The last three years have not been easy for the Burroughs High football team as the Indians have failed to move on to postseason play, something that has happened since the days of playing in the Foothill League more than a decade ago.
But the Indians plan to change that and get back to the days when being a regular playoff participant was customary. Burroughs qualified for the CIF Southern Section playoffs eight of the first 10 years in the Pacific League after leaving the Foothill following the 2005-2006 school year.
“This team this year is a special group of guys that have come together. We focused on that in the offseason. We tried to build a cohesive group that, one wants to play together and two is having fun doing it,” second-year coach Rand Holdren said. “I think this team is capable of a lot of special things this year. It’s been a joy to coach this group. This staff has put in a lot of hours this offseason. I think it is the best staff in the Pacific League and they are giving their all and the kids have put (the work) in. It has been extremely productive this offseason.”
Burroughs was very young last year when it went 2-8. Thus the Indians have a lot of talent back from that squad.
Senior quarterback Nicholas Garcia (5-foot-10, 171 pounds) takes over the role full time this year after seeing time at the position last year and has greatly improved according to Holdren.
Junior running back Luke Rogers (5-8, 181) returns as the Indians’ main tailback, the same role he played last year.
Garcia will have lots of passing targets. Senior Ellington Simmons (6-3, 196) and sophomore Elijah Aldana-Pere (6-2, 165) offer large targets.
Seniors Aiden Forrester (6-0, 185) and Carson Cardenaz (5-10, 164) will play in the slot and offer quick options. Some may remember that Forrester returned the opening kickoff against rival Burbank for a touchdown last year.
The offensive line is solid led by senior Allen Arriaga (6-3, 246). Caden Cardenaz (5-5, 174) will play center. Sophomore Jose Olivares (6-2, 244), senior Eric Quintero (6-1, 225), senior Michael Pentland (6-4, 195), junior Brandon Sowers (6-3, 240) and senior Henry Diaz (6-1, 218) will fill in for the rest of the line.
Defensively, the Indians are led by Forrester, who will start at safety. Simmons will also see time at safety. Senior John Alajijian (5-8, 140) should hold down a spot in the secondary along with Aldana-Pere. Seniors Clayton Stricker (6-0, 144) and Diego Castellon (5-6, 135) are two more solid defensive backs.
Diaz, who is a captain, will lead the group of linebackers. Carson Cardenaz also figures to be part of the linebacking crew, as will Rogers.
The defensive line will include many of the same players on the offensive line. Oliveros, Pentland, Sowers, and Quintero figure to be the key players rushing the opposing quarterbacks.
Holdren said he knows getting back to the playoffs won’t be easy, but he is optimistic.
“Burbank and CV are always going to be tough. Muir is stacked. You don’t know what is going on at Arcadia. That will be interesting,” Holdren said. “I know Glendale has put in a lot of work this offseason. I like our chances in the league this year. This is going to be a fun year. This is an exciting team to watch.”