By Rick Assad
It’s taken eight years, but the Burroughs High football team has finally reached the Pacific League mountaintop after beating city rival Burbank 48-13 on Friday night before a near-capacity crowd at Memorial Field.
That squad went 10-2 and 7-0 in the league and also advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division V quarterfinals.
Stars on that team were Steven Hubbell at quarterback, Erick Hernandez at wide receiver/cornerback, Robert Awunganyi at wide receiver/cornerback, Chance Bell at running back, Jesse Chamberlain at offensive lineman and Connor Garden at lineman/linebacker.
That’s a nice group of players and some of the best football players the school has ever produced.
It was only fitting that Hubbell and Bell were on the Burroughs sideline, watching the Bears dominate the action in the 75th renewal of this classic matchup.
The present team that claimed the league banner is now 9-1 and 5-0 in league and have relied heavily on senior quarterback Chris Kulikov and his band of wide receivers that includes seniors Ethan Hubbell, Jake Scozolla and Ryan Hernandez.
“This means so much to me. Chris made it happen,” Hernandez said of the lopsided victory over the Bulldogs which dropped their record to 3-7 and 1-4 in league. “I wanted to give it my all.”
Ethan Hubbell is Steven Hubbell’s cousin and Ryan Hernandez is Erick Hernandez’s brother.
Yes, you could say this game is a family affair.
On the fairly warm night, Hubbell grabbed two passes for 144 yards and hauled in a 68-yard scoring toss as the Bears led 14-0 with 6:59 left in the first quarter.
Hubbell then snatched a 76-yard touchdown reception that capped off a two-play. 77-yard march and extended the lead to 28-6 as 5:28 remained in the second period.
Even though Hernandez didn’t have a catch against the Bulldogs, his presence was still felt because he’s always a threat.
“It means a lot to me to win the league title,” Hernandez said. “This team is something special and it means so much to me since the last time Burroughs won the league was my brother’s senior year.”
Hernandez knows how important the Burroughs-Burbank rivalry game is and wanted to make sure his team stayed even-keeled despite the enormity of the game.
“This Burbank game was very hyped up and I’m glad we came out on top,” he said. “We got our revenge from last year and did our thing.”
Steven Hubbell remembers vividly when Ethan and Ryan Hernandez were youngsters.
“Yeah, it means a lot especially for my cousin being on the team and my best friend’s little brother [Ryan Hernandez] were both ball boys during our games in 2015, so it’s really gone full circle for them and now as alumni/fan, I just enjoy watching them play and most importantly win,” he said.
Indeed, Hubbell and Hernandez have kept it in the family and it’s even more sweet winning the Big Game.