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Big Five Conference : White Helps Crespi Return a Favor and Knock Edison Out of Playoffs

November 22, 1986|DAVE DESMOND

All eyes were glued on Russell White, Crespi High School's sophomore tailback, Friday night in the first round of the Southern Section Big Five Conference playoffs against Edison.

And where were White's eyes?

Well, when you're on your back, your eyes have a tendency to look up at the stars.

White was in that position late in the first half at Birmingham High after his ankle gave out on him.

"I thought I was done," he said.

Edison should have been that lucky.

He stayed out until only 3:50 remained in the game.

On his only play of the second half, the hobbled White scored on an 87-yard run as Crespi wrapped up a 21-8 victory.

Crespi, ranked No. 2 in The Times' San Fernando Valley poll and seeded fourth in the playoffs, improved to 10-1 and will meet Colton, which beat Long Beach Poly.

The last time Crespi qualified for the playoffs was in 1982, when it was eliminated in the first round by (guess who) Edison.

Edison, the defending Big Five co-champion, finished at 8-3.

White hinted that, if he had it his way, he may have stayed on his back for a little while longer than he actually did. Like until summer.

"But I kept hearing things like, 'C'mon, Russell, please get up. This is my senior season. Do it for me,' " White said.

He did, and those seniors have at least one week remaining in their high school careers.

The game started much the way it ended.

Crespi took the opening kickoff and, on its first play from scrimmage, White ran 80 yards for a touchdown.

"He's a great runner," Edison Coach Dave White said. "Sometimes that kind of runner will make you look bad. He did."

On the night, the 6-2, 195-pound White picked up 195 yards in 9 carries, giving him 1,801 yards and 24 touchdowns for the season. Both his rushing and scoring totals are school records.

When Crespi quarterback Rob O'Byrne scored on a one-yard sneak with 3:13 left in the third quarter to give the Celts a 14-0 lead, Edison was forced to go away from its strong running game.

Perhaps that wasn't such a bad idea, anyway. The Chargers' weren't exactly devastating on the ground Friday night. Kaleaph Carter, who had gained 1,030 yards during the season, was held to only 53 in 15 carries, and Gus Miranda, who had rushed for more than 300 yards in the last four games, lost four yards in his only carry.

Edison quarterback Mike Henderson completed 15 of 37 passes for 192 yards and Edison's only touchdown, but he was intercepted three times in the fourth quarter.

"We haven't really thrown well this year," Dave White said. "It seems like one time, the receiver drops it, the next, the quarterback misses him, then we miss a block on the next."

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