The Flames dominated time of possession in the first half, and the defense didn’t allow a point until late in the fourth quarter against one of San Joaquin County’s best teams.
Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be enough to start their season with an upset.
Edison High football blanked Lodi 28-0 in the Flames’ season opener Monday at the Grape Bowl. The Vikings (2-0) cashed in with a 90-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown from Johnathan Taylor in the first half and a 70-yard interception return for a score from Dawan Short in the second half.
Kaiden Merryman paced the Flames’ rushing attack with 20 carries for 51 yards, but neither he nor his teammates could turn their long, grinding drives into points.
“We were able to control the ball, we moved the ball well—we just got overwhelmed at the end,” Lodi coach George Duenas said. “…That’s one of the best teams in the area. We played pretty damn good. Being our first game, and only having 48 hours, we didn’t even prepare for these guys.
“I’m really proud.”
Duenas is referring to what’s been a nightmarish start to the season for the Flames. Lodi had to postpone its first game against Grant due to COVID-19-related issues, and Friday’s game against McNair was cancelled due to poor air quality from nearby wildfires.
Lodi and Edison, which did not originally have one another on their schedules, managed to set a Monday date at the Grape Bowl.
The Flames’ rushing attack wore down the Vikings early, helped in part by a rash of encroachment penalties to keep drives alive. On the other side of the ball, Lodi held Edison to 33 yards of offense in the first half and Seth Greenmeyer recovered a fumble for the Flames.
Lodi, which is scheduled to host Chavez on Friday, drove to the Edison 4-yard line after a 10-yard first down run from Brayden Stout late in the first quarter. But Taylor scooped up a fumble on the next play and raced to the end zone.
The Flames would never get back inside the Vikings’ 5-yard line.
“Different story if we punch that in to go up 7-0,” Duenas said.
Edison added two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter on a 12-yard pass from Omari Baker to Taylor and am 16-yard run from Lajamian Sampson.
“Our (starting) defense didn’t really give up a point,” Duenas said. “We gave up 14 points offensively, you might as well say 21 (as the Sampson TD was set up by a fumble). Our defense played outstanding.”