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Crespi Defeats Edison

November 22, 1986|DAVE DESMOND

All eyes were glued to Russell White, Crespi High's sophomore tailback, Friday night in the Celts' Big Five Conference playoff game against Edison.

And where were White's eyes?

Well, usually when you're lying on your back, your eyes have a tendency to be looking at the stars.

White was in that position late in the first half at Birmingham High when 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.

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

Crespi, ranked No. 2 in The Times Valley poll and the No. 4 seed in the playoffs, improved to 10-1 and will meet Colton next week in the quarterfinals.

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

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

White hinted that, if he had it his way, he might 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 more week left 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."

The 6-2, 195-pound White picked up 195 yards on nine 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 abandon 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 rushed for 1,030 yards during the regular season, was held to only 53 on 15 carries, and Gus Miranda, who had rushed for more than 300 yards in the last four games, lost four yards on his only carry.

Edison quarterback Mike Henderson was ineffective, too. Despite completing 15 of 37 passes for 192 yards and Edison's only touchdown, 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."

Crespi Coach Bill Redell credited his defense for Henderson's sub-par fourth period.

"We started getting a good pass rush on him," he said. "I was rather pleased with our defense tonight."

One pass that was effective was the one Henderson tossed to receiver Zack Szakacs for an 18-yard touchdown with 1:28 left. They hooked up again on a two-point conversion to close the margin to 21-8.

Crespi, which was averaging 383 yards a game, racked up 335 against Edison. Edison had 267 total yards.

Edison squandered its best scoring opportunity in the first half.

The Chargers had a first and 10 at the Crespi 12 early in the second quarter. They moved the ball to the three before quarterback Mike Henderson fumbled it at the two. Crespi's Steve Puryear recovered.

Despite the fumble, it was the most impressive drive either team put together in the first half. It was started, and then prolonged, by two Celt miscues.

Edison got the ball when defensive back Gunnar Wolfe recovered a Jeff Kellogg fumble at the Charger 39.

Six plays later, the drive stalled at the Edison 48. The ensuing punt, however, took a peculiar bounce, right off the leg of a Crespi player and Edison recovered at the Celt 27.

Edison, which had given up only seven points in its last three games, rebounded after White's scoring run and limited the Celts to only 56 yards on 14 carries.

White, who has already broken the school scoring and rushing record, gained 108 yards on eight carries in the half.

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