EDISON -- The Edisondefense was focused on not allowing the game-breaking plays that they have beensusceptible to giving up this season.
The Eagles did that and much more when Lance Rice, theEdison MVP, led a defense that recorded five sacks and held the J.P. Stevensoffense to minus-14 total yards, zero first downs and 14 plays for negativeyardage.
That defensive effort was plenty as Edisonposted its first shutout of the season in a 35-0 victory over J.P. Stevens onThursday.
The win is the first time that Edisonholds a four-game winning streak over Stevens in a series which began in 1966.Stevens currently holds a 27-19-5 advantage in the series, winning eight of thelast 10.
“Our defense played outstanding,” Edisoncoach Matt Fulman said. “I don’t know where that was all year and I wish wecould have played like that in some other games this year. But our kids werephysical, we got off blocks and ran to the ball and we tackled. We didn’t giveup any big plays and in games we struggled this season, we gave up some bigplays and had poor tackling. Those things hurt us, but we put it all togethertoday and played an outstanding game.”
Edison first struck midway throughthe first quarter when Reilly Gonzalezwent to the right side of the offensive line and found an opening. Noah Stansbury’s20-yard reception on the first play of scrimmage for Edisonput the Eagles in the red zone.
The Stevens defense held strong after that initial score,keeping the Eagles scoreless for the next 14 minutes while recording threefirst-half sacks. The momentum shifted when Stevens fumbled the ball deep inits own territory and Nick Yanikreturned it 28 yards for the defensive touchdown with 4:21 remaining in thehalf.
Edison would strike once more beforethe end of the first half when Justin Turnerthrew his first touchdown to Stansbury, who caught the ball at the lineof scrimmage, picked up a few blocks and raced 76 yards to the end zone.
The Eagles picked up two touchdowns in the first quarter as SincereWilliams found an opening for a 39-yard touchdown run and Turner connectedwith a wide-open Tahjea Thomas for a 45-yard touchdown pass to push thegame into the mercy rule.
Rice also had a carry in the fourth quarter to set up afield-goal attempt that went for minus-2 yards, his first “probably since PopWarner.”
“During the week he told me he was going to give me the ball,”Rice said. “I was nervous. I didn’t want it, but if he wanted it then I gotit.”
“Edison has never won fouryears in a row,” Fulman said. “This is the first time ever and it’s anoutstanding testament to the hard work of our senior class. The 24 seniors thatwe have really did a great job.
Added Rice, “It’s good to know that you have bragging rightsthroughout the town and you know that, for four years, you dominated them.That’s a great feeling. We wanted to finish the season on a good note and sendthe seniors out the right way.”
Running back Jahvon Scott was named the MVP for J.P.Stevens.