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Freshman Quarterback Seizes the Reins at Huntington Beach High

Freshman Quarterback Seizes the Reins at Huntington Beach High

Brady Edmunds in an undated photo. (Courtesy of Eric Edmunds)

Dan Wood

Dan Wood

8/21/2023

Updated: 8/21/2023

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.—Rarely does a freshman show up for his initial day of high school already established as a big man on campus.
Brady Edmunds of Huntington Beach is no ordinary freshman. Twelve days before his first scheduled high school class, he quarterbacked the Oilers to a 34–21 victory over visiting Mayfair-Lakewood in his varsity football debut on Aug. 18.
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, the 15-year-old is obviously a big boy. Before the first day of school on Aug. 30, Edmunds will try to further enlarge his burgeoning reputation when Huntington Beach visits Trabuco Hills on Aug. 24.
Despite his youth, Edmunds had only one significant line of questioning leading into his first high school action. It came two days beforehand and had to do with the game plan.
“He walks in and he’s like, ‘So what are you thinking, Coach? Are you gonna kind of spoon-feed me, or run the ball and get it going, and then see how I’m doing?’” Oilers Coach Brett Brown told The Epoch Times. “I said, ‘What do you want me to do?’ He’s like, ‘I’m ready, Coach.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, playbook’s open. We’re going to throw the ball on first down. We’ll get after it.’
“We didn’t have to coddle and baby him. We just let him loose. He exceeded my expectations.”
High school football player Brady Edmunds (8) pitches the ball at Huntington Beach’s 34–21 victory over Mayfair in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 18, 2023. (Jeremy Westerbeck/JPWest Media)

High school football player Brady Edmunds (8) pitches the ball at Huntington Beach’s 34–21 victory over Mayfair in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 18, 2023. (Jeremy Westerbeck/JPWest Media)

While Edmunds didn’t light up the stat sheet, due in part to a few balls that glanced off receivers’ hands, he tossed touchdown passes to Musashi Ray, Troy Foster, and Hunter Gray, who broke a short in pattern for a 52-yard score to give Huntington Beach a 20–14 lead on the first series of the second half.
Edmunds finished 8 of 19 for 113 yards passing while throwing nothing even remotely close to an interception. He orchestrated a 71-yard touchdown march on the Oilers’ first possession, received a big hug from Mr. Brown upon returning to the sideline, and later led scoring drives of 69, 86, 10, and 74 yards.
Edmunds also ran the ball three times for 21 yards and emboldened by great work from an experienced offensive line led by Justin Tauanuu and Sean Marella, did not suffer a sack. Running back Tyler Young added a huge rushing night that included 8- and 5-yard touchdown scampers.
“I thought I did well for a freshman the first game starting on varsity, but it was a great team win,” Edmunds told The Epoch Times. “The offensive line was amazing. Tyler Young running the ball was amazing. Troy played amazing. Steel [Kurtz] played amazing. Hunter played amazing, and our defense came up huge.”
Being surrounded by a roster that includes 32 seniors provides tremendous support for Edmunds, but it also could have been problematic for a young quarterback tasked with leading older players.
“He’s a big kid and he has a big arm, but the most impressive things about him right now are his confidence and his leadership ability,” Mr. Brown said. “He gets our guys going, on offense at least. He’s not afraid to tell them to pick it up and to move faster … They love him. He’s their guy.”
Edmunds’s maturity level and his age simply do not correlate. In a move that is becoming increasingly common among high-level young athletes, especially football players, Edmunds chose to repeat eighth grade. The decision had nothing to do with academics, given that he carries a 4.0 grade-point average, but was rather the result of a stress fracture in his throwing elbow that necessitated a mechanical overhaul directed by private quarterbacks coach Tim Chou.
Edmunds’ parents, Eric and Katrina, initially opposed the idea of delaying high school for a year, and agreed only after requesting and receiving a detailed plan from their son on how he would utilize the extra time around online schooling.
“It wasn’t just, ‘Okay, I’m working out on Monday and I’m doing this on Tuesday,” the father told The Epoch Times. “It was by the hour, every day, five days a week. This isn’t like, ‘Sit at home, play video games, and stuff like that.’ He had a regimen that he stuck to, getting up in the morning like everyone else in our household.”
High school football player Brady Edmunds (8) is handing the ball to senior running back Tyler Young (23) at Huntington Beach’s 34–21 victory over Mayfair in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 18, 2023. (Jeremy Westerbeck/JPWest Media)

High school football player Brady Edmunds (8) is handing the ball to senior running back Tyler Young (23) at Huntington Beach’s 34–21 victory over Mayfair in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 18, 2023. (Jeremy Westerbeck/JPWest Media)

By his own estimation, Edmunds has gone through “multiple workouts a day, every single day,” since determining that he wanted to play quarterback while in sixth grade.
“I’ve never really taken a day off, to be honest with you,” he said.
There was also a calculated choice regarding where Edmunds would attend high school and play his football. The determining factor was Mr. Brown, a former quarterback himself at Marina High in Huntington Beach who had also played basketball when Edmunds’s father was a Vikings assistant coach many years ago.
“We’ve just always kept in touch,” Mr. Eric Edmunds said. “Brady wanted to go somewhere where he was going to develop a relationship with his coach. That was very important to him. Brady really took a liking to Coach Brown … Brady has a smile on his face every day. He just can’t get enough of being around this program.”
Despite not having been a participant in spring ball and not joining the team until July 5, Edmunds won the quarterback job with solid work during three weeks of practice and a summer passing tournament. The call to start Edmunds on opening night really wasn’t all that difficult, according to Mr. Brown, who is in his 19th season coaching high school football and eighth as Oilers head man.
“He had to earn it, obviously,” Mr. Brown said. “We don’t put any pressure on him. He puts a lot on himself. He wants to be the best. He has aspirations of playing big-time college football.”
Already, Edmunds has attended football camps at Alabama, Ohio State, Northwestern, and Miami of Ohio, as well as showcase events at Southern Methodist University and Texas Christian University. And while not binding at this early stage of the process, scholarship overtures have come from Arizona State, Connecticut, and Miami of Ohio.
“If he can stay healthy and continue to grow and develop … he’s as good as anybody, as good as anybody I’ve coached,” Mr. Brown said.
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Dan Wood

Dan Wood

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Dan Wood is a community sports reporter based in Orange County, California. He has covered sports professionally for some 43 years, spending nearly three decades in the newspaper industry and 14 years in radio. He is an avid music fan, with a strong lean toward country and classic rock.

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