By Rick Assad
Because of the coronavirus, the Burroughs High 2020 football season was reduced to five games and it began in March, instead of the fall.
For the Bears, the campaign started with a convincing 30-14 win over host San Marino.
After that victories were not to be found as Burroughs dropped a 48-7 decision to Pasadena at the Rose Bowl and then lost at home to Muir 50-0, before falling to visiting Arcadia 21-14 and the season finale at Memorial Field versus rival Burbank, 25-7.
This season was scheduled to commence on August 27 in a game at Santa Monica, but that game was canceled because one player on the team tested positive for COVID-19, and Jesse Craven, the second-year head coach, expects better results.
Burroughs will kick off the campaign in a game versus St. Genevieve on the road at Valley College on September 3 and then host Westchester on September 10.
The Bears will travel to Hueneme for a battle on September 17 and face off at home against Harvard-Westlake on September 24.
“We are excited to see what this team can do, and how much it can grow over a hopefully full season,” Craven said. “We have a solid core of seniors and some really promising juniors and sophomores who I expect will end up being contributors throughout the season.”
The goal is winning the Pacific League banner, which isn’t going to be easy.
The league begins on October 1 in a match at Arcadia, followed by back-to-back home games versus Crescenta Valley on October 8 and Pasadena on October 15.
The Bears will visit Muir on October 22 and then travel to crosstown rival Burbank for the regular-season finale on October 29.
“The goal right now is to be competitive in every game we play,” said Craven of a team that averaged 11.6 points.
Leading the offense will be junior quarterback Blake Dycus, who is 6-foot-1 and 165 pounds, and behind him will be junior running back Marcus Manahan, who is a tough and rugged runner.
When Dycus throws the football the receivers catching the sphere will be senior Jon English [5-8, 160], who played quarterback last season, senior Elijah Aldana-Pere [6-2, 165], sophomore Ryan Hernandez and junior Dilan Webster.
“We have a group of five or six receivers that we feel confident can compete at a really high level,” Craven said.
Those up front protecting Dycus are senior Jose Oliveros [6-2, 255], senior Stone Slothour, senior Mitchell Markou [5-10, 235], junior Robert Huynh [6-0 270] and junior Anthony Solis-Torrico.
Last season the defense allowed too many yards, too many chunk plays and too many points [31.6 per game].
This season the squad will have to be much improved and they include Oliveros, senior Nate Howard-Chhina, who will also play tight end and senior Joseph Solis [6-1].
The linebackers are senior Gerald Garcia [6-2, 205], Noah Creus, Manahan and senior Angelo Toscano [5-9, 155].
In the secondary, the Bears will employ senior strong safety Drake Vickers [6-2, 170], Aldana-Pere, cornerback Hernandez and sophomore Aiden Berrymen [5-9, 155].
“Our defensive line has a few really strong pieces that have been really consistent throughout our training this summer,” Craven said.
There will be a half dozen players who will need to play well, and he expects to play well if the Bears are going to compete for the league title.
“Some of the players who we hope can be an anchor of our team are Oliveros, Garcia, English, Aldana-Pere, Vickers and Chhina,” Craven said.
The rest of the seniors are Vincent Harris [5-11, 165] who will play receiver and cornerback, Christopher Romero [5-11, 155] at receiver and strong safety, Lucas Dotson, who will toil at receiver and cornerback, Axel Gonzalez at receiver and cornerback, Carlos Andres Rodriguez, who will play running back and cornerback, Joshua Avila at running back and outside linebacker and Jake Guy at running back and middle linebacker.
The other seniors include Jacksen Goodley at wide receiver and free safety, Amine Ben Romdhane, who will play wide receiver and free safety, Giovanni Garza at guard and middle linebacker, William Hubbell, who will play defensive end and Markou at center and defensive tackle.
Junior members of the team are Remi Nalbantian at guard and defensive tackle and Reznor Reeves at wide receiver and cornerback.
The sophomore contingent include Brodie Kemp at kicker, Brody Beebe at guard and defensive tackle and Ethan Hubbell at quarterback and cornerback.