Junior Ethan Boyles returns from knee injury and helps TCA improve to 4-0

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Photo - First-year TCA coach Justin Rich addresses his team after a 33-14 victory over Pueblo Central that moved the Titans to 4-0 for the second consecutive season and third time in program history. (BRENT BRIGGEMAN, THE GAZETTE)
First-year TCA coach Justin Rich addresses his team after a 33-14 victory over Pueblo Central that moved the Titans to 4-0 for the second consecutive season and third time in program history. (BRENT BRIGGEMAN, THE GAZETTE)

For nine months and two days, Ethan Boyles waited.

So, while his The Classical Academy squad may have started a little more sluggish than it preferred on Friday, Boyles uncoiled like a snake in a can to help push the Titans past Pueblo Central 33-14 in securing their second consecutive 4-0 start and third in program history.

Held out of competition since a torn ACL during basketball season, Boyles returned by taking a swing pass 41 yards in the first quarter to set up his own 5-yard touchdown run. The junior then added a second-quarter interception.

In total he scored two touchdowns – adding a 5-yard scoring catch from Cade Bethany in the fourth quarter – on just three touches and made six tackles.

“Athletically, he’s a freak,” said first-year Titans coach Justin Rich, who refers to Boyles as Spiderman. “He’ll go into the gym and we’ll have two ropes hanging from the ceiling. He’ll grab them one at a time and propel himself all the way up to the rafters. He’s a special kind of athlete. So happy he got on the field and got a couple of scores.”

Pueblo Central (0-4), with a clock-eating offense that magnified missed opportunities for TCA, closed to within 12-6 early in the third quarter after capitalizing on a turnover. Take away Boyles’ plays and TCA would have been facing a deficit.

“We kind of came out a little slow,” Boyles said. “We were expecting to come out a little faster.”

The onslaught eventually came in the second half as TCA scored 21 straight points behind a balanced offense – 169 rushing yards, 147 passing yards.

Rich served as a TCA assistant for two years before earning the promotion this past spring. His staff includes several assistants who have served 10-plus years and has a former Titans head coach in Jody Jones. Rich credits that continuity in helping with the strong start, but also admits to some relief that the trajectory of a program that went 17-6 over the past two years hasn’t changed under his leadership.

“It’s nice to have a sports car,” Rich said, “and you try not to rip the clutch out of it.”

TCA 33, Pueblo Central 14

At The Classical Academy

TCA 6 6 13 7 – 33

Pueblo Central 0 0 6 8 – 14

First quarter

TCA – Ethan Boyles 5 run (kick failed), 7:35

Second quarter

TCA – Brayden Luft 2 run (run failed), 1:27

Third quarter

Pueblo Central – Nico Martin 3 run (kick blocked), 10:09

TCA – Jenson Hall 48 pass from Cade Bethany (Hayden Cooper kick), 8:29

TCA – Bethany 5 run (Cooper kick), 3:06

Fourth quarter

TCA – Boyles 5 pass from Bethany (Cooper kick), 9:36

Pueblo Central – Aurieas Drew 9 run (Martin run), 3:40

TCA leaders

Rushing: Luft 10-76

Passing: Bethany 12-17-147