Sideline Report

Edison's Stephon Robertson (10), along with Akeen Perry and Kevin Carter, have the team's running game in top condition.
Edison's Stephon Robertson (10), along with Akeen Perry and Kevin Carter, have the team's running game in top condition. (By Joel Richardson -- The Washington Post)
Thursday, December 7, 2006

AAA Division 5

Phoebus (12-1) vs. No. 10 Edison (11-2)

When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

Where: Todd Stadium, Newport News

How they got here: Edison forced six turnovers and held Deep Run's high-powered offense to just 105 rushing yards in a 20-3 road victory Saturday in the state semifinals. The Eagles' defense has keyed three playoff victories by allowing an average of only nine points per game. Phoebus snuck past Potomac, 31-28, in double overtime in Saturday's other semifinal after blowing a 14-point lead with seven minutes to play. The Phantoms were the top seed in the Eastern Region and won both games in the regional tournament by a combined score of 49-8.

Playoff history: Edison is back in the state championship game for the first time since 1986, when it won its only title. Phoebus won back-to-back state championships in 2001 and 2002.

Scouting Edison: The Eagles' diverse offense has been tough for opponents to stop. Deep Run double-teamed wideout Ben Barber, so quarterback Shawn Lloyd found Michael Rhoden three times for 70 yards and a touchdown. Edison's running game was also in top form, as Stephon Robertson, Akeen Perry and Kevin Carter combined for 152 yards on 27 carries.

Scouting Phoebus: The Phantoms rely on a power running game led by Dennis Mathis, a 5-9, 190-pound slasher, and Haroon Brown, a 6-0, 245-pound battering ram. The two combined for 159 yards and three touchdowns on 44 carries in their semifinal win over Potomac. Edison's defensive line, coming off a quality performance against Deep Run, will be tested again.

The skinny: Edison had to fill 18 of 22 starting positions with new starters this season, so it's no surprise the team is playing its best football at season's end. The Eagles have become more comfortable with each other and their schemes over the course of the season, and that has resulted in three impressive playoff victories.

"We put in a brand-new offense, and we're running a completely different defense because we've had to adjust to our personnel," Edison Coach Vaughn Lewis said. "It took us awhile to get the right people in the right spot. It took us awhile to get the kids to understand what we're trying to achieve."

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