Up in the High Desert, they call him “Friday Night Freddie.”
And Friday night at Antelope Valley High, Freddie Edwards lived up to the billing.
Edwards scored five touchdowns and rushed for 293 yards in 21 carries to trigger Antelope Valley’s very wild and very wacky 54-38 Golden League victory over Saugus. The tailback-safety accounted for 422 all-purpose yards, including a 99-yard kickoff return, and intercepted a pass in the end zone.
“It was just a typical game,” the modest Edwards said after the final gun. “I felt good, but it’s just another game.”
--Edwards broke a 14-year-old school record for rushing yards in a game. The old mark of 274 was set by Lee D’Errico.
--Saugus sophomore fullback Chris Johnson scored touchdowns on runs of three, four, four and 37 yards. He gained 91 yards in 18 carries.
--Saugus quarterback Bobby Cowan completed 21 of 37 passes for 303 yards as the Centurions (5-3, 2-1) gamely tried to match Edwards’ touchdown production.
It was a game for first place, and Saugus Coach Jack Bowman said he had no trouble figuring out which team deserves the top spot.
“It wasn’t just (Edwards),” said Bowman after watching the Centurions’ five-game winning streak come to an end. “Their offensive line dominated us. That’s the first time all year that an offensive line has handled us.”
Antelope Valley (5-3, 3-0) won its fourth in a row and sits alone in first.
But there was no getting around Edwards’ performance. The shy senior deflected praise in all postgame interviews, but the effort stood on its own.
“During the game, I was thinking, if I get to the line, nobody is going to stop me,” said Edwards, surrounded by family and admirers at midfield.
He won more admirers during the game.
“I’ve seen backs as good,” Bowman said. “Kerwin Bell (of Edison High), Napolean Kaufman (of Lompoc High). . . but he’s right there with them.”
Edwards’ touchdown runs came on bursts of 84, 40, 33 and 10 yards. His shadow dwarfed a Saugus offense that rolled up 455 yards and didn’t stop scoring, even when the Centurions trailed by 30 points midway through the fourth period.
Edwards carried the ball only twice after that because Coach Brent Newcomb tried to call off the onslaught.
Defense also took a back seat in a sensational first half. Antelope Valley led, 33-17, and the first two quarters bore Edwards’ mark.
By intermission, Edwards had gained 212 yards in 10 carries and had added several ringing hits from his safety position.
Saugus, though overwhelmed by Edwards, showed a pluckiness by answering nearly every Antelope Valley score with a long drive. Saugus put together touchdown drives of 80 and 65 yards and added a 37-yard field goal by Rob Chilton.
But two Saugus fumbles deep in Antelope Valley territory led to an Antelope touchdown and field goal.
Afterward, Edwards, who had been slowed by a hip pointer the past four weeks, was asked about his health. He smiled.
Said Edwards: “I think the hip is back to normal.”