Burroughs Football Easily Handles Crescenta Valley 28-7

Chris Kulikov throws four touchdowns passes and three are nabbed by Jake Scozzola, including two in the second half when the Bears outscored the Falcons 21-7.

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Burroughs senior Chris Kulikov tossed four scoring passes in a 28-7 win over Crescenta Valley. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

By Rick Assad

On a clear and pleasant evening at Memorial Field, the Burroughs High football team scored four times through the air and knocked off Crescenta Valley 28-7 on Friday on Senior Night and with the victory earned a share of the Pacific League title for the first time since 2015.

That glorious season was truly special as the Indians, as they were known then, went 10-2 and 7-0 in the Pacific League.

“They’re [Crescenta Valley] a good team and they gave us everything they had,” Burroughs coach Jesse Craven said. “We played better in the second half. There are some things that we need to clean up, but it was a good win.”

Senior quarterback Chris Kulikov threw for 231 yards, completed 14 of 27 attempts and tossed four scoring passes that included three that senior wide receiver/defensive back Jake Scozzola caught.

“I’ve been playing with Jake since we were seven and eight years old in flag football,” Kulikov said of his speedy and nimble teammate. “He’s like a brother to me. Those three touchdowns were RPO [run pass options]. I know his speed and how he plays.”

On the game, Scozzola accounted for eight receptions and 121 yards along with his scoring catches.

Scozzola’s 15-yard reception with 7:39 left in the first quarter made it 7-0 and capped off an 80-yard, 11-play march.

When Scozzola grabbed a nine-yard toss and 5:26 left in the third frame it handed the Bears (8-1 and 4-0 in league) a 14-7 edge over the Falcons and ended a 13-play, 80-yard jaunt.

Scozzola’s third scoring catch, a 61-yarder, was delivered at 1:05 left in the fourth period and made it a 21-point lead and ended a 50-yard, two-play march.

The Bears had a potent running attack versus the Falcons and won 28-7. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

“We were kind of slower offensively in the first half, but we had a bunch of guys pick it up in the second half and really help get the team back on our feet,” Scozzola said.

Scozzola then named some of the players who were instrumental in the win over the Falcons.

“Santiago Sanchez did amazing and helped us get so many opportunities offensively,” he said. “Chris Kulikov did a great job today and made use of his feet along with his arm and got us out of some tough situations.”

Kulikov’s 43-yard strike with 8:40 remaining in the third quarter to senior wide receiver/defensive back Ethan Hubbell made it 21-7 and finalized a six-play, 61-yard excursion.

Hubbell accounted for 71 yards on three catches and added an interception in the fourth quarter.

It wasn’t just Kulikov (34 yards on seven carries) throwing and receivers making catches as senior running back/linebacker Sanchez ran for 91 yards on 16 carries and had three runs over 10 yards including a 17-yard burst in the fourth quarter.

Senior running back/defensive back Noah Frenkel added 25 yards on eight rushes for the Bears.

The Falcons (6-3 and 2-2 in league) lone touchdown came on the second half kickoff as senior wide receiver/defensive back Bjorn Hermansen took the ball and raced 75 yards for the touchdown with 11:47 remaining in the third period and the game deadlocked at 7-7.

The Falcons had a promising march negated in the first quarter when Burroughs senior wide receiver/defensive back Ryan Hernandez (22 yards on two receptions) took the ball away from junior wide receiver/tight end/linebacker Chandler Thome, who caught a pass from senior quarterback Jacob Deno and raced 37 yards but came up five yards shy of scoring a touchdown.

“I liked the way our team came together in the second half and stepped up,” Hernandez said. “We played great, and the defense stepped up in the big moments. Crescenta Valley came out hard, but we were prepared and defended them well.”

On the next possession, the Bears went 25 yards and saw Scozzola punt the ball away.

“Our defense is just really doing amazing because if they don’t score it makes our job on offense a lot easier,” Scozzola said. “Overall, it a great game and a great way to be named league champions.”

Sophomore Matteo Tarca added four extra points for Burroughs. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

Likewise, the Falcons were forced to punt the ball after a 47-yard drive fizzled at the Bears’ 14-yard line.

Once again, Burroughs couldn’t muster much offense as the team advanced the ball from the Bears’ 14 to the Bears’ 33-yard line and were forced to punt the ball away.

Crescenta Valley’s next series saw the Falcons punt from the Bears 49 but the snap went over Deno’s head and was recovered by senior lineman Sonny Arana at the Falcons’ five-yard line.

The Bears again couldn’t find any traction and had to give up the ball at the Falcons nine-yard line.

Crescenta Valley moved the ball from the nine to the Burroughs 14 but fumbled the ball which was recovered by Sanchez at the 10-yard line and one play later Kulikov took a knee and a one touchdown lead into halftime.

Next Friday at 7 p.m. the “Big Game” will be played at Memorial Field between longtime city rivals Burroughs and Burbank, and it should be filled with fans from both schools.

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