By Jim Riggio
Championships aren’t won without a tough fight.
The Burroughs High football team overcame a number of obstacles Friday night when it visited Arcadia in a battle of the two remaining unbeaten teams in the Pacific League.
In the end, the Indians pulled out the 39-34 victory when senior quarterback Steven Hubbell hooked up with senior wide receiver Erick Hernandez on a nine-yard touchdown with 9.3 seconds left to play.
“It’s more fun the way we did it,” Burroughs coach Keith Knoop said of the tight finish. “Better writing, better stories.”
The Indians (6-1 overall, 4-0 in league) were hurt by a number of penalties, some merited, some questionable and some that left others on Burroughs’ sideline shaking their heads.
On the game-winning drive, Burroughs went 94 yards on 13 plays in just 2 minutes, 23 seconds.
“Coach always says ‘sometimes you’re not going to get the ball, but you’ve got to be ready when they call your number‘ and that’s what happened on the last drive,” Hernandez said.
Knoop said he remained confident his team could rally.
“We felt we could do it,” he said. “You have to think you can do it. And to tell you the truth, we don’t have another kicker. Our kicker went out, so we knew we couldn’t kick a field goal. We were going for it no matter what.”
Midway through the fourth quarter with the Indians down 34-33, Burroughs appeared to have taken the lead when the Indians sacked Arcadia senior quarterback Nico Hillier in the end zone.
The officials however did not call it a safety, and instead put the ball on the one-yard line.
“That was a safety, all the way,” Knoop said.
Arcadia (4-3, 3-1 in league) took the lead with nine minutes to play as senior wide receiver Justin Mascorro kicked a 22-yard field goal to make it 34-33.
While the final score was close, Burroughs missed on a few golden opportunities that would have made it a little easier for Knoop and his coaching staff.
Hubbell found senior wide receiver Robert Awunganyi on what appeared to be a 40-yard touchdown pass with 32 seconds left in the third quarter. But it was called back on a penalty.
Burroughs actually led 26-7 at the end of the first quarter, taking advantage of three Arcadia turnovers.
Running back Chance Bell had three touchdowns, two in the first half. The junior finished with 35 carries for 194 yards.
Hubbell was 22 of 35 for 267 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Hubbell and senior wide receiver Cade Borland hooked up on a 14-yard touchdown with 3:13 left in the first quarter to make it 20-7.
Hubbell spotted senior wide receiver Nick Mercado on a seven-yard touchdown pass with 44 seconds left in the first quarter.
Burroughs returns to Memorial Field next Friday when the Indians host Glendale.