COSTA MESA — You could excuse the Edison High School fans gathered at Orange Coast College Friday night for taking a quick check of their programs in the first quarter to make sure that Crespi star Russell White had indeed graduated.
When Leonice Brown sprinted up the middle for a 65-yard touchdown--leaving Edison defenders farther behind with each stride--it looked as if the Chargers might be in for a long night. The kind of night Crespi's opponents endured for the past four years facing White, who holds the Southern Section career rushing record with 5,998 yards.
But the Edison defense ended Brown's impersonation of White in a hurry, holding the Crespi back to five more yards in his next eight carries. And the Edison offense, which had been giving a clinic in self-destruction during the early going, righted itself and the Chargers came away with a 20-10 victory in the first round of the Southern Section Division I playoffs.
They meet Eisenhower Friday night.
Actually, the star back on this night was Edison's Shane Sherman, a sure-footed 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior who picked his way through the Crespi defense for 153 yards and both Charger touchdowns.
"There were some big holes out there tonight," Sherman said. "I just tried to read the blocks and make the right moves."
The Chargers started out making all the wrong moves. Mostly on the line of scrimmage . . . before the ball was snapped. A pair of illegal procedure penalties ended their first drive. And early in the second quarter, they drove to the Crespi one-yard line, where they were whistled for back-to-back illegal procedure calls and had to settle for a 28-yard Doug Merlino field goal.
Edison finally put together an error-free, 80-yard drive, with quarterback Donnie Smith completing passes of 12, 33 and then a 22-yard shovel pass to Sherman. Sherman popped through for a nine-yard touchdown run with 1:18 left in the half and Edison led, 10-7, at the intermission.
"We thought we should have had more points at halftime," Edison Coach Dave White said. "We were killing ourselves."
Crespi tied the score on a 29-yard field goal by Bill Canalez midway through the third quarter, but Sherman and the defense took over after that. Sherman capped another 80-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run.
And defensive back Mike Cunningham ended Crespi's final scoring threat when he picked off a Danny LaCava pass in the corner of the end zone. Merlino's 27-yard field goal put the game out of Crespi's reach with 2:11 left to play.