By Rick Assad
Perhaps it was the emotion from the pregame ceremony to honor Cerain Baker, a former wide receiver who was killed along with two others in a tragic car crash this past August that helped carry the Burroughs High football team across the first half of Friday’s Pacific League match with Pasadena.
For 24 minutes, the Bears stood toe-to-toe with the giant that is the Bulldogs, trailing by seven points, but over the final two quarters, Pasadena was able to have enough chunk plays that resulted in a 35-7 win.
“There were four or five plays that made the difference in that game,” Burroughs coach Jesse Craven said. “I don’t think the final score was indicative of the effort our guys played with all night.”
The Bears’ only scoring came with 34.4 seconds left in the opening half when senior quarterback Jon English (nine of 22 for 73 yards and two interceptions) teamed up with senior wide receiver Vinny Harris on a nine-yard pass.
The score consumed 10 plays and trimmed Pasadena’s lead to 14-7 and saw Burroughs (3-4 and 1-2 in league action) drive 70 yards.
On the march, English spotted senior wide receiver Drake Vickers with his only reception, a 26-yarder on third and seven from the Bears’ 33-yard line and English also had an 11-yard run and a 21-yard carry.
English finished the game with 29 yards on seven carries and senior running back Nathan Chhina-Howland added 23 yards on 15 rushes.
Senior wide receiver Elijah Aldana-Pere snared four receptions for 26 yards for the Bears.
Senior running back/defensive back Jacksen Goodley recovered a fumbled punt at the Pasadena 35-yard which set up a 40-yard field goal by sophomore Brodie Kemp that hit the crossbar with 11:48 left in the second period.
The score at the intermission had the Bulldogs ahead 14-7, and considering that Pasadena, which has now won four straight games and has tallied 40 points or more four times, it’s a testament to the Bears’ roughed and sturdy defense.
“I thought our defense played well all night,” Craven said. “They came down with three long throws that changed all the momentum in the game.”
Pasadena’s 21-point outburst in the second half began with 1:56 left in the third quarter as freshman Hype Grand (three of six for 89 yards), the backup quarterback, drilled senior wide receiver Jason Sanford Jr. (115 yards on five catches) with a 65-yard run and catch.
The 60-yard, three-play excursion extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 21-7.
On Pasadena’s next possession, which began at the Burroughs 18-yard line after English was intercepted by senior strong safety/running back Daylon Beasley (77 yards on nine rushes).
The Bulldogs (6-2 and 3-0 in league play) needed just two plays to travel that distance and bolt in front 28-7 which was capped when senior signal-caller Kaden Taylor (seven of 11 for 67 yards) connected with sophomore wide receiver Cameron Mitchell with a 16-yard strike as 12.9 seconds remained in the third frame.
Pasadena’s final touchdown of the night saw Taylor find Sanford with a 14-yard pass as 4:52 was left in the game.
This march began at the Bears’ 35-yard line after English was picked off. The Bulldogs used seven plays to get into the end zone.
“We’re moving on to Muir with still a [CIF Southern Section] slot at stake,” Craven said.
Burroughs’ next league game will be against the Mustangs on Friday evening at 7 p.m.