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
TCA – Ethan Boyles 5 run (kick failed), 7:35
TCA – Brayden Luft 2 run (run failed), 1:27
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
TCA – Boyles 5 pass from Bethany (Cooper kick), 9:36
Pueblo Central – Aurieas Drew 9 run (Martin run), 3:40
Rushing: Luft 10-76
Passing: Bethany 12-17-147