Week 1 of Orange County Southern Section high school football kicked off with a bang. The preseason SS number one ranked Edison Chargers (Huntington Beach) survived on the road against Tesoro (Las Flores) in dramatic fashion, 48-47. Trailing 28-14 at halftime, the Chargers came swarming back and outscored Tesoro 34 to 33 in the final two quarters.
With just over three minutes remaining, Tesoro received a punt and began on their own 30. Senior QB Chase Petersen (21/42, 330 yards, 6 total touchdowns) completed an 11 yard dart to junior wideout Joe Morenc (112 yards, 1 touchdown) to get the offense rolling. Down by one score, Tesoro needed a spark, which came in the form of a pass interference call against Edison.
The Chargers defense found themselves at their own 18 yard line, needing a stop to seal the victory. Tesoro running back Vinnie Vladic, however, had other plans. The senior broke through Edison’s defense and fell just short of the end zone, tackled at the two.
Seconds later, Petersen kept it himself and scored to make it 48-47, with 1:45 left. Head coach Matt Poston made a bold choice, deciding to forego an extra point attempt and go for the two-point-conversion. Peterson delivered the ball to wide receiver Seth Gilmore (70 yards, 1 touchdown), who dove for the goal line and landed inches short.
Edison reclaimed possession at their own 12, and unsuccessfully tried to run the clock out. A quick Chargers three and out gave Tesoro one final chance to reclaim the lead. Starting at Edison’s 38 yard line with just over 1:20 remaining, Petersen completed an 18-yard dart to senior wideout Ryan Harrington.
Back-to-back carries by junior running back Cameron Lambi left 20 seconds on the clock, and a third consecutive run by Petersen forced Tesoro to stop the clock. With 4.2 seconds remaining, Tesoro kicker Joey Rizkallah attempted a 37-yard game sealing field goal. He missed.
For Edison, a combination of steady defense and explosive second half offense willed them to victory. Breaking out of halftime, the Chargers cut the deficit to just one score, thanks to a 41-yard Griffin O’Connor (256 yards, 5 total touchdowns) bomb to senior captain wideout David Atencio.
The next series, on defense, Edison forced a fumble on the first play of Tesoro’s drive and recovered. Momentum was clearly shifting. Deep in Tesoro territory, the Chargers regressed due to a false start penalty, yet still came away with three points from a 42-yard field goal.
Down 28-24, Edison needed another defensive stop. The chargers forced a quick three and out, got the ball back, and put three more points up thanks to a 20-yard field goal. Pressure from the Edison defensive line forced several inaccurate Petersen throws, and they reclaimed the ball yet again.
Trailing by just one score, Edison completely shifted momentum with one play. Atencio broke to the middle, created space, and scored on a 49-yard catch and run from O’Connor to give Edison their first lead of the night, 34-28.
The teams traded possessions, but as the third quarter began to draw to a close, Tesoro put together an impressive drive. Starting on their own 10, with just under 50 seconds remaining, Petersen lofted a pass across the middle. The throw was tipped, and ended up in the hands of Tesoro receiver John Cody, who broke away for an 86-yard gain.
Two plays later, Seth Gilmore caught a 4-yard touchdown pass to put Tesoro back on top, 35-34 at the end of the third quarter.
Tesoro gained an advantage early, taking a 7-0 lead from a 76-yard Petersen run on the first play of the game. At one point, during the second quarter, Tesoro grabbed a 28-7 lead. They looked unstoppable, until O’Connor and Edison offense started to get rolling later on, guiding Edison to victory.
After his team’s epic comeback performance, Edison head coach Jeff Grady said, “This was clearly a tale of two halfs, but I think we responded well to adversity tonight.”
Edison wideout David Atencio, who finished with two touchdowns and 118 yards receiving added, “We have a lot to work on as a group, but we’ll be back on the practice field getting better everyday.”
T - Petersen run (7-0)
T - Morenc reception (14-0)
E - O'Connor run (14-7)
T - Schaefers run (21-7)
T - Gilmore reception (28-7)
E - Barrett reception (28-14)
E - Atencio reception (28-21)
E - Morrell field goal (28-24)
E - Morrell field goal (28-27)
E - Atencio reception (28-34)
T - Gilmore reception (35-34)
E - Carmichael run (35-41)
E - Eden pick six (35-48)
T - Cody reception (41-48)
T - Petersen run (47-48)