Edison’s football was just a few games away from solidifying itself as one of the best programs coming out of Stockton according to head coach Booker Guyton.
Last year, the Vikings ended their season in the second round of the Division I Sac-Joaquin Division playoffs with a 29-23 loss to St. Mary’s. In 2019, they suffered a similar fate in the second round against Folsom, a heartbreaking 45-42 defeat to knock them out of the hunt for the Sectional Championship once again.
Winning a Section Championship is the reward Guyton and his team have achieved their goal for this coming season.
“Our program will have arrived once we have done that,” he said. “We always start strong with our first playoff game, and then we get to the second round, and we fumble, so I want to get past that.”
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The Vikings will have four returns on offense and eight on defense, with most of their squad coming from junior college. Guyton says depth may be an issue for this year’s team, the leaders he has returning will play a big role in trying to overcome their second-round slump.
Defensively, junior defensive end Javonni Haymon should be a key returner for Edison. Last season, he led the defense with 8.7 tackles per game. This year, he will become one of the captains and a leader for the less experienced young players in defense.
Offensively, one of the four comebacks will be senior Lorenzen Horace, who was the backup quarterback last year. Despite throwing just one touchdown during his junior season, Horace became one of two quarterbacks vying for the player of choice on August 19.
“He was here last year, so he’s looking for the quarterback job and he’s got a kid pushing him,” Guyton said. “Burrel Staples, he’s our new guy, he’s in ninth grade and pushing our senior. It’s healthy competition and we love it and it brings out the best in Horace.
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In addition to earning his starting spot, Horace hopes his final season as a Viking will be a year of redemption after being in a stalemate the past two years in the playoffs.
“Although I wasn’t playing the game, I didn’t like it and took it to heart,” Horace said of last year’s loss to St. Mary’s. “Taking the reins for my final year, I’m trying to make plays for us and try to win any Stockton battles we have so we can take the team to the next level.”
Part of the keys outside of having skilled players is for Guyton and his team to say “Lock In”. This motto is Edison’s football guide to becoming a more cohesive team, from freshman to varsity team.
“We want you to shut down, be focused, be mindful of what we’re doing,” Guyton said. “We want you to lock yourself in academically, athletically, spiritually, even at home with your family. The more we know about each other, the easier it is for us to play on the pitch.
The Vikings will test the strength of those locks by starting the season in a home game against Central at 7 p.m. on August 19.
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Record journalist Shannon Belt covers the sport. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ShannonBelt3. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at recordnet.com/subscribenow.