In less than three full seasons as quarterback of the Paloma Valley High School football team, Brent Boehm has passed for 5,540 yards and 59 touchdowns. Last year, he led the Wildcats to a 9-4 record and to the CIF-SS Central Division semifinals. This year, under his leadership, Paloma Valley is 7-0.
Now that's an impact player, right? True, but Wildcats coach Bert Esposito said that's only part of the story.
"Where do I begin about Brent Boehm?" said Esposito, whose team plays host to crosstown rival Heritage High Friday night (7 p.m.) in the annual Menifee Bowl. "He has meant taking our program to another level.
"Brent has allowed us to do things with our offense that we haven't been able to do in the past. He is the complete QB with his ability to throw, run, create, improvise, make solid decisions, hold steadfast with his emotions, compete at all times and never ever give in or doubt his ability to lead his team."
Yes, Boehm seems to be making all the right plays and handling himself with the maturity required of a team leader in such a high-visibility sport. So how does the 6-foot, 205-pound senior evaluate himself?
"I'm just enjoying my senior year," he said with a smile. "I know that as soon as it's over, real life starts."
For Boehm, "real life" probably will be preceded by a college football career. No doubt, college recruiters have taken notice of his numbers and field conduct. Boehm ranks high on many all-time record lists at Paloma Valley and is remarkably composed, both on and off the field.
But college is still a ways off. For the next few weeks, Paloma Valley fans will continue to enjoy their quarterback's versatility in running the team's wide-open offense. This season, Boehm has completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,513 yards and 23 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 366 yards and 3 scores.
But the team captain is quick to point out he also has thrown three interceptions -- which, to him, means there's room for improvement.
"You can always do better," Boehm said when asked his statistics and the team's 7-0 record. "I look back on those interceptions and I know they were misreads where I have to make better plays. For the most part, I'm satisfied."
Esposito has seen many outstanding quarterbacks come and go at Paloma Valley, and he ranks Boehm with the best of them.
"I have been blessed with some awesome QBs here at Paloma -- none of whom are your prototypical 6-foot-4, 220-pounds," the coach said. "Ryan Mitchell, Zach Hubert, Logan Tutwiler and now Brent Boehm have been awesome young men, and B Bo has taken the position to another level here at Paloma."
In addition to his calm demeanor under pressure and natural ability, Boehm credits his familiarity with his primary receivers as a major factor in his success. He seems to have a special connection with fellow seniors Michael Valencia (20 catches, 422 yards, 12 TDs), RJ Benz (7 catches, 355 yards, 5 TDs) and Phillip Hauser (7 catches, 182 yards, 2 TDs).
"We've been together all four years," Boehm said. "We're in sync on the field and off the field. That really helps. We're like brothers."
As Esposito points out, the quarterback first has to be able to deliver the ball where the receivers need to have it. This, he says, is one of Boehm's strengths. Yet perhaps the most impressive thing about Boehm to his coach is his overall makeup and approach to the game.
"As a person, Brent has matured immensely with his ability to see the best in every situation and never give in to his fears, but continue to lead his teammates in a positive fashion," Esposito said. "He is a complete quarterback, but more importantly, he is a young man growing up to become a complete person."
That complete quarterback will be showcased again Friday night when the Wildcats put their perfect record on the line against a Heritage team that is 6-1, having lost just one nonleague game. The will be the fourth meeting between the two schools since Heritage joined the Sunbelt League. The Patriots have won the previous three.
"Heritage gets a lot of publicity and they have a lot of good athletes," Boehm said. "We know we have a lot of talent, too. We want to show everyone we're not the same team they beat last year."
No matter what happens Friday night, Esposito knows he has a winner in Boehm.
"I love this kid, and not just for what he has done as a quarterback,m but for who he is as a person," the coach said. I know his future will be great."
Coming tomorrow: A profile of cousins and team leaders Limihai Hifo and Sione Takitaki of Heritage High.