Kyle Boyer-Tucker, Edison’s only four-year starter over the past decade, is known more for his defensive ability than his offensive prowess.
Expect all that to change, however, as the Eagles will make a concerted effort this fall to get the pigskin in the hands of Boyer-Tucker, one of their best all-around athletes.
“This year I think I’ll definitely see the ball more often than I used to,” said the senior strong safety/linebacker, who will be used as a slot receiver and running back. “I love it. I feel like the game will be in my hands a lot more. As a four-year starter, a captain and a leader I get to control the game and dictate how we go.”
Boyer-Tucker, who started in the secondary as a freshman, ranked second on the team with 81 tackles last season and caught 14 passes for 86 yards.
The Eagles have 60 freshmen in the program this fall — a record-number under ninth-year head coach Matt Fulham — and hope another Boyer-Tucker may be in that mix.
“He has an incredible work ethic and he’s also very coachable,” Fulham said. “He played a little running back as a sophomore and (receiver) as a junior. He’s an athlete. We try to get him on the field in as many places as we can.”
Edison, which ended a 12-year NJSIAA playoff drought last year, hopes to build off that postseason berth and to rebound from a heartbreaking 7-6 Thanksgiving Day loss to J.P. Stevens.
“That traumatized us,” Boyer-Tucker said, noting less than a week after the season-ending loss the entire team was in the weight room. “We have that hunger that in the past we didn’t have. This is then most talent and hard work I’ve seen in my four years.”
Were it not for a lack of depth – opponents with bigger rosters wore down the Eagles (4-6) – Edison likely would have finished with its first winning record since 2007.
Edison fared well last year in losses to teams that advanced to sectional finals: The Eagles trailed reigning Central Group V champion South Brunswick by just two points entering the third quarter; Fulham’s team trailed Piscataway by just six points at the half of their season opener; the next week, Edison trailed three-time defending sectional champion Sayreville by just two scores at the intermission; Edison trailed eventual North 2 Group V champion Elizabeth by just two points going into the fourth quarter of their playoff game.
Despite trailing those four state powers by a combined 23 points at various times of the second half, Edison went on to lose those games by a combined 138-45 score, or by an average 23.3-points margin of defeat.
“We’ve been stressing conditioning and finishing throughout the offseason – whether it’s finishing the drill, the rep, whatever we are doing,” said Fulham, noting his team needs to learn how to close games strong.
“That (playoff) experience really made our offseason, really gave us some momentum. It motivated our kids playing at that level. It gave the kids a little bit more hunger to get back there.”