By Rick Assad
For at least one half, the Burroughs High football team seemed to be in control of Friday night’s Pacific League match at Arcadia.
Then it went south somewhat in the second half as the Indians were outscored 17-3 and lost 31-26.
Even so, Burroughs (319 total net yards) still had an opportunity to rally on its final possession, but Arcadia’s defense stiffened on fourth and two from the Apache 16-yard line after stopping senior wide receiver David Lennstrom on a sweep for a six-yard loss.
“A lot of it had to do with us making the proverbial shooting ourselves in the foot,” Burroughs coach Mike Reily said. “Their D line is a very active bunch and I think their defensive line played a more physical game in the second half than they did in the first half.”
Reily went on: “They gave us some fits more in that second half than they did in the first half,” he noted. “I don’t think it’s anything scheme-wise that they had done differently. It’s just us making a mistake here and there which just adds up to lost opportunities and lost points and then stalled drives.”
The potential winning drive began at the Indians 13-yard line and saw senior running back Ben Peters carry the ball 10 times for 45 yards.
Senior wide receiver Charlie Rodriguez caught nine passes for 55 yards, senior wide receiver Devin Harrison made three receptions for 22 yards and senior linebacker Hakeem Hickman recovered a fumble in the first quarter.
“Defensively we made some adjustments and we were able to slow them down a little bit,” Arcadia coach Andrew Policky said of the second half. “They’re tough, physical up front and they run the ball. We made enough plays to get it done.”
The scoring began on the opening series as Burroughs (2-2 and 1-1 in league) used eight plays that covered 62 yards and was capped off when junior quarterback Nathan Piper (18 of 36 for 146 yards) hit senior wide receiver Cerian Baker (team-high 67 yards on five receptions) with a 23-yard strike and 9:13 left in the first quarter for a 7-0 edge.
On Arcadia’s initial series, it was forced to punt which set up the Indians at the Apache 45-yard line.
It took nine plays to make it 10-0 after senior Jonathan Rivas split the uprights on a 33-yard field goal as 3:16 remained in the first period.
With 2:54 left in the same frame, Arcadia (3-2 and 2-0 in league) trimmed the lead to 10-7 on senior quarterback Max Davila’s seven-yard toss to junior tight end Jake Medders.
The Indians made it 16-7 on the ensuing kickoff when sophomore running back Aiden Forrester brought the football back 90 yards.
The Indians darted ahead 23-7 with 9:24 left on the clock in the second quarter when Peters, who ended his night with 41 carries for 190 yards, scored on a two-yard run.
Arcadia shaved the lead to 23-14 when junior wide receiver Rolandiss Whitener returned a punt 58 yards with 5:03 left before the intermission.
When Davila (13 of 27 for 175 yards) drilled Whitener (99 yards on four receptions) on a 50-yard slant that ended a four-play, 65-yard drive, the Apaches (202 total yards) drew within 23-21 with just under 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
“Rolandiss made some big plays for us tonight,” said Policky, who also coached Hoover for two seasons. “Punt for a touchdown. The home run on the slant route for a touchdown. Made a ridiculous circus catch down there on the last drive to get us that last field goal. Unbelievable individual effort by him.”
Arcadia stormed ahead 28-23 when senior running back Andre Lewis (35 yards on nine carries) dotted the end zone on a 17-yard burst with 8:28 showing in the third period.
Arcadia’s cushion was sliced to 28-26 with 4:23 left in the third quarter when Rivas nailed a 23-yard field goal that ended a 49-yard, 13-play march.
Senior Randy Ludwig’s 31-yard field goal attempt with 18 seconds remaining in the third quarter increased Arcadia’s lead to 31-26.
Burroughs will have a Pacific League contest at Glendale’s Moyse Field on Thursday with a 7 p.m. kickoff.