By Rick Assad
It’s extremely fortunate the Burroughs High football team has several key pieces in place for the Pacific League run which begins on September 29 versus always tough Pasadena at Memorial Field and the season opener on August 18 against visiting Harvard-Westlake.
The offense begins with senior quarterback Chris Kulikov, who has a powerful right arm and nimble legs at the helm. A season ago, Kulikov accounted for 2,621 total yards and 30 touchdowns.
Kulikov will have an array of targets to choose from and they include senior wide receiver/cornerback Ryan Hernandez, senior WR/CB Jake Scozzola, senior WR/free safety Ethan Hubbell and junior WR/CB Patrick Lima.
Other that Kulikov will be looking at include senior WR/FS Adrian Sanchez, senior WR/CB Aiden Berryman, senior WR/CB Aneas Pachardo, senior WR/outside linebacker Alex Valenzuela, senior WR/OLB Santiago Sanchez and junior WR/strong safety Bradon Turner.
A season ago, the Bears began the campaign with four straight wins and were 5-1 after six games.
Burroughs, which went 7-4, lost its final two games in high-scoring affairs, falling to Burbank 30-27 in the regular-season finale and the CIF Southern Section Division IX first-round playoff game at Tahquitz, losing 50-47.
“He is another year older and physically more mature. He spends a lot of time inside and outside of practice working to become the best player he can become,” Burroughs coach Jesse Craven said of his dynamic field leader. “The exciting part for me is not who he currently is, but who he can potentially become over the course of the season.”
There’s a great deal of potent playmakers, so it should be exciting to watch this team develop offensively during the course of the season.
More weapons for Kulikov to choose are senior tight end/middle linebacker/OLB Isaiah Mitchell, junior TE/QB Rocco Mellilo and senior TE/SS Gabriel Martinez.
Craven is smart enough to know that the season is going to be challenging and that each and every week his squad has to be ready to play hard and play smart.
“Our hope is that our team is competitive versus every team on our schedule. We have extremely competitive non-league matchups and as we have seen over the past couple years anyone can beat anyone in the Pacific League,” he said. “Our focus is maximizing our potential as a team and we will see how it all shakes out in the end.”
Running the ball will be left to senior WR/CB Noah Frankel, senior MLB Matthew Ardon, senior SS James Chamchuen, senior CB Roberto Gutierrez, junior OLB Andrew Remus and junior CB Julian Zabia.
When a field goal is needed and an extra point, there’s reliable senior place kicker/punter Brodie Kemp.
Craven is looking forward to seeing the defense perform and what it will look like once the season begins.
“We have made a lot of changes on the defensive side of the ball. One being we have a new defensive coordinator this year in Ron Jones who comes from Pasadena High School. He has made a major impact on the program, players, and myself and I am excited to see how he leads and grows our defense throughout the season.”
Also on the squad are seniors and they include defensive end/tackle Jayden Mowrey, T/DE/guard Sonny Arana, nose guard/DE Reese Shuton, DE/T/Center Brody Beebe, C/G/defensive tackle Lucas Brown, G/DT/T Stefan Constantinescu, OLB/WR Jon Egurrola, T/DE Damian Gomez, G/DE Edgar Jacobo and Bailey Cervantes.
Also on the squad there are several juniors and they are William Colvin-Marvin, DT/T/G Colin Jimenez, G/DT Samuel Ventura, Michael Ahmed, Daniel Ortiz, Isaiah Silva and Claine Aranas.
The rest of the team includes sophomores Matteo Tarrea, Elijah Ware, Rixon Williamson, Jaden Valle, Brendan Smith and Frank Tapia.
No team wins because of one player, no matter how good he is, and this is the case when the talented Kulikov and his gifted receivers take the field.
Talent takes a team only so far, while the rest is always about practice time, dedication and hard work and under Craven, who is in his fourth year, the teams he has had have been good and even really good.
It’s too early to tell how good this team will be, but it will be fun finding out.