped off a 15-yard run around right end on first down to start the second half and it put the ball at the Edison 46. Two more runs by the senior totaling seven yards, plus a personal foul flag against Garfield, put the ball at the Bulldogs' 32.
Another run by Swanigan netted two yards and on the next play, Gane threw to the end zone where senior receiver Kiante Goudeau came back to make the catch for a touchdown. Kelley's kick made it 14-0.
On Garfield's first possession of the second half, the Edison defense stopped the Bulldogs on a fourth-down gamble at the Garfield 39. The Chargers reached the 34 where the drive stalled, and Kelley's second field-goal attempt from 51 yards followed the same flight pattern as his first: short, and wide right.
Early in the fourth quarter, Edison looked as though it might go in for another score after a first-down pass from Gane to senior receiver Marcus Epps went for 33 yards down to the Garfield 30. On second down from the 29, Gane lost the ball while on the run and the Bulldogs recovered at their own 39 with 10:27 remaining.
"That's a good defense," White said of the Bulldogs after the game. "That's the best Garfield team we've faced in the three years that we've played them, and they're young. They're talented."
A 28-yard pass play from Navarro to Frankli Robles set up Garfield at the Edison 29. It was the first passing first down of the game for the Bulldogs whose threat ended there as a first down run gained nothing and Navarro then threw three consecutive incompletions.
The Bulldogs had one final chance to get on the scoreboard. They moved from their own 17 in the final six minutes down to the Edison three. On second-and-goal from there, they were hit with a procedure penalty. From the eight, Delancy was swarmed for a seven-yard loss. On third down, Edison senior lineman Michael Olive dropped Navarro for a four-yard loss.
On fourth-and-goal from the 15, the Chargers again bottled up Navarro at the line of scrimmage to take over on downs with 29 seconds left.
Gane finished four of eight for 104 yards with two touchdowns. He also was Edison's leading rusher with 54 yards on 14 keepers. Swanigan, who rushed for 142 yards in last week's win at Centennial, ran for 44 yards on 12 carries.
Delancy, a senior, was the game's leading rusher with 72 yards on 15 carries. Navarro threw for 118 yards.
In the first two weeks of the season, Garfield has gone up against two highly-ranked opponents. Last week, the Bulldogs opened the season at Ventura St. Bonaventure and lost, 42-14, to the fifth-ranked team in the Pac-5 Division.