By Rick Assad
It seemed something happened when the Burroughs High football team fell behind by a touchdown to host Arcadia on Friday night in the Pacific League opener.
After taking the hit with 5:53 left in the first quarter, across the remainder of the period and all of the second frame, the Bears roared back and scored 28 unanswered points and held on for a 28-19 win.
Burroughs second-year coach Jesse Craven was impressed with what he witnessed against the Apaches.
“Both teams are really good. And they both have really, really good skill players that can score on any play like we saw,” he said. “That team’s come back from 28-7 like three times this year. I’m proud how our guys finished the game.”
The Burroughs’ scoring run began when senior linebacker Gerald Garcia recovered a blocked punt in the end zone with three minutes left in the initial period.
Sophomore kicker Brodie Kemp’s first of four extra points tied it at 7-7.
On Arcadia’s next possession, the Apaches (3-2 and 0-1 in league) moved the ball from their 28-yard line to the Burroughs 38 and failed to make the first down on fourth and six.
The Bears (3-2 and 1-0 in league) began their second drive at the Burroughs 38.
Five plays later, the visitors bolted ahead 14-7 when senior quarterback Jon English (eight of 15 for 117 yards) tossed a 39-yard pass to junior wide receiver Dilan Webster, who made several nifty moves to get away from tacklers as 9:17 remained before halftime.
“We came out in the first half and that was our best offensive performance in the first half we’ve had all year and I’m really happy about that,” Craven admitted. “It was an improvement from last week. And that’s what we’re looking for. Just continuous performance improvement in the game.”
Once again, Burroughs’ defense held firm and forced the Apaches to punt the ball away, this time from the Arcadia 16-yard line as the Bears began their third drive at the Apache 33-yard line.
“Our defense has come up. It’s something to build on,” Craven said. “We’re not perfect. We’re far from it. But it’s been kind of our anchor point.”
A one-yard run by English and an incomplete pass from the southpaw was followed by a 32-yard pass to Webster (three receptions for 77 yards), who once again broke several tackles and raced in for the tally which made it 21-7 and 6:04 left before the intermission.
Burroughs secured a 21-point advantage with 26.1 seconds left in the second period.
English (100 yards on 21 carries) marched the Bears 63 yards on nine plays with the capper English’s two-yard strike to senior wide receiver Elijah Aldana-Pere (40 yards on five catches).
On Arcadia’s second series of the second half, the Apaches drove 59 yards which covered nine plays and after senior quarterback Jonathan Maldonado’s 21-yard strike to senior running back Ty Pierson (89 yards on seven receptions) and 5:06 left on the clock in the third quarter, the hosts pulled within 28-13.
Arcadia proved persistent as it scored with 4:18 left in the game when Maldonado (18 of 28 for 150 yards) hit Pierson with a 36-yard pass and run that closed the gap to 28-19.
The two-point conversion pass by Maldonado failed after being tackled.
The 51-yard, five-play excursion was assisted by a 26-yard punt return from Pierson, who also gained 79 yards on nine carries.
The game’s initial touchdown was tallied when Maldonado (18 yards on 16 rushes) powered into the end zone from a yard out that made it 7-0.
Though Maldonado finished with solid numbers, the 6-foot-5 signal-caller was sacked four times for minus 20 yards.
When Maldonado wasn’t being sacked by the Bears’ swarming defense, he was being pressured and rushed.
Pierson’s 46-yard burst on first down and 10 from the Arcadia 31 was the highlight of the 79-yard, eight-play excursion on the opening drive.
The Bears will play host to Crescenta Valley next Friday at Memorial Field in the second league battle. The game will begin at 7 p.m.