By Rick Assad
An all-out offensive explosion took place at Memorial Field on Friday between Burroughs High and Pasadena.
Effective running, timely passing and a key interception by senior defensive back Cerain Baker in the waning moments with the ball on the Burroughs 48-yard line were on display and when it was over, the Indians held off the Bulldogs 45-34 in a Pacific League opening match.
“I thought it would be a little bit more of a defensive game,” Burroughs coach Mike Reily said. “I wasn’t quite expecting this many points on either side of the ball to be honest with you. But what a great battle. What a great game from a spectator perspective. The kind of back and forth and the drama. It was a fun game.”
Senior running back Ben Peters carried the ball 45 times and accounted for 302 yards with four touchdowns. This was the ninth most yards ever gained on the ground in school history.
Pasadena (269 total net yards) forged ahead 14-13 heading into the second quarter, but Burroughs outscored the Bulldogs 18-6 in the second period and moved in front 31-20. The Indians led 38-28 after three quarters.
Reily was asked what he liked the most about his team. “Their no quit attitude,” he said as the Indians improved to 2-1 and are 1-0 in league. “We told them that Pasadena is a squad where they’re going to rally and they’re going to be right back in the game. We had a decision to make whether to keep fighting or whether we quit and our kids decided not to quit and decided to keep fighting and I was excited to see that from my squad.”
Junior quarterback Nathan Piper’s five-yard toss to senior wide receiver Charlie Rodriguez (56 yards on five receptions) broke the seal with 10:21 left for a 6-0 lead and an 11-yard scamper from Peters made it 13-0 with 5:13 on the clock.
Piper finished his night by completing 13 of 20 for 178 yards with three interceptions.
Senior defensive back Hakeem Hickman’s fumble recovery made it possible for Peters to contribute a two-yard scoring run with 10:06 remaining before the half as the Indians led 21-14.
With less than three minutes on the clock before the intermission, Piper’s 23-yard toss found senior wide receiver David Lennstrom as Burroughs (504 total yards) danced ahead 28-20.
After senior kicker Jonathan Rivas drilled a 26-yard field goal, the lead swelled to 31-20 with eight seconds left.
Peters located the end zone on a one-yard run with 1:32 remaining in the third frame that made it 38-28 and his five-yard dash with 7:14 on the ticker in the fourth quarter saw the Indians jump out to a 45-34 edge.
When Pasadena senior tailback Jaloni West scurried in from 36 yards and 4:26 left in the opening stanza, the Bulldogs were within 13-6.
West (46 rushing yards on six carries and two receptions for 16 yards) later caught an 11-yard toss from senior quarterback Daron Derderian (five of 12 for 47 yards) with 8:28 left in the second quarter that shaved the advantage to 21-20.
Senior cornerback Kalonji West picked off Piper and scurried 44 yards with 3:11 left in the third period and when Derderian’s two-point toss to senior wide receiver Jalen Jolley (91 yards on six catches) was successful, the Bulldogs led 14-13.
“They were very athletic and great looking kids and well coached,” said Reily of the Bulldogs, who are 0-4 and 0-1 in league.
Pasadena senior field general Hakeem Herring (13 of 22 for 171 yards and one pick) had an eight-yard scoring toss with 4:07 on the clock in the third quarter as the Bulldogs drew within 31-28.
Herring also chimed in with a nine-yard pass and 10:17 showing in the fourth period that lowered the margin to 38-34.