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ORANGE COUNTY SOUTHERN SECTION FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS |
NOTEBOOK

Edison Defense Gets Another Big Test

November 24, 2000|BEN BOLCH

When you think of Edison, images of crushing defensive hits and goal-line stands don't exactly come to mind.

The Chargers gave up 28 points in the fourth quarter of a 49-43 loss to Esperanza two weeks ago and surrendered a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns in last week's 24-19 first-round Southern Section Division I playoff victory over Servite.

But for the season, Edison's defense has been solid. The Chargers (9-2) gave up a Sunset League-best 15.8 points per game in five league contests, and before their second-half meltdown against Esperanza, they hadn't given up a point in the second half of any league game.

Edison's defense must be at its best tonight when it faces second-seeded Los Angeles Loyola, which has a dizzying array of offensive weapons. The Cubs' playmaker is UCLA-bound quarterback Matt Ware, who has put up more impressive numbers rushing than passing. Ware has rushed for 848 yards and 15 touchdowns in addition to his 786 yards and six touchdowns passing.

"He's the guy that scares me. He's unbelievable," Edison Coach Dave White said. "He's one of the best athletes I've ever seen. He drops back to pass, and if no one's open, he just starts running."

Ware's running mate is Rafael Rice, who has rushed for 1,290 yards and 20 touchdowns. And when defenses adjust to stop the run, it's receiver Lance Martin's turn to shine.

White said he was impressed with the way Mater Dei's defense contained Loyola in the Monarchs' 24-21 victory earlier in the season. But the Cubs (10-1) weren't exactly shut down in their only loss. Ware rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns and Rice added 97 yards and a score.

"We're a little worried over here," White said. "We're going to have to play our best game."

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