You can talk all you want about Kyle Boller's gaudy passing numbers, his arm strength and ability to dissect opposing defenses.
But in leading Hart High to a 49-26 victory over City Section power Sylmar on Thursday night at College of the Canyons, it was a run by Boller that firmly entrenched the senior quarterback as one of the best in the region.
With Hart (2-1) leading, 14-0, Boller sensed pressure on the first play of the second quarter. He looked for running room, put on a few moves and left a trail of Sylmar defenders in his dust.
To top it off, Boller brought the Hart crowd roaring to its feet by lowering his shoulder and flattening tackler Corey Neal after a 30-yard gain.
His 271 yards and five touchdowns on 13 of 21 passes were almost afterthoughts. His season totals of 1,092 yards and 13 touchdowns are just window dressing.
The bone-chilling, second quarter run stole the show.
"I knew who No. 9 was," Boller said of Neal, Sylmar's top defensive back. "I'm not the kind of quarterback that likes to fall down so I lowered my shoulder a got a little hit in."
Jerry Owens, Hart's top receiver, got himself in the spotlight as well.
After an acrobatic, one-handed interception, Owens took Boller's pass at the Hart 30-yard line and sliced and diced for a 54-yard gain.
He had five catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns, but even Owens was awed by Boller's run.
"I didn't know he could run like that," said Owens, one of Boller's best friends since grade school. "I knew he was a tough kid, but I've never seen him run like that."
Hart, ahead 35-0 by halftime, had a 49-7 lead after Billy Brecht ran 22 yards up the left sideline for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Brecht had 163 yards and a touchdown in 13 carries.
Sylmar (0-2-1) scored three times in the fourth quarter against Hart's second-string defense.
"That's a heck of a football team," Coach Jeff Engliman said.
Hart needed only five plays to go 63 yards on its first drive; six plays to go 71 yards on its second and three plays to go 80 yards on its third--all for touchdowns.
Even Owens was surprised at how easy it was.
"I thought it would be a little tougher," he said. "I think they just don't have enough experience against passing teams."
Engliman, however, knew it might be a rough night.
"Oh, yes I did," he said. "I watched them on film."
* GAME DAY: A look at the top games tonight, including Valencia-Serra, El Camino Real-Westlake, Crescenta Valley-Canyon, Dorsey-Taft, Antelope Valley-Bishop Amat and Crespi-Lancaster. C17