It is a rare occasion when the Edison boys play a college football game in – or near – the same city.
This weekend is one of those times. Cornelius Edison is an offensive lineman at Portland State, which plays host to Eastern Washington at 1 p.m. today in a Big Sky Conference game.
And Chris Edison, a junior at 20th-ranked Pacific Lutheran, plays in the game of his life – an NCAA Division III playoff matchup at noon at No. 3 Linfield in McMinnville, Ore. – about 40 miles away.
Usually Vincent and Cathleen Edison split up to support their sons – both of whom started at Curtis High School. But today, it is no contest which game they’re going to attend.
“They are definitely coming to my game,” Chris Edison said, laughing. “Cornelius told them to come to my game.”
If things had played out differently for Edison, his parents would have been in the same boat today, except he would be playing defense at Linfield, the school he chose to attend out of high school in 2010.
But the former South Puget Sound League South Division lineman of the year never felt comfortable with the Northwest Conference powerhouse.
“Did not feel like home to me,” said Edison, who left just a few weeks into his first season. “My mom got in contact with Scott (Westering), and now I am at PLU.”
Edison entered a whole new world – one that had very little to do with just playing a football game.
The one person who can best relate to Edison’s transition is Lutes offensive coordinator Trevor Roberts, who spent one injury-riddled season at Central Washington before transferring to PLU in 1998.
“At Central, I did not find what was worthwhile, and I was injured, too,” said Roberts, who ended up being a four-year starter and an All-American for the Lutes.
“So you sort of lose that relationship aspect of (football). For me, finding a place … was finding that love. That is one thing we do really well at PLU. We believe in family and the team aspect.”
Edison, who sat out in 2010, was in and out of the Lutes’ offensive-line rotation a year later because of injury. But this season, despite playing with a right patella fracture, he has started all nine games at left guard. Last week, he was voted to the all-NWC first team.
“It takes a good year-and-a-half at your position to know what you are supposed to do,” Edison said. “I did not figure out the whole picture until this year. Now … I know what the right tackle is doing, or who the slot (receiver) is supposed to block.
“I have figured out everyone else’s position, too.”
And Edison will need that knowledge when he lines up against a few old teammates – and all-conference defensive linemen – in Brynnan Hyland, Marq Randall and Kealii Poomaihealani.
“He is the emotional leader,” Roberts said. “Guys love him, and when you watch him play, he plays with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. He is definitely our go-to guy.”
NO. 20 PACIFIC LUTHERAN (7-2) AT NO. 3 LINFIELD COLLEGE (9-0)
NCAA Division III first-round playofff game
Noon, Maxwell Field, McMinnville, Ore.
The coaches: Scott Westering is in his ninth year at PLU (47-34 record). Joseph Smith is in his seventh season at Linfield (58-13 record).
The series: Linfield leads, 37-21-4, and has won the past 11 games, including a 31-24 victory earlier this season in Puyallup. However, the last time these two teams met in the postseason was the 1992 NAIA playoffs – won by the Lutes, 44-30, in McMinnville.
Statistical leaders: PLU – QB Dalton Ritchey (163 of 273, 2,439 yards, 18 TDs), RB Brandon James (96 rushes, 490 yards, four TDs) and WR Kyle Warner (55 catches, 1,059 yards, eight TDs). Linfield – QB Mickey Inns (187 of 309, 2,526 yards, 25 TDs), RB John Shaffer (85 rushes, 413 yards, seven TDs) and WR Charlie Poppen (40 catches, 648 yards, eight TDs).
What to watch: Can the Lutes stifle Linfield’s rushing attack better than the first time around (133 yards, touchdown)? At times, PLU has struggled with quick and shifty tailbacks like Shaffer. When Lutes nose guard Mychael Tuiasosopo is active in the middle, it allows inside linebackers Jordan Patterson and Dalton Darmody to clean up plays at the line of scrimmage. On the Lutes’ end, it would help if they gain more than 19 yards rushing they had in the first match-up. … What is the biggest X-factor PLU needs to go its way in order to win? Turnovers, plain and simple. The Lutes picked off Inns twice in the last game, and for a stretch, the NWC offensive player of the year appeared confused and flustered by the mistakes. PLU led the conference with a plus-12 in turnover margin while the Wildcats were zero (17 takeaways, 17 giveaways). … Receiving an at-large berth as the NWC runner-up, the Lutes return to the NCAA playoffs for the first time since 2001. How will they handle the moment? This program’s unique team-bonding philosophy, established by former coach Frosty Westering, enables players to play freely without worry. And PLU did go 5-0 on the road this season.
What’s at stake: The victor plays the California Lutheran (8-1)-North Central of Illinois (8-2) winner Nov. 24 in the round of 16.
The pick: Linfield, 38-30.Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@ thenewstribune.com @ManyHatsMilles email@example.com