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Battle at the Beach passing tournament to make return at Edison

Edison's Nico Brown makes a catch over Los Alamitos' Lane Broderick for a touchdown during a Sunset League game on March 26.
Edison’s Nico Brown makes a catch over Los Alamitos’ Lane Broderick for a touchdown during a Sunset League game on March 26. After a one-year reprieve due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Battle at the Beach will return to the athletic fields at Edison High School for the Fourth of July weekend.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

After a one-year reprieve due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Battle at the Beach will return to the athletic fields at Edison High School for the Fourth of July weekend.

A talented field will once again compete in the 23rd annual seven-on-seven passing tournament. The event will take place on Saturday, July 3, with the first games beginning at 9 a.m.

There will be 20 football teams in the competition, all of them vying for a spot in the afternoon’s festivities. The teams are divided into four five-team pools, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the gold bracket playoffs. The teams that finish in third and fourth place in their respective pools will move on to the silver bracket playoffs.

“It feels like it’s bringing a sense of normalcy back to everything, so we’re just happy to have it back here,” Edison athletic director Rich Boyce said. “Obviously, it’s not just … a big fundraiser, but it brings exposure to the school. More than anything else, we’re just happy to have kids back on campus playing.”

The field includes Trinity League teams Mater Dei, Bellflower St. John Bosco, Servite, Santa Margarita and Orange Lutheran. Mater Dei won the Trinity League title in the pandemic-shortened season that was played out in the spring.

Additional Orange County programs include Sunset League champion Los Alamitos, Freeway League champion La Habra and Mission Viejo.

West Hills Chaminade and Santa Fe Springs St. Paul were CIF Southern Section finalists in Division 2 and Division 5, respectively, in 2019, the last time that the section held football playoffs.

Edison coach Jeff Grady noted that the delayed season this past school year has resulted in a condensed offseason, but the benefits of competing in passing league ahead of the season to come remain.

“You get to compete, so that’s always good,” Grady said. “The kids love it, the coaches love it, and for the last couple of months, you’ve just been competing against yourself.”

Wide receiver Nico Brown, the reigning offensive player of the year in the Sunset League, is a standout for the host Chargers. The Battle at the Beach provides teams a chance to see how their talent at the skill positions stacks up.

“This whole tournament, everybody has good players and standout players, so it’s going to be exciting,” Grady said. “It’s like that every year. That’s the best part. It doesn’t matter what game you’re watching, you’re watching some of the best athletes in Southern California, California and even the nation.”

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