By Rick Assad
It wasn’t a perfectly played game for the Burroughs High football team, but the end result was a victory and that’s what matters most.
Falling behind early but charging back showed grit and determination as the Bears claimed a 34-21 nonleague win over Hueneme Friday night at Memorial Field.
Junior transfer quarterback Chris Kulikov, who passed for 228 yards and connected on 10 of 25 attempts, contributed a first half touchdown run and tacked on two scoring passes that helped Burroughs take a 24-13 lead at the half.
Senior running back Marcus Manahan chimed in with a second-half touchdown run and junior Brodie Kemp nailed two field goals.
The Bears’ defense shined throughout most of the game and played even better in the second half as they limited the Vikings to one touchdown.
“At the end of the day, it’s good to learn lessons when you’re winning,” Burroughs coach Jesse Craven said of the night. “Valuable reps as the season goes on. We’ve gotta get guys to get ready quickly because the schedule only gets harder from here.”
The Bears will have three road games that includes Harvard-Westlake next week, followed by Crescenta Valley to begin the Pacific League and Pasadena, which is the favorite to capture the league championship.
Craven likes what he sees and believes the team will only get better.
“Overall, I’m happy with the result but as always you can clean up the performance,” he said.
Burroughs roared back and evened it at 7-7 after allowing a Hueneme score as Kulikov capped a six-play, 71-yard drive with a 49-yard dash as 2:57 remained in the first quarter.
The Vikings were forced to punt the ball n their next series and the Bears (4-0) then used a five-play march to move ahead.
Manahan carried the ball three straight times for 31 yards and the capper was Kulikov’s 23-yard pass to senior wide receiver/defensive back Dilan Webster (58 yards on four receptions) with three seconds left in the first quarter for a 14-7 edge.
The Vikings (1-4) sliced the lead to 14-13 when junior quarterback Josiah Sanchez located senior wide receiver/defensive back Robert Barrera with a 16-yard dart as 9:26 remained in the second period.
On the Bears’ next series, Kulikov (76 yards on 12 carries) directed Burroughs (4-0) on an 11-play, 67-yard trek that saw Kemp hammer a 31-yard field goal with 4:56 showing before the half and scurry to a 17-13 lead.
After denying the Vikings on fourth down and 20 from the Hueneme 41, Kulikov completed two passes on the four-play drive that included a 16-yard strike to Webster and a 31-yard scoring bolt to junior wide receiver/defensive back Ryan Hernandez (70 yards on three catches), who also had an interception in the second half, as three minutes were left and saw the Bears leap ahead 24-13.
Much of the second half was field position and sprinkled in was a 23-yard scoring dash from Manahan with 2:10 left on the clock in the fourth quarter that made it 34-21.
“Right now, we’re just taking it week by week, team by team, trying to get one win at a time. Never try to think ahead and never overthink too much,” said Manahan, who finished with 113 yards on 24 carries and also plays linebacker. “Yeah, it’s physically tough. It’s football. But it’s a love that I have for the game. It’s my senior year, so in a couple of months, I won’t have this. So, I just got to enjoy this now and appreciate things I can do.”
The Vikings grabbed a 7-0 lead on their second series of the match as Sanchez (19 of 38 for 144 yards and one interception) found Barrera (85 yards on 11 catches) with a 19-yard strike as 5:35 remained in the initial frame.
Hueneme had a short field after Kemp’s punt was jammed by freshman lineman Matthew Perez as the ball rested at the Bears’ 37 and the drive consumed seven plays.
Hueneme drew within 14-13 when Sanchez unloaded a 16-yard toss to Barrera as 9:26 remained before halftime.
Sanchez’s 25-yard bullet to sophomore wide receiver Ezra Juarez (28 yards on two receptions) sliced the Bears’ advantage to 24-21 as 20.3 seconds were left in the third period.
Junior Josiah Gipson added a two-point conversion run for the Vikings who came within three points.
At this point, the game could have gone either way, but Kulikov stayed calm and cool and took his team from the Burroughs 39-yard line to the Hueneme nine and with 10:09 remaining in the fourth quarter, Kemp unloaded a 26-yard field goal that stretched the lead to 27-21.