Edison High quarterback Braeden Boyles continues to show he can take what the secondary gives him.
But in addition to throwing for 337 yards and four touchdowns to help the host Chargers beat Romoland Heritage 42-27 in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 football playoffs on Friday, Boyles revealed he could also cash in a rare chance to become a tackler.
Boyles came from behind to pull down Heritage star Kenny Teter and halt an 88-yard interception return at the end of the first half to preserve Edison’s 28-20 halftime lead. It was one of several big plays by the 5-foot-9, 140-pound junior to help the Chargers prevail at Cap Sheue Field.
Edison (8-3), the runner-up from the Sunset League, advances to play at No. 3-seeded La Habra (9-2) in the quarterfinals on Nov. 15. The Freeway League champion Highlanders trounced Capistrano Valley 42-3 in a first-round home game Friday.
Boyles, who has now thrown for 1,743 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, found the first of many open coverage windows on the game’s first play. When Heritage (7-4) aligned only two defenders against a trips-left set by the Chargers after the opening kickoff, Boyles exploited the miscue by flipping a strike to a wide-open Cole Koffler for a 67-yard bomb that opened the scoring with just 24 seconds elapsed.
Boyles followed with scoring tosses of seven, 63 and 32 yards to help the Chargers hold off a physical Heritage squad that pounded out 353 of its 421 offensive yards on the ground.
Boyles, who completed his first nine passes on his way to connecting on 15 of 20 attempts for the game, also scrambled for a 13-yard touchdown to put the Chargers on top for good, 21-20, with 5:54 left before halftime.
“Braeden is doing a really good job of taking what people are giving him, not trying to do too much and just improving each week,” Edison coach Jeff Grady said. “And our receivers are doing a really good job of finding windows. And, everything starts with the pass protection up front.”
While Heritage, led by Teter’s 251 yards on 23 rushing attempts, was hammering away with success against as many as 10 Edison defenders in the box, Boyles was complementing a productive Edison running game by throwing darts.
In addition to his touchdown tosses, Boyles found seam-seeking receivers for gains of 34, 24 (twice), 23 and 19 yards.
Jack Kosick, who spun out of a tackle on his way to a 63-yard touchdown reception to up the lead to 28-20, led the Chargers with 141 yards on five receptions.
PJ Campbell had touchdown catches of seven and 32 yards on his way to 57 yards on four receptions, while Koffler (91 yards on three grabs) and Nico Brown (38 yards on three receptions, despite one would-be touchdown catch being nullified by a penalty) also consistently settled into open spaces downfield.
“[Receivers] have been finding gaps all season,” Boyles said. “I just had to hit them. It’s speed, knowing their assignment and finding the open gaps. We have really well-coached receivers who put it all together.”
Edison also put together nine rushing first downs, one fewer than its aerial attack, as four ballcarriers combined for 153 ground yards, led by senior Mike Walters with 46. Walters’ seventh and final carry produced a game-clinching four-yard touchdown with 6:54 left.
Walters’ capping score finished off an 11-play, 48-yard run when Heritage’s onside kickoff attempt failed to go the necessary 10 yards after the Patriots closed to within 35-27 on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Basham to Teter.
Basham also found Dominic Cyr for a 40-yard touchdown pass, while Teter darted for scoring runs of 61 and 37 yards to cap the visitors’ first two possessions.
Heritage held leads of 13-7 and 20-14, the latter midway through the second quarter, before Edison scored on back-to-back possessions to take the lead.
Edison slowed Heritage’s smashmouth assault by stuffing a fourth-and-one Teter run for no gain late in the first half.
The Chargers then moved quickly to the Patriots’ 26-yard line and took a shot at the end zone on the final play of the half. But Teter intercepted, then weaved through the Chargers for 88 yards until Boyles tracked him down from behind to avert a pick-six.
“That was huge, huge,” Grady said of Boyles’ clutch tackle. “It was a big-time hustle play that saved seven points.”
CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs
Edison 42, Heritage 27
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Heritage 7 – 13 – 0 – 7 — 27
Edison 7 – 21 – 7 – 7 — 42
E – Koffler 67 pass from Boyles (Morrell kick), 11:36.
H – Teter 61 run (Ramirez kick), 8:44.
H – Teter 37 run (kick failed), 11:03.
E – Campbell 8 pass from Boyles (Morrell kick), 8:54.
H – Cyr 40 pass from T. Basham (Ramirez kick), 7:05.
E – Boyles 13 run (Morrell kick), 5:54.
E – Kosick 63 pass from Boyles (Morrell kick), 3:46.
E – Campbell 32 pass from Boyles (Morrell kick), 6:00.
H – Teter 13 pass from T. Basham (Ramirez kick), 10:41.
E – Walters 4 run (Morrell kick), 6:54.
H – Teter, 23-251, 2 TDs.
E – Walters, 7-46, 1 TD.
H – T. Basham, 4-7-0, 68, 1 TD.
E – Boyles, 15-20-1, 337, 4 TDs.
H – Cyr, 1-40, 1 TD.
E – Kosick, 5-141, 1 TD.
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