Bedford High School senior quarterback Eric Miles took the snap at his 20-yard line and ran to his left to open Friday night’s home football game against the Waltham Hawks. It’s a safe, reliable call, almost a reflex with the dominant left side of the offensive line.
But this time, a Waltham defender was waiting to execute a decisive solo tackle.
So after a five-yard completion to Richie Fedele, Miles went to his right – and was stalled after a couple of yards. But he refused to fall, and, with a push from most of his linemen and running back, kept the play alive until the Bucs had a first down at the 31.
Was this the team that finally figured out Bedford’s dynamic quarterback?
Miles threw to Ricardo LaBoy out of the backfield for 10 yards, then LaBoy broke a run for 17 more. Now the Hawks had to worry about the speedy junior, and that gave Miles all the room he would need. His next carry went for 22, and two plays later he raced to his left, broke a tackle, and sprinted down the left sideline for a 25-yard touchdown run.
It was the first of four TDs for Miles, who gained 240 yards and for the second straight week sat out the fourth quarter as 4-1 Bedford romped Waltham, 49-21. The Bucs play their third consecutive home game this Friday at 7 p.m. against 2-3 Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.
Miles, who has scored 16 touchdowns and run for more than 1,000 yards in half a season, gives all the credit to his teammates and coaches for his and the team’s success. The co-captain said the offensive line has shown toughness, the receivers are running good routes, and the defense has been “playing very well. And great playing all day by our coaches.”
After two years as a running back, Miles now has played five games as a varsity quarterback. And again he credits others for the success. “No one thought I was going to be a quarterback a year ago. I couldn’t be more proud of my guys.”
Waltham mistakes helped Bedford take command of Friday’s game early. The clock read 8:17 when Miles crossed the goal line; a little less than a minute later Bedford recovered a fumble at the Hawk 30, resulting from a snap that sailed over the head of quarterback Jack Renaud.
After nearly connecting on a pass to the endzone and a couple of short runs sandwiched between a penalty on each team, Miles drew the defense with a fake handoff to LaBoy and then dashed up the middle, covering the 22 yards to a touchdown while leaving a few potential tacklers on their knees, trying to figure out what happened.
Bedford’s third scoring drive began at the Waltham 37, after another high snap resulted in a punt that officially registered one negative yard. A 13-yard holding penalty was quickly erased in two plays, particularly by a 20-yard catch and run from Miles to Nick Tatarczuk.
Three plays later, Miles slashed 18 yards to the endzone through the left side, and Tatarczuk’s extra point made the score 21-0 – eight minutes into the second quarter.
The Hawks did score 21 points themselves. But by then, the clock was running and Bedford had seven touchdowns. After Miles’s four in the first half, LaBoy scored three in the second, all on the ground. The junior ran 10 times for 94 yards and caught two passes for 22.
Tatarczuk was Miles’s favorite target, with four receptions for 51 yards. Tatarczuk is without question Bedford’s all-time leading scorer as a placekicker; this is his fourth season at the position. Just over the last two games he tallied 12 extra points and a field goal.
Other than a short pass that turned into a 63-yard catch-and-run for a TD, the Bedford defense controlled the line of scrimmage.
Waltham became the latest victim to become one-dimensional; the Hawks ran just 12 times for 63 yards. The actual number was 44 when you include the 19 yards lost on the high snap. Ryan Cohen led the pass rush with two quarterback sacks. “He has been phenomenal” on defense, Miles said.
An unexpected environmental event helped make this a game to remember, albeit not by affecting the outcome. At 8 p.m. the field lights went out, with 63 seconds remaining in the first half and BHS on top 28-7. Play resumed in about 20 minutes.
Miles said the size and enthusiasm of the crowd has served as a more conventional home-field advantage. “The great atmosphere makes a huge difference” to the players, he said.