All season long, the Edison football team had what many felt was some untapped talent ready to bubble to the surface.
Everything bubbled for the Red Raiders on Thursday night.
Taking on a Carol City team that is a significantly better than its 3-4 record would indicate thanks to the toughest seven-game stretch of games in the state, the Red Raiders pulled off a stunner, knocking off the Chiefs 7-6 at Traz Powell Stadium.
“What a night for these kids, what a night for Edison football,” said jubilant coach Luther Campbell. “After we lost to Gables a few weeks ago (Gables surprised Edison 21-20), we had a long talk with the kids. We had too many ‘me’ kids and not enough ‘us’ kids and I think they decided at that moment that there was going to be no more ‘me’s’ and play as a team. That’s the only way we pulled this off tonight.”
Clinging to the one-point lead the entire second half, Edison coaches can thank their defense for a remarkable performance. The Chiefs crossed into Red Raiders territory three times in the fourth quarter and three times the defense forced and recovered fumbles.
Wilshire Jones recovered the first at the Edison 38 with 9:05 left. Zachery Baldwin recovered one at the Edison 32 with 4:32 left. And, finally, on fourth-and-1 from the Edison 45, the Chiefs muffed the snap and Lamont Harris fell on it with 2:07 left. Thanks to a big first down run by Tyreese McKnight, Edison (4-3) was able to run out the remainder of the clock.
“This is huge for us and really puts us on the map now,” said Harris, who was in on a dozen tackles. “We felt all season like we had a really good team and that it was just a matter of us coming together. We shocked the world tonight and plan on keeping it going.”
Not just for momentum but the win was also huge for Edison’s playoff chances as well. The new RPI rankings released this week had the Red Raiders right on the bubble, seeded No. 6 in Region 4-3A with only six teams getting in.
The Chiefs meanwhile dropped to 3-5 and are seeded No. 5 in Region 4-4A. With a trip to Homestead next week to play South Dade, another loss could possibly jeopardize their postseason chances.
Other than one Carol City drive, the Chiefs’ second possession, the entire first half was a defensive battle of punts and jockeying for field position by both sides. Carol City took a 6-0 lead on that second possession thanks mainly to a 48-yard run by Tywan Cash on the first play of that drive to the Edison 17.
Four plays later, quarterback Keyone Jenkins faked a handoff and scooted around the left side for a 4-yard keeper.
It looked like the Chiefs would take that lead to the locker room at halftime. That was until Baldwin, who plays cornerback, telegraphed a short Jenkins look-in pass to Earl Pope III and jumped the pattern. Baldwin picked it off and ran 40 yards untouched to the end zone with 2:19 left in the half.
“All week long we were looking at that play and I felt I could at some point jump the pattern,” said Baldwin. “When I got to the ball, I knew I was taking it to the house.”
Nobody knew it at the time but placekicker Kesnel Baptiste coolly kicked the extra point through the uprights which turned out to be the winning point.