San Juan Hills High junior Joey Hobert had his fingerprints all over Friday night’s CIF Southern Section Division 2 first-round playoff game against visiting Edison.
Every time he touched the football, something good tended to happen for the home team.
“He’s the real deal, man,” Edison coach Jeff Grady said. “Offense, defense, special teams — he made impact plays in all three phases. I mean, like game-changing plays.”
In a close game that turned into a defensive battle, Hobert always stood out. If he wasn’t faking a punt and running for a long first down, he was catching four passes for 147 yards and a touchdown.
Hobert even made an interception in the fourth quarter, as the Stallions hung on for a 22-15 victory that ended the Chargers’ season.
San Juan Hills (8-3) got a bit of revenge after losing at home to Edison 33-14 in a nonleague game on Sept. 7. The Stallions won the pre-flip and will host No. 2-seeded Calabasas in the quarterfinals on Nov. 9. Calabasas routed La Cañada Flintridge St. Francis 49-7 in another first-round game.
Edison (5-6) was unable to make enough plays on offense. The Chargers had just two first downs in the first half, which ended with them trailing 9-7. The touchdown came on defense, as Sam Rovano jumped a route and returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter.
Hobert caught a 69-yard touchdown pass from Stallions sophomore quarterback Hudson Jones midway through the third quarter, but the conversion kick was blocked by Edison’s Trent Fletcher. The play loomed large, keeping it a one-score game at 15-8.
Edison finally got its first offensive touchdown in the last two games, after getting good field position by recovering an onside kick. Seven plays later, sophomore quarterback Braeden Boyles found receiver Ryan Rivituso over the middle for a 29-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion pass from Mike Walters to Cameron Eden was good, tying the score with 4:18 left in the third quarter.
After Hobert took a quick pass for 75 yards, San Juan Hills’ Chase Monarch scored on a five-yard touchdown run. The Chargers again fell behind, as heavily recruited San Juan Hills senior left tackle Sean Rhyan opened up holes for the hosts all night.
Edison still seemed ready to tie it up again early in the fourth quarter. First Edison took advantage of pass interference and roughing the passer penalties on the Stallions, then Cole Koffler made a 33-yard grab to set the Chargers up with a first-and-goal on the San Juan Hills three.
The Chargers again set up with Walters as the quarterback. After two runs went nowhere, he scrambled left and tried to make a quick toss into the end zone. But Hobert was there for the interception, his second of the game, with 9:25 remaining.
“Defensively, I think we’re one of the best [teams] in the county,” said Hobert after watching San Juan Hills sack Boyles seven times, with Rhyan, Shane Robertson and Cade Albright constantly chasing him around. “They had scored [in that formation] previously for the two-point conversion. Our defensive coordinator, coach [Pete] Silvey, he said to watch the wings. I carried the wing over. I thought [Walters] was going to run the ball, and then I saw the wing come out so I just went to the wing.”
Edison never got close to the end zone again. The Chargers, who finished third in the Sunset League, were on their way to losing in the first round for the first time since 2015.
“[Hobert] was the difference-maker,” Grady said. “They were more physical, too, I thought. They did a really good job. They were well-prepared … It was tough. Our offense didn’t play well, our defense carried us, and that’s it.”
CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs
San Juan Hills 22, Edison 15
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Edison 7 – 0 – 8 – 0 — 15
San Juan Hills 0 – 9 –13 – 0 — 22
E – Rovano 54 INT return (Spradlin kick), 2:30.
SJH – Monarch 8 run (kick failed), 9:20.
SJH – Wang 25 FG, 3:01.
SJH – Hobert 69 pass from Jones (kick blocked), 6:17.
E – Rivituso 29 pass from Boyles (Eden pass from Walters), 4:18.
SJH – Monarch 5 run (Wang kick), 3:59.
E – Lopez, 9-17.
SJH – Monarch, 21-76, 1 TD.
E – Boyles, 11-26-2, 177, 1 TD.
SJH – Jones, 8-15-1, 210, 1 TD.
E – Koffler, 5-89.