By Rick Assad
Two games have been played by the Burroughs High football team and two wins have been picked up.
On a very warm but comfortable Friday night at Memorial Field, the Bears scored two touchdowns over five seconds and those tallies helped push the hosts to a 27-19 nonleague triumph over St. Genevieve.
With the score knotted at 13-13 and just under four minutes left in the game, quarterback Chris Kulikov marched his team from the Bears’ 24-yard line and capped the four-play march with a 48-yard strike to junior wide receiver/defensive back Ethan Hubbell (164 yards on five receptions) as 3:15 remained.
When junior kicker Brodie Kemp’s extra point sailed over the crossbar, it was 20-13.
“We started off a little slow. I myself need to work better on my reads and trusting my receivers and my line,” said Kulikov, the junior field leader who completed 12 of 21 attempts for 233 yards. “I got a little antsy with the pass protection. But my line did great, and my receivers did great. I did injure my ankle and a couple of other things.”
Kulikov went on: “We persevered. We were losing at the half. We came back in the second half a new team and we just balled out,” he said. “We just kept battling.”
St. Genevieve (0-2), which lost to North [Torrance] 20-6 in its opener, began its next possession at its 20.
On the initial play, freshman signal-caller Mike Wynn dropped back a few steps and unloaded a short pass to his right but junior wide receiver/defensive back Ryan Hernandez (18 yards on one catch) jumped the route and scampered 23 yards for a score as five seconds elapsed.
Kemp’s extra point handed the Bears a 27-13 cushion and it proved just enough offense as St. Genevieve proceeded to march down the field on five plays and 80 yards which culminated in a nine-yard scoring run from senior quarterback Benjamin Macias as 38.1 seconds remained.
St. Genevieve’s only option was an onside kick which failed as the Bears recovered at midfield.
From there, Kulikov (21 yards on seven rushes) took a knee to run out the clock.
“We try to tell them one week at a time. This was a tough game. That’s a really great coached team. That’s a great program,” Burroughs coach Jesse Craven said. “Last year they beat us pretty good. It was good for these guys to weather some storms in that game and to come back and be able to finish it against a really good team. We play a lot of good teams. We are only looking forward to Westchester.”
The Bears (2-0), who began the campaign with a victory over Fillmore, 17-7, took the game’s opening possession and drove from the Burroughs 19-yard line to the St. Genevieve 10.
Three plays on the 11-play drive netted more than 10 yards and they were a 33-yard pass from Kulikov to Hubbell on second down and four from the Burroughs 25.
The second was a 10-yard run on second and nine from the Valiants’ 41 by senior tailback Marcus Manahan (46 yards on 10 carries).
The third was a 16-yard pass from Kulikov to Hubbell on third and 10 from the St. Genevieve 31.
In came Kemp for a 27-yard field goal with 6:47 remaining in the first quarter, but the attempt was batted down.
The first quarter was scoreless until Burroughs led 6-0 when Manahan scored on a two-yard burst as 9:19 was left in the second period and highlighted an eight-play, 45-yard drive.
Two possessions later, the Valiants charged ahead 7-6 on a four-yard scoring pass from Wynn to senior wide receiver/defensive back William Parra as 12 seconds remained before halftime, ending a five-play, 38-yard trek.
On the first drive of the second half, the Valiants started at their 27 and after 12 plays and nearly six minutes ran off the clock, Wynn spotted senior wide receiver/defensive back Danny Diaz with a 22-yard bullet that gave the visitors a 13-6 edge as 5:45 was left on the clock.
The Bears responded in kind as Kulikov orchestrated a five-play, 70-yard march that concluded after the 6-foot-3, 185-pound quarterback found Hubbell with a 55-yard strike as 3:46 remained in the third period. Kemp’s point after was successful and it was tied at 13-13.
While there are still eight regular-season games scheduled for the Bears, it’s possible that this season could be something special, in the same way that Burroughs’ baseball team came from literally nowhere and won the CIF Southern Section Division V championship.
The pieces are in place for the football team and if injuries are held to a minimum, who knows what’s possible?
Of course, only time will tell but it should be an interesting season.
Burroughs travels to Westchester for a nonleague match on Friday night with a 7 p.m. start.