Tag Archives: Football

Burroughs Receiver Hernandez Was Smart And Effective

By Rick Assad


When the Burroughs High football team needed yards through the air, wide receiver Erick Hernandez was the man for the job.

During his three-year varsity career at Burroughs, Hernandez proved to be a dependable and clutch receiver, finishing with 83 catches for 1,284 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Hernandez, named Pacific League first-team, Offensive Player of the Year and All-Area first team as a senior, added a pair of non-receiving scores for a total of 24.

Hernandez isn’t especially tall at 5-foot-11 or big at 165 pounds, but was quick and often found holes in the defense that allowed him to snare 36 passes for 532 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2015.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs wide receiver Erick Hernandez putting on a move against Pasadena. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

It just so happened that the Indians advanced to the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division semifinals and Hernandez was a major factor in the team’s success.

The season opened with a road setback to powerful and talented Calabasas, and then saw Burroughs win nine straight regular-season games and two in the playoffs before losing to host St. Francis 21-7.

Hernandez, who will play football for Division I-AA St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, could catch the short and intermediate pass, but his specialty was the long toss.

“The deep passes have always been my favorite,” said Hernandez, who snared 32 passes for 564 years with 10 touchdowns, eight via receptions and was named the Burroughs Most Valuable Player as a junior. “I get to have a lot of freedom with what I do on the deeper routes as far as setting up the defender. So my speed, route running ability and hands showed on those deep routes.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Hernandez was a dynamic two-way player and will continue his career at St. Francis University. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs went 11-2 and 7-0 in league play for the undisputed title.

“I thought we put Burroughs back in the spotlight,” Hernandez said. “We showed we can compete with extremely talented teams like Calabasas and we showed perseverance throughout the entire season because we were able to win a lot of games without certain key players who were injured.”

Hernandez, an Exercise Physiology major, continued: “Overall I was happy with the outcome of the season, but I do wonder what would have happened had we stayed healthy.”

Aside from his wide receiver duties, Hernandez also played in the secondary. “I have always felt comfortable playing receiver,” he noted. “I had a very aggressive mindset because I always felt like I was in control. On defense I felt that the best thing I could do was to go 100 percent all the time for the benefit of the team, even if I was somewhat uncomfortable on that side of the ball.”

Hernandez always tried to outthink the defender. “I think the best trait I brought to the FEAST was my football IQ,” he said. “That was also due to the years of experience I had on the varsity.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Hernandez (#2) in action versus city and Pacific League rival Burbank. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Facing rival Burbank on the gridiron was an experience unto itself.

“The first two years I played Burbank on the varsity level the nerves got to me a little bit and I wasn’t comfortable,” Hernandez admitted. “This year was very different because of the teammates I was surrounded with. I felt complete confidence in myself as well as the team. I came out with a very different attitude for that game and just my senior year in general. I felt like I matured a lot over those first two years on varsity, which all came together my senior year.”

A pair of victorious league encounters remain imbedded for Hernandez. “The two games that stood out to me most my senior year from a personal stand point is definitely Arcadia and Burbank,” he noted.

The Indians actually trailed 14-0 early but came back for a 47-21 victory in the regular-season finale over the rival Bulldogs.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Hernandez and teammate bask in the glory after a touchdown. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Why was Hernandez, whose favorite routes were the comeback and post, able to fully blossom in 2015?

“As far as being a receiver, my wide receiver coach Dwayne Frampton definitely took my game to the next level,” he said. “What set me apart my senior year was the extra work I did in the offseason and lifting with my trainer Thomas Abich. And obviously a lot of credit goes to my coaches at Burroughs who spent countless hours with the team and myself day in and day out.”

The Indians played before several large crowds at Memorial Field. Did Hernandez hear the cheering throng?

“As far as the crowd, I could only really hear certain people when I was on the sideline,” he offered. “The constant roar I heard on the field felt like silence my senior year, but after we scored or made a big play, of course I heard the roar of the crowd. I appreciate our fans more than anything. The support we received my senior year was tremendous. It made this past year very special.”

Awunganyi And Garcia Have A Day To Remember

By Rick Assad
Sports Editor


It’s unlikely that Burroughs High’s Robert Awunganyi or Branden Garcia will ever forget the day they signed their letter of intent to play college football.

This Wednesday on campus, Awunganyi signed with Colorado State while Garcia inked his name to play for Tabor College.

Tabor is a member of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) and is a four-year private Christian liberal arts school in Hillsboro, Kansas.

Awunganyi, a wide receiver and free safety, was a threat to find the end zone from anywhere on the field, while Garcia, a middle linebacker, led the Indians in tackles the last two seasons, and was a fierce competitor who wasn’t afraid to get on players who were slacking.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Robert Awunganyi (left), Keith Knoop and Branden Garcia (right) on their signing day. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

What was it like on signing day? “It was fun,” Awunganyi said. “I went to bed at 9 p.m. and woke up only once, but then I went back to sleep.”

Awunganyi went on: “I got to school at 7 a.m. and I signed at 2:15 p.m. in the quad. It’s a new chapter in my life.”

Indeed it will be for the transfer from Riverside Arlington, who played only one season at Burroughs, but whose impact was felt from the day he arrived on campus.

“The first day we saw him, we knew that he had all the tools to play football at a high level,” said longtime Burroughs coach Keith Knoop, who recently retired of the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Awunganyi. “The only question was, how long would it take for him to learn the offense and defense. But he picked it up fast.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Awunganyi, who will attend Colorado State and Garcia, who will attend Tabor College, show their letter of intent. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Awunganyi, who has a 3.6 grade-point average, had scholarship offers from Illinois, Kansas, University of Texas El Paso, San Diego State, San Jose State, Wyoming, Idaho, UC Davis, Hawaii, Fresno State and Stony Brook in New York.

Garcia, at 5-8 and 200 pounds, was highly decorated and was recognized for his play as he was named second team All-Pacific League and All-Area.

A leader and captain, Garcia led the defense in tackles the last two seasons and posted 78 total tackles this season, including 12 solo.

“Branden was part of that great senior class and was a leader on the junior varsity team as a sophomore,” Knoop said. “He called the plays on defense and made sure that everybody was lined up properly. He’s a great young man.”

How did Colorado State stand out in Awunganyi’s mind? “It’s mostly the coaches and how they interacted with the players and how they treated me when I had my recruiting trip,” he said. “The coaches made it real easy for me.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Back-to-back leaders. Garcia was a defensive stalwart while Awunganyi could do everything. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Mike Bobo is the Head Coach and the Rams finished 7-6 this season including a 28-23 bowl loss to the University of Nevada.

Awunganyi’s and Garcia’s play helped the Indians finish 10-2 overall and 7-0 in league action, while reaching the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division quarterfinals.

Because there was so much talent on this year’s squad, Awunganyi, who has been timed at 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash, his numbers are impressive but not eye-popping.

Awunganyi caught 15 passes for 239 yards with two touchdowns and carried the ball four times for one score.

But it was when he had his hands on punts and kickoffs that Awunganyi really shined.

On 14 kickoff returns, Awungani accounted for 454 yards and two touchdowns and on 14 punt returns, he had 272 yards and one score.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Garcia and Awunganyi display their college caps on signing day. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Was there one thing that stood out during Awunganyi’s football season?

“The thing I’m probably going to remember the most was playing with a new team. They were all great and so were the coaches. That team played hard.”

Did one game stand out? “That would be the Burbank game,” Awunganyi said. “I’ll cherish that memory for a long time.” The Indians prevailed over their city rivals 47-21.

No doubt it’s going to take special and unique players to replace Awunganyi and Garcia.

Mike Reily Ready for New Role at Burroughs

By Jim Riggio

The Burroughs High football team might have a different person wearing a head set this fall, but things don’t figure to be too much different now that Mike Reily has stepped in as the head coach in place of Keith Knoop.

Knoop stepped down after 19 years as the head coach following last season and Reily, a longtime assistant, was recently promoted into the head job.

Mike Reily is the new Burroughs football coach.

Reily, who graduated from Burroughs in 1994 and earned a scholarship at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, returned to his alma mater to teach in the social sciences department 15 years ago. He has been an assistant football coach for 14 of those 15 seasons.

“Over the course of time I’ve served several different roles,” said Reily, who academic all-conference honors three times while at UNLV. “I’ve coached the offensive line for all 14 of those years. I’ve coached the defensive line for a handful of those years. This past season I served as (Knoop’s) his offensive coordinator. For the last handful of years, I’ve been the assistant head coach. “

Reily, who was in an offensive lineman in his playing days, said he and Knoop have for years shared the duties of running football conditioning before the start of the regular school day the last few years.

“Even though football season is over, I still look after them every day,” said Reily, who was a second-team Western Athletic Conference selection at a junior at UNLV. “We’re excited, fired up and moving forward and ready to get to work.”

Reily, who also teaches economics, said the promotion isn’t something he was looking for in particular.

“This is something I never knew if it was going to be in my future, but when Keith stepped down that opportunity presented itself and I decided to take it,” Reily said. “Keith has been fantastic. He’s been coaching for 24 years and 19 as the head coach. You aren’t going to find many places where a guy has been the head coach in one place for 19 years. It’s pretty rare these days. He’s been a great mentor to me and he’s one of my best friends. He’s been a good example of how you do things over the years.”

As a result, Burroughs won’t look much different under Reily.

“There’s a few things I’ll try to put my touch on, but we’ve had a successful program,” Reily said of changes. “I don’t see any reason to make any drastic changes. Things have been moving smoothly.”

Burroughs, Burbank Football Teams Receive More Honors

By Rick Assad
Sports Editor


As expected, the honors continued to spill in for both the Burroughs High and Burbank football teams as 23 combined players and one coach were named to the All-Area team.

Keith Knoop, recently retired after 19 years as the Indians’ leader and who collected his 100th career win this season, was selected Coach of the Year, while 14 of his players were tabbed, including eight on the first team.

They include senior quarterback Steven Hubbell, who threw for 1,820 yards with 27 touchdowns.

Hubbell, a shooting guard on the boys’ basketball team, added six scores and 250 rushing yards while leading Burroughs to the Pacific League title with a 7-0 mark.

The Indians, who had a 10-game winning streak, advanced to the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division quarterfinals, but lost to St. Francis on the road.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Keith Knoop, recently retired as the Burroughs football coach, was named the All-Area Coach of the Year. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Also on the squad was junior tailback Chance Bell, who ran for an area-best 1,378 yards with 23 rushing scores.

Bell, who had six receptions for 83 yards, was also named All-CIF and Pacific League Player of the Year, and helped the Indians finish 10-2.

Senior wide receiver Erick Hernandez was another All-Area first team member after snaring 36 passes for 532 yards with 13 touchdowns. Hernandez was a Pacific League first team selection.

Also making the All-Area first team was senior wide receiver/defensive back Robert Awunganyi, who had 1,079 all-purpose yards, three interceptions with 38 tackles, and was named to the Pacific League first team and was an All-CIF pick.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs senior quarterback Steven Hubbell accounted for 33 touchdowns. Hubbell was named to the All-Area first team. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Another member to the All-Area first team was senior offensive lineman Anthony Garcia, who was the Co-Pacific League Lineman of the Year and an All-CIF selection.

Senior offensive lineman Bryce Martinez, who was named the other Pacific League Lineman of the Year, was also selected to the All-Area first team.

Senior linebacker Connor Garden (six sacks, 66 tackles, two picks and one fumble recovery) was selected to the Pacific League first team, was an All-CIF member and an All-Area first teamer.

Senior defensive lineman Cole Gurley, who was tabbed the Pacific League Co-Defensive Player of the Year and All-CIF selection after posting 59 tackles and 10 sacks with one fumble recovery, was also an All-Area first team member.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Junior tailback Chance Bell had an all-area best 1,378 rushing yards with 23 touchdowns. Bell made the All-Area first team. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Making the All-Area second team from Burroughs was senior wide receiver Cade Borland (36 receptions for 430 yards with four scores) along with senior offensive lineman Justin Gonzalez, who was named to the Pacific League first team.

Also making the All-Area second squad was senior linebacker Branden Garcia (78 tackles) and senior defensive back Devlin Jimenez (three interceptions, one and a half sacks with 59 tackles), who was selected to the Pacific League second team.

Other Burroughs players making the All-Area second team were senior defensive back Jarret Wrobel, who was named Pacific League second team after posting 52 tackles with five picks and junior offensive lineman Jesse Chamberlain, who was named to the All-CIF and Pacific League first team.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank defensive back Andy Reyes set a school record for tackles with 132. Reyes made the All-Area first team. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank, which went 6-5 and 5-2 in league play, fell to Compton Dominguez at Moyse Field in Glendale in the opening round of the CIF playoffs, was also represented on All-Area first team and they include junior defensive back/wide receiver Forest Fajardo, who was tabbed Pacific League first team.

Fajardo had five picks with 57 tackles and added 24 receptions for 372 yards with seven scores.

Junior linebacker Andy Reyes, who was named Pacific League Co-Defensive Player of the Year and All-CIF while setting a school record with 132 tackles, also had four sacks and four fumble recoveries, was also was picked for the All-Area first team.

Making the All-Area second team was senior wide receiver Max Weisman, who was named Pacific League first team and had 25 receptions for 369 yards with four scores, senior kicker Andrew Hank (43 of 46 extra points with two field goals) and senior defensive lineman Jha’rod Horhn (44 tackles, seven sacks, three forced fumbles), and was named to the Pacific League first team.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Forest Fajardo excelled offensively and defensively for the Bulldogs. Fajardo was tabbed All-Area first team. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Other Burbank players who made the All-Area second team were senior linebacker David Medrano, a Pacific League second team pick who had 82 tackles, two sacks and one fumble recovery and junior offensive lineman Tim Han, who was named to the Pacific League first team.

Also making the squad were junior defensive back Miguel Vasquez, who was tabbed Pacific League second team and collected 61 tackles, one pick and two fumble recoveries and sophomore tailback Darnell Williams, who finished with 585 rushing yards, five touchdowns, 14 passes caught for 146 yards and is a member of the Pacific League second team.

Longtime Burroughs Football Coach Keith Knoop Steps Down

By Rick Assad
Sports Editor


In what seems like a surprise, longtime Burroughs High football coach has resigned his position. Knoop, who just completed his 19th season at the helm, announced his decision via Twitter:

It read: “Want to say thank you to everyone I have meet [met] who has made my coaching stint at John Burroughs great. I have stepped down as head coach.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop has decided to step down. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Knoop’s team came off a wildly successful season in which it went 9-1 during the regular season and 7-0 in Pacific League play. This was the first time since 2006 that the Indians (10-2) reached these figures.

Knoop, who has coached for 29 years, also picked up his 100th career win this season, which ended with a 21-7 loss to St. Francis in the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division quarterfinals.

No one has been named to succeed Knoop, who captured five Pacific League titles during his tenure.

Burroughs, Burbank Football Teams Enjoy Success

By Rick Assad
Sports Editor


Some goals were reached while others were not as Burroughs High and Burbank each made the CIF Southern Section football playoffs, but neither won the Southeast Division championship.

Still each team had successful seasons and despite several outstanding players graduating, next year looks to be equally fulfilling.

The Indians claimed their first-round match against visiting Norwalk, 16-9, but then fell to host St. Francis 21-7 in the quarterfinals.

For the Bulldogs, the 41-21 opening-round loss to Dominguez Compton at Moyse Field in Glendale ended their season.

There were many highlights including Burroughs capturing the undisputed Pacific League crown after going 7-0 and finishing 9-1 during the regular season, the first time since 2006.

Seven times the Indians surpassed 40 points or better with a high of 65 points versus visiting Glendale.

Burroughs, which averaged 44.6 points during the regular season, also had a 10-game winning streak after losing its initial game to host Calabasas, 45-25.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs senior quarterback Steven Hubbell accounted for 33 touchdowns. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Senior quarterback Steven Hubbell had a season that will long be remembered as he accounted for 33 total touchdowns.

A skilled basketball player, Hubbell capped his career by passing for 1,820 yards including 27 touchdowns with six interceptions.

A crafty and agile runner, Hubbell, who hit 146 of 223 pass attempts, ran for 250 yards and scored six touchdowns.

Senior wide receiver Erick Hernandez was once again the leading pass-catcher, hauling in 36 receptions for 532 yards with 13 scores, and had 844 all-purpose yards.

Senior wide receiver Robert Awunganyi added 239 yards on 15 catches and two touchdowns. Awunganyi finished with 1,079 all-purpose yards that included 454 yards on kickoff returns and 272 yards on punt returns.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

JB senior wide receiver/defensive back Robert Awunganyi used his speed often. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Meanwhile seniors Cade Borland chipped in with 36 catches for 430 yards and four scores, Nick Mercado added 24 grabs for 243 yards with five touchdowns, Torin Harris hauled in 18 for 221 yards and three scores, while Hunter Guerin contributed 10 receptions for 134 yards and one score.

When junior tailback Chance Bell was healthy the Indians’ ground attack was solid. But Bell injured his shoulder late in the season and knee against the Lancers in the first-round playoff game, which kept him out of the contest versus the Golden Knights.

Bell carried the ball 178 times for 1,378 yards, tallied 23 touchdowns and snared six passes for 83 yards.

Senior Ash Hawkins had 254 yards with two scores, and junior Sammy Duran added 287 yards with two touchdowns.

The Indians’ defense was both hard-hitting, and fast and caused havoc whenever it was on the field.

Burroughs gave up 93 points in league play with host Arcadia scoring the most in a 39-34 defeat.

There were many ring leaders and they included senior linebacker Connor Garden, who had six sacks, two blocked field goals, one fumble recovery, two interceptions, 20 solo tackles and 46 assists.

Senior lineman Cole Hurley, who was injured late in the campaign, finished with 14 solo tackles and 45 assists, had a team-best 10 sacks and one fumble recovery.

Senior defensive back Devlin Jimenez collected 21 solo tackles, 38 assists, one and half sacks, three picks and two passes defended, while senior defensive back Jarret Wrobel chimed in with five interceptions, six passes defended, one fumble recovery, 26 solo tackles and 26 assists.

Senior linebacker Branden Garcia contributed 12 solo tackles and 66 assists, senior linebacker Josue Chicas Ortiz, who was also injured late, had three and a half sacks, two fumble recoveries, 11 solo tackles and 42 assists, while Awunganyi, a defensive back, finished with 23 solo tackles, 29 assists, three picks, 10 passes defended and one fumble recovery.

The Bulldogs went 6-4 during the regular season, 5-2 in league play which tied for second place with Crescenta Valley, and had a four-game winning streak.

But Burbank closed the campaign with consecutive losses to city rival Burroughs 47-21 and a 20-point setback to the Dons.

Junior quarterback Guy Gibbs connected on 101 of 218 attempts for 1,318 yards with 14 touchdowns and seven picks and continued to get better with each start.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank junior quarterback Guy Gibbs grew into the position, finishing with 14 touchdown passes. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Sophomore running back Darnell Williams had 585 yards on 122 carries with five scores, caught 14 passes for 146 yards and had 860 all-purpose yards.

Junior running back Nick Warren added 357 yards with four scores, sophomore Blake Quinteros finished with 401 yards and four touchdowns, and junior Andy Reyes added 169 yards with two scores and had 282 yards on kickoff returns.

Gibbs often found junior wide receiver Forest Fajardo, who grabbed 24 passes for 372 yards and seven scores and contributed 143 yards on kickoff returns and 126 yards on punt returns, while senior wide receiver Max Weisman had 25 catches for 369 yards with four touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Noah Powell added 10 catches for 192 yards with three touchdowns.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Andy Reyes, a running back/defensive back, stood tall for the Bulldogs. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The Bulldogs’ defense had one shutout against host Hoover 49-0, drilled Glendale 61-7, edged host Crescenta Valley 7-3, and downed host Arcadia 31-8.

Leading the defensive brigade was Reyes, a defensive back, who had 94 solo tackles, 38 assists, four sacks, four passes defended, four fumble recoveries and one blocked punt.

Junior linebacker Jake Kelley chimed in with 35 solo tackles, 19 assists, two fumble recoveries, one blocked field goal, one blocked punt, two sacks and two passes defended.

Fajardo, a defensive back, added 41 solo tackles, 16 assists, a team-high five picks and 14 passes defended, while junior defensive back Miguel Vasquez had 34 solo tackles, 27 assists, 11 passes defended, one interception and two fumble recoveries.

Senior defensive back David Medrano closed out the season with 39 solo tackles, 43 assists, two sacks, three passes defended and one fumble recovery, junior defensive lineman Damien Flores collected 25 solo tackles, 29 assists, two sacks, one blocked punt, one pass defended and one pick, and senior defensive lineman Jha’rod Horhn had 24 solo tackles, 20 assists and a team-high seven sacks.

Burroughs’ Winning Streak and Season Ends, 21-7

By Rick Assad
Sports Editor


It certainly didn’t end as planned for the Burroughs High football team against St. Francis in a CIF Southern Section Southeast Division quarterfinal match at Friedman Field.

In the end, injuries to four starters were part of the Indians’ undoing Friday before a near-full house, falling 21-7, to the Golden Knights, who registered seven sacks on quarterback Steven Hubbell, who was harassed and hurried during much of the game.

“Both defenses played well,” Burroughs coach Keith Knoop said. “Those guys [St. Francis] are big and they can play. But we accomplished a lot and we have a lot to be proud of. I’m going to enjoy all the great things this team accomplished. This is a special group.”

Hubbell came in having tossed 27 touchdowns and four interceptions, but the Golden Knights, who will face top-seeded La Serna in the semifinals next week, held the senior to 128 yards on 21 of 34 with two interceptions.

(Photo By Ivan Galan)

Senior wide receiver Nick Mercado tries to make a play in 21-7 loss to St. Francis in a CIF quarterfinal game. (Photo By Ivan Galan)

The No. 4 seeded Indians were riding a 10-game winning streak and a perfect 7-0 mark in the Pacific League, but managed one touchdown when senior running back Ash Hawkins scored on a one-yard run with 6:54 left in the fourth quarter that cut the Golden Knights’ lead to 14-7.

Burroughs tried an onside kick which St. Francis recovered at midfield, and cashed it into a 65-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Miles Bryant (11 of 17 for 174 yards with two picks and was sacked four times) to senior wide receiver Jasher Foster (92 yards on three catches) on second and 25 with 5:30 left that made it a two-score lead.

The Indians (10-2), who mustered 157 total net yards, including 29 yards on the ground, had two more possessions, but each resulted in a punt.

(Photo By Ivan Galan)

Burroughs quarterback Steven Hubbell looks down field for a receiver. (Photo By Ivan Galan)

Junior tailback Chance Bell, who was the leading rusher the last two seasons, didn’t suit up after suffering a knee injury in the opening-round victory over Norwalk, nor did junior center Tommy Howe, who broke his leg in the same game. The Indians were also without senior defensive lineman Cole Gurley and senior linebacker Josue Chicas Ortiz.

“If we had those players we’re a more dynamic group and we can do more,” Knoop said. “It might have been a different outcome.”

(Photo By Ivan Galan)

Senior wide receiver/defensive back Robert Awunganyi tries to use his speed against the Golden Knights. (Photo By Ivan Galan)

It was a defensive struggle as each team had trouble moving the football down the field, but the Golden Knights (245 total yards) scored on their second series as Bryant marched his team 42 yards on seven plays that was capped when senior running back Areg Nazarian (35 yards on 14 carries and 19 yards on four catches) had a 10-yard burst and 2:21 remaining in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.

The half ended with St. Francis compiling 100 yards on offense and a 7-0 lead, which made it imperative that the Indians come out strong in the second half.

It worked out that way as the Golden Knights turned the ball over when junior wide receiver Daniel Scott (32 yards on two receptions) gained 25 yards on a reception, but then fumbled which senior defensive back Jarret Wrobel recovered at the Burroughs 36-yard line.

(Photo By Ivan Galan)

St. Francis quarterback Miles Bryant passed for two touchdowns in a 21-7 win over the Indians. (Photo By Ivan Galan)

The drive began with Hubbell’s pass to senior wide receiver Erick Hernandez losing one yard, followed by Hubbell getting sacked for a six-yard loss and a five-yard run by Hubbell which  forced senior wide receiver Cade Borland (26 yards on five catches), who injured his arm late in the game, to punt the ball away.

“With all those guys missing, we had a different mental state,” said Hernandez, who had four catches for 21 yards. “We were playing more to survive. I think we ran out of gas. Stuff happens.”

Hernandez, who hopes to play college football, was pleased with the overall effort. “The defense played really well,” he said. “I think if we had those guys our offense would have been able to do more.”

(Photo By Ivan Galan)

Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop gathers the troops after the game. (Photo By Ivan Galan)

Senior wide receiver Nick Mercado, who led the way with 38 yards on four receptions, thought the Indians were going to pull off the upset.

“It definitely didn’t go the way we wanted it to,” he said. “It’s a different game if those guys are in the game. I’m not saying that we would have won, but it would have made a difference, and we would have been able to move the ball easier.”

St. Francis (9-3) then moved ahead 14-0 with 12.9 seconds left in the third quarter when Bryant found senior tight end/defensive lineman Sean Davitt (six sacks) alone in the end zone with a 16-yard offering.

On Burroughs’ next possession, Hubbell (12 carries for minus four yards) orchestrated an 86-yard march that Hawkins (two yards on two carries) climaxed with a short run, but that would be the only offensive highlight.

Senior wide receiver/defensive back Robert Awunganyi (13 yards on five receptions), who also wants to play college football and had an interception, felt the game could have gone in Burroughs’ direction.

“I was pretty disappointed,” he said. “Those players played hard. We made a couple of mistakes. It was pretty tough to take.”

Senior wide receiver/defensive back Hunter Guerin (17 yards on one catch) had a pick and accounted for 26 yards on seven carries to lead the Indians, who had 17 yards on the ground in the opening half.

Burroughs Travels to St. Francis for Quarterfinals

By Rick Assad
Sports Editor


Burroughs High will play its biggest and most important football game of the season on Friday night at Friedman Field on the campus of St. Francis in La Canada in a CIF Southern Section Southeast Division quarterfinal match.

A win and the Indians advance to semifinals, but getting to the next step won’t be easy in front of a loud and hostile crowd, to say nothing of how potent and skilled the Golden Knights (8-3) are.

The Indians own a 10-game winning streak after suffering a season-opening defeat at the hands of Calabasas on the road, 45-25.

Since then, Burroughs has paraded around and past every opponent in its way and has scored 40 points or better in seven games.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Senior wide receiver/defensive back Robert Awunganyi is a threat whenever he touches the ball. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The offense, which averages 376.9 total net yards, is triggered by senior quarterback Steven Hubbell, who has thrown 27 touchdown passes with four interceptions.

Hubbell has accounted for 1,696 yards through the air and has hit on 125 of 189 attempts. When pressured, Hubbell will make like a running back and has picked up 252 yards with six scores.

Junior tailback Chance Bell is a dynamic and highly-skilled runner with the ability of turning a short gainer into a long one in the blink of an eye.

In Burroughs’ first-round victory over Norwalk, 16-9, Bell, who leads the team with 1,378 yards and 23 touchdowns, injured his knee on the first play and had one carry for four yards.

If Bell, who has paced the Indians’ ground game the last two campaigns, isn’t able to play, Coach Keith Knoop has several others who will try to carry the load.

They include senior Ash Hawkins, who has 252 yards and two scores, junior speedster Sammy Duran, who has 287 yards and two touchdowns, and junior Oscar Perez, who had 40 yards in last Friday’s win over the Lancers.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs’ defensive is a hard-hitting group with 15 interceptions and 32 sacks. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Hubbell will find senior wide receiver Erick Hernandez (35 receptions for 511 yards and 13 touchdowns) along with senior wide receiver Cade Borland (32 catches for 405 yards and four scores).

Other targets include senior wide receiver Nick Mercado (206 yards on 19 catches for five touchdowns), senior wide receiver Robert Awunganyi (222 yards on 11 catches for two scores) and senior wide receiver Torin Harris (15 receptions for 214 yards and three scores).

The Indians’ defense has racked up 32 sacks, 15 interceptions and is spearheaded by a bevy of players including senior linebacker Branden Garcia (nine solo tackles and 54 assists) and senior defensive back Devlin Jimenez (15 solo tackles, 29 assists, one and a half sacks, three interceptions and two passes defended).

Others in the fray include senior linebacker Connor Garden (14 solo tackles, 34 assists, two blocked field goals, five sacks, four passes defended, two picks and one fumble recovery) and senior defensive back Jarret Wrobel (23 solo tackles, 22 assists, five interceptions and five passes defended).

The Golden Knights are riding a four-game winning streak that includes a 21-19 victory over host Warren in their opening-round game, and average 142.8 yards receiving and 134.9 yards on the ground.

Junior quarterback Miles Bryant makes the offense click and has passed for 1,571 yards with 14 scores and two picks and has completed 116 of 179 attempts.

Longtime St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds will have the Golden Knights ready against Burroughs.

The ground game is sound and is led by senior running back Areg Nazarian (759 yards and six touchdowns), while junior wide receiver Jace Harrick has 245 yards and three touchdowns.

Nazarian, who has 1,176 all-purpose yards, has caught 25 passes for 203 yards and one score, while Harrick has 100 yards on 10 receptions and one touchdown.

Senior wide receiver Jasher Foster has accumulated 928 all-purpose yards, including 153 yards on punt returns, 137 yards on kickoff returns and 122 yards rushing.

St. Francis opened its season with wins at home over West Covina 36-24, and Moorpark 29-23, on the road against Monrovia 32-14 and Canyon 35-20.

The Golden Knights then dropped three games including a 34-0 setback at Calabasas, a 27-20 double overtime loss at Salesian, and 27-21 at home versus Harvard-Westlake.

What followed were triumphs over visiting Cathedral 31-14 and St. Paul 24-7, and road victories over La Salle 27-14 and Warren by two points.

The Golden Knights are always tough and hard-hitting on defense and are led by senior defensive end Sean Davitt (49 solo tackles and 12 assists with 16 sacks).

Senior defensive back Tre Polomalu has 35 solo tackles with 24 assists, two passes defended, one pick and one blocked field goal, and junior linebacker Max Jakeway (68 solo tackles, 32 assists, two sacks and one pass defended).

With a win, either Burroughs or St. Francis will be one more triumph away from the championship game.

Burbank’s Football Season Ends, 41-21

By Jim Riggio

Dominguez High was bigger, stronger and faster. The Burbank football team did all it could Friday night, but fell to the visiting Dons 41-21 in a first round CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoff contest at Glendale High’s Moyse Field.

“We’re a young team,” Burbank coach Richard Broussard said.  “The game plan was solid. There’s a lot of pressure. There’s a lot of beef up there (Dominguez offensive and defensive lines). They just lay on you. Our kids battled. I’m so proud of them. I’m proud of how hard they played and how they finished the game.”

Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Burbank junior wide receiver Forest Fajardo catches a pass during a 41-21 loss to Dominguez Compton in a CIF opening-round game. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Dominguez (8-3) suited up just 24 players. But they were 24 of the best players Burbank has ever faced.

Senior running back Henry Williams rushed for 222 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries to lead the Dons.

He put up the impressive numbers while playing on a sprained meniscus and a slightly torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

Williams got Dominguez on the board just seconds into the contest.

Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Tailback Darnell Williams runs for yardage against Dominguez. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Burbank (6-5) fumbled the ball and Dominguez recovered on the very first play from scrimmage. Williams scored his first touchdown on the second play from scrimmage, a two-yard run.

Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Senior Andrew Hank kicks off against the Dons in a CIF first-round setback. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Dominguez also got a stellar performance from freshman quarterback Sean Harlston, who carried the ball six times for 84 yards. He also had an interception on defense.

The visiting Dons went up 14-0 with 6:10 left in the first quarter as senior running back Royce Anson scored on a five-yard run.

Burbank got on the board with 1:01 left in the first quarter as junior quarterback Guy Gibbs hooked up with junior wide receiver Forest Fajardo on a 10-yard touchdown pass.

Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Burbank players look glum on the sideline after loss to the Dons. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

The Bulldogs got within six points as Gibbs scored on a one-yard run 9:07 left in the first half to make it 20-14.

But every time Burbank did something well, Dominguez seemed to do it better.

Williams scored on a 50-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Williams later added a five-yard touchdown run which made it 34-14.

After yet another Dominguez touchdown, Burbank fought back and scored with 6:28 left as junior running back Jake Kelley scored on a two-yard run.

Burroughs Downs Norwalk, 16-9, In Hard-Hitting Playoff Game

By Rick Assad
Sports Editor


Hard-hitting and low-scoring were the stories in Friday’s CIF Southern Section Southeast Division opening-round playoff football game between Burroughs High and Norwalk at Memorial Field.

In the end, the Indians prevailed 16-9 over the Lancers with senior quarterback Steven Hubbell tossing two touchdown passes, one in each half, while junior tailback Chance Bell, the team’s leading ground-gainer the last two seasons, injured his knee on his initial four-yard carry and didn’t return to the game.

“I knew that our offensive production was going to go down when Chance went out of the game,” Burroughs coach Keith Knoop said. “We had to be creative, but Ash [Hawkins} and Oscar [Perez] stepped up.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Senior running back Ash Hawkins had 45 yards in 16-9 CIF win over Norwalk. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs (10-1), the No. 4 seeded team, readies for a quarterfinal encounter with St. Francis (8-3), which knocked off host Warren, 19-17, at Friedman Field on the Golden Knights’ campus.

This is Burroughs first playoff victory since 2010 when it defeated El Rancho.

The Indians came in having topped 40 points in seven games, but struggled at times to move the ball. Burroughs managed 336 total net yards, including 150 yards on 35 carries.

Several players had to take up the slack left by Bell’s absence, as Hubbell, a nifty runner, tacked on 51 yards on 15 carries and had three runs of 10 yards or more including a 16-yarder and two 13-yard sprints.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Junior tailback Chance Bell left the game after his first carry. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“I expected a different game because we knew that they [Norwalk] was a physical team,” said Hubbell, who hit 13 of 19 for 186 yards and one interception. “We knew it was going to be a tough game. Sometimes we didn’t score when we got in the red zone, but our defense was fantastic. Our defense did what it always does.”

Hawkins, a senior, came up with 45 yards on 14 rushes, while Perez, a junior, chimed in with 40 yards on three carries, but did fumble.

“I like getting the ball and it was a good night,” said Hawkins, who had 29 yards in the opening half on nine carries and would have had a few carries if Bell had played the while game. “I really didn’t think that I’d get that much time.”

The Indians, who finished 7-0 and first place in the Pacific League, led 7-0 when Hubbell moved Burroughs 81 yards on eight plays and capped it with a 45-yard toss to senior wide receiver Erick Hernandez with 33 seconds left in the opening quarter.

“Physically I feel fine,” said Hernandez, who had two catches for 55 yards. “It’s the guys in the trenches who get banged up. Our offense played alright, but our defense played really well.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Indians’ senior quarterback Steven Hubbell unloaded two scoring passes in 16-9 CIF opening-round win. Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The Lancers (5-6) opened the scoring with a 34-yard field goal from junior Eduardo Nava and 5:01 left in the first quarter as the drive began at the Norwalk 33-yard line and consumed 14 plays.

When senior wide receiver/kicker Cade Borland (55 yards and three catches) drilled a 24-yard field goal and 7:49 left before the intermission, the Indians bolted ahead 10-3 on a drive that started at the Norwalk 46-yard line and took eight plays.

The Lancers (228 total yards) are a run-first offense and accumulated 226 yards on the ground on 46 rushes, including 131 yards in the second half.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Wide receiver Robert Awunganyi returns a punt in victory over Norwalk in a CIF first-round game. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Norwalk, which finished in third place in the Suburban League, closed to within 10-9 and 4:55 left in the third quarter on a 25-yard run and Nava’s point after hitting the right upright.

When the Indians took over on their next series at the Burroughs 23-yard line, Hubbell, who came in having tossed only three interceptions, was picked off by junior defensive end Robert Rodriguez, but Nava’s 33-yard field goal sailed wide right.

What followed was an 80-yard, 12-play march that ended when Hubbell found senior wide receiver Torin Harris (20 yards on two receptions) with an eight-yard bullet as 9:01 remained in the fourth quarter.

When Borland’s point after was blocked by sophomore strong safety Josh Martinez, the Indians pulled ahead by seven points.