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ORANGE COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

Edison Sputters, Doesn't Stall

Football: Second-ranked Chargers misfire on offense but have enough in their tank to beat pesky El Toro, 21-18.

September 09, 2000|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The winners walked off embarrassed, the losers walked off with their heads held high.

On a night when Edison's offense was supposed to be driving the Indycar and El Toro the Model-T, the two teams met somewhere in the middle Friday. And the Model-T showed surprising speed.

Edison, ranked No. 2 in Orange County, scored a 21-18 victory over El Toro at Trabuco Hills High.

But there was no gloating afterward.

At least, not by Edison.

"We have one of the best backfields in the county," Edison Coach Dave White said, "and we can't score any points."

Edison, returning six starters from the top-scoring offense in Southern Section Division I last year, was outscored by El Toro's offense, which had only one returning starter from last year's 6-5 team. Only a fluke punt return for a touchdown allowed Edison to finish with more points.

The decisive play, though no one knew it at the time, came less than three minutes into the third quarter. The ball was snapped on the ground, and El Toro punter Garrett Collins tried to kick it without picking it up. Instead, he kicked it into the line, and Bryan Meers returned it 34 yards for a touchdown. It gave Edison a 21-3 lead.

The rest of the half belonged to El Toro, which scored on a 10-yard pass to Randell Hill from junior Tom Kirchmeyer, who was making his first varsity start, and a three-yard pass completion to Andy Neja with 48 seconds left. Collins also kicked a 42-yard field goal.

When all was said and done, El Toro gained 264 yards on offense, and Edison had 239.

"I figured we would make some youthful mistakes," El Toro Coach Mike Milner said. "Obviously, I didn't think it would be this close.

"I'm extremely pleased with the way our team played."

Kirchmeyer completed 16 of 32 passes for 161 yards, and Nick Walsh ran 16 times for 83.

On the other side, there was a different attitude.

Darryl Poston, the county's top returning rusher, did not start because of a sore back, but he played the final three quarters. He rushed 13 times for 56 yards, but 24 came on his first carry.

Edison quarterback Richard Schwartz, who has committed to California, completed his first two passes for 73 yards, the second a 31-yarder to Christian Prelle, for a 6-0 lead. Schwartz finished nine of 15 for 147 yards and two touchdowns, including a 14-yarder to Marcus McCutcheon.

"I'm very embarrassed," said Schwartz, a sentiment echoed by Poston and White. "We didn't come ready to play. They were fired up, they had nothing to lose. Any team we play can beat us. That game showed it right there."

Schwartz gave El Toro some credit: "They were better than we thought." But he also said, "We were lackadaisical," an excuse that didn't sit well with his coach.

White wasn't pleased with his offensive line, either. Edison rushed 30 times for only 92 yards.

"We never made a play on either side of the ball," White said. "We'd have a sack, and then not tackle. We'd have third and 12 and give up a 13-yard gain."

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