By Rick Assad
Built in 1922 and the home to some of the most iconic and memorable games and moments in college and professional football history, the Rose Bowl hosted Thursday’s Pacific League game between Burroughs High and Pasadena.
Even though there were no fans in the stands and no cheerleaders or bands, there was still excitement in the cool afternoon air before the opening kickoff.
It was close for one quarter, but from that point forward everything went in favor of the Bulldogs, who earned a 48-7 win and after back-to-back victories have now tallied 90 points and allowed 33.
In the first week of the season, Pasadena defeated Burbank 42-26 at the same venue.
Burroughs (1-1 overall and 0-1 in league play) didn’t get on the scoreboard until 11:55 was left in the fourth quarter when senior running back Luke Rogers scored on a one-yard run. Freshman placekicker Brodie Kemp tacked on the extra point.
“He runs so hard and so when he gets opportunities and when we get into a rhythm, it kind of flows from there because of how hard he plays and how hard he runs,” said first-year Burroughs coach Jesse Craven about his star running back.
Craven realizes the necessity to make sure the team is ready to play at a high level.
“Again it’s on us as the coaching staff first to get these guys in position,” he said. “Practice has gotten better. It starts on Monday and then it accumulates on what it looks like on Friday. It’s early for us. We need to try to get better each week.”
This was junior quarterback Jon English’s best drive of the day as he directed the visitors on a 72-yard, nine-play trek.
“It’s a really tough thing. Quarterback’s a hard position to play. He’s doing everything we’re asking him to do,” said Craven of English, who is a running back converted into playing the field general. “He’s a tough kid. We’ve got to find ways to make it easier on him and to put him in better situations. When you get third and long it’s tough for any quarterback to do well in that situation. We need to put him in a better place to succeed.”
Rogers, who was coming off a 202-yard, 30-carry performance in a 30-14 win against host San Marino last week, carried the ball eight of the nine plays and had sparkling runs of 20, 19, 14, 11 and 10 yards.
On the day, Rogers ran for 148 yards and rushed 23 times.
Once Pasadena had a five-touchdown lead, the referee used a running clock with 9:42 remaining in the third quarter.
Burroughs tried using its running game against the Bulldogs, and it worked in spurts.
“If you look at the business model of Burroughs, it’s toughness and discipline and usually that goes through the running game,” Craven said of the identity of the team.
Other than that late tally, the Bulldogs (2-0 overall and 2-0 in league) dominated the action as they led 7-0 heading into the second quarter, bolted ahead 35-0 at halftime before stretching the cushion to 42-0 after three periods.
Pasadena elected to receive the ball in the first half and proceeded from its own 43-yard line.
The Bulldogs needed six plays to make it 7-0 when junior running back Daylon Beasley carried the ball into the end zone from six yards out as 9:38 remained.
Pasadena broke the contest open in the second frame as it produced 28 points.
A four-yard pass from senior quarterback Dante Coronel to senior wide receiver Cameron Taylor made it 14-0 with 8:32 left before the intermission. The drive consumed eight plays and 47 yards.
It became a 21-0 advantage when Beasley added a 35-yard gallop with 5:50 showing before the half.
The three-play excursion was made possible when English (two of 10 for 26 yards) was picked off by senior wide receiver/cornerback Romel Veal at the Burroughs 45-yard line.
After Burroughs was forced to punt from its 44-yard line, the Bulldogs took over at the Pasadena 47.
Two penalties against the Bulldogs pushed the ball back to their 30-yard line and when Coronel found junior wide receiver Mekhi Fox on a screen pass, the speedster raced 70 yards for the touchdown as 3:55 was left in the second quarter and became a 28-0 edge.
The icing on the cake was a 60-yard fumble recovery by junior tight end/defensive end Jamir Mitchell after English lost the ball with 35 seconds left in the opening half.
Pasadena’s cushion was extended to 42-0 on one play and 9:51 showing in the third quarter when Coronel drilled Mitchell with a 46-yard offering.
The game’s final points came after senior quarterback/wide receiver Kevin Serrato scooped up a loose ball on junior running back Ahmad Jolley’s fumble and scooted 75 yards and 7:42 left in the match.
Burroughs will next play host to Muir in a Pacific League encounter at 7 p.m. on April 2 at Memorial Field.