Tag Archives: Burroughs High

Burroughs Football Has Spectacular Second Half, Beats Host Glendale

By Rick Assad

Over the course of a 10-game, regular-season schedule, there’s always some tough teams and a few others that aren’t as difficult.

For the Burroughs High football squad, when facing Glendale, it would fall in the latter category.

On Friday night at Moyse Field in the Pacific League opener, the Indians emerged with a resounding 49-6 win, but the opening half wasn’t as lopsided.

Nicholas Garcia uncorked three scoring passes in a lopsided win over Glendale. (Photo by Steve Garden)

The Nitros, who now have a four-game losing streak, fell behind 20-6 at the intermission, but it could have been much closer if not for a terrific defensive stand.

Burroughs, which is an impressive 5-0 and ranked No. 9 in the CIF Southern Section Division XI, scored 29 unanswered points in the second half to blow the contest wide open.

“Glendale played with a ton of passion and a ton of heart and I respect what Cary Harris is dong with that program,” Burroughs second-year coach Rand Holdren said. “They pushed us in the first half and we put it together and played a ballgame.”

Holdren said the week of practice leading up to Friday’s match could have been better.

Garcia hands off to Jon English, who had a rushing score and a receiving touchdown. (Photo by Steve Garden)

“We’ve got to work on executing,” he said. “That’s been our theme all year. We got a little lethargic in practice this week. We’ve put together a lot of good weeks in a row. We’ve got to learn how to win.”

After punting on its initial series, Burroughs had the ball after a Glendale fumble. It took one play for senior wide receiver Aiden Forrester to race 50 yards with 9:07 on the clock for a 7-0 lead.

“Our practice weren’t the best and you practice how you play,” said Forrester, who had 72 yards on two carries and one catch for 87 yards. “We didn’t do well in practice. In the second half, we were able to pull it together for that, even though score-wise, we won the first half, they really won the first half because we were shooting ourselves in the foot with mistakes. I feel like in the second half, we came out and executed.”

Burroughs coach Rand Holdren addresses the team during a time out. (Steve Garden)

The Nitros, who fumbled five times, then fumbled on their next possession. This miscue was turned into a 15-yard burst by sophomore running back Jon English (game-best 113 yards on 13 carries) that made it 13-0 with 5:35 remaining in the first quarter.

The Indians (5-0 and 1-0 in league), who had two fumbles, extended their advantage to 20-0 when senior quarterback Nicholas Garcia (six of 14 for 180 yards) drove his team from the Burroughs one-yard line and capped the march with an 87-yard strike to Forrester as 5:54 remained in the second half.

The Nitros (99 total net yards) cut the deficit to 20-6 when junior quarterback Juan Estrada (five of 12 for 66 yards) hit senior wide receiver Ethan Aldrete (two receptions for 46 yards) with a 31-yard toss as four seconds remained in the period.

Lineman Isaac Reyes (No. 66) celebrates with his teammates after a key play against the Nitros. (Photo by Steve Garden)

Two possessions earlier, Glendale (1-4 and 0-1 in league) forced a Burroughs fumble at the Indians’ 48-yard line and marched to the one before Estrada was turned away on fourth down.

Early in the third period and the Nitros punting at their seven-yard line, the ball was snapped way over senior Edgar Ovasapyian’s head, who picked up the ball, but bobbled it.

Forrester, a defensive back, pounced on the ball and after Garcia (four rushes for 13 yards) ran the two-point conversion into the end zone, the Indians were ahead 28-6 with 9:22 left.

The next time Glendale had the ball, it was forced to punt as Burroughs (427 total yards) began its next possession at midfield.

It required just one play to score as Garcia tossed a well-designed screen pass to English, who raced 50 yards as 7:19 remained in the third period for a 35-6 edge.

After yet another Glendale punt, the Indians forged a 42-6 cushion when Garcia drilled sophomore wide receiver Vincent Harris with a 13-yard strike for his only catch as 1:37 was left before heading to the fourth quarter.

The Indians secured another Glendale fumble which was turned into a score as sophomore running back Carlos Andres Rodriguez (41 yards on 10 carries) found the end zone on a one-yard plunge, capping a five-play, 34-yard drive.

“Our main focus was to come out and execute and whatever the coach called, we were going to execute,” said senior offensive lineman Caden Cardenaz. “We ended up running a little bit more tonight and that’s what we did and we just executed.”

How can every player do better? “I watch film and I hope to communicate with other linemen and just work together to fix that up [mistakes] and make sure that we got the right calls so we know what we’re doing, so that we’re all on the same page, so that we can execute,” Cardenaz said.

The next league game will be Friday at 7 p.m. when Burroughs plays host to undefeated Crescenta Valley.

Burroughs Remains Undefeated After 38-21 Triumph Over Harvard-Westlake

By Rick Assad

Each week there has been a hurdle for the Burroughs High football team to leap over and each week it’s ended with success.

On Friday night against Harvard-Westlake at Ted Slavin Field on the Studio City campus, the Indians used a 25-point outburst and eventually held off the Wolverines 38-21 in a nonleague game.

Quarterback Nicholas Garcia flips the ball to running back Jon English. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Harvard-Westlake came out early and took command 7-0, only to see Burroughs rally and tally four straight touchdowns.

A season ago, the Wolverines came into Memorial Field and claimed a 24-point victory over the Indians.

The tandem of senior quarterback Nicholas Garcia and senior wide receiver Carson Cardenaz tied it at 7-7 with 6:30 left in the opening quarter when Garcia put together a 73-yard, seven-play march that culminated in a five-yard toss.

“We play everyone better every week throughout the season and everyone gets better,” said Garcia, who passed for 272 yards and connected on 23 of 35 attempts with one interception of the first four teams the Indians have faced. “When we get Glendale, we’re going to get all their sophomores. Once we get CV [Crescenta Valley], everything’s going to get real quick.”

It was physical on both sides of the line of scrimmage. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

A 17-yard strike to Cardenaz from Garcia made it 13-7 with 3:55 remaining in the initial period that capped a 53-yard, eight-play trek.

In short order the Indians’ advantage became 19-7 when Garcia drilled his favorite target, Cardenez (163 yards on 12  receptions) with a 24-yard pass as 7:57 was left in the second quarter, concluding a 43-yard, three-play drive.

With 5:47 showing before halftime, Burroughs (4-0) used a 34-yard, four-play drive and bolted ahead 25-7 after Garcia hit senior wide receiver Aiden Forrester (59 yards on six catches with an eight-yard toss.

“I just want to push my team forward. I want to get them as far as they can go,” said sophomore wide receiver John Alajijian, who snared three receptions for 45 yards. “Where ever the coaches need me. I can play all four receiver spots. I’m like a utility guy.”

Nicholas Garcia is a nifty runner and very elusive. The senior has scored a rushing touchdown in every game this season. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

After taking a 7-0 lead on the game’s first series when junior quarterback Evan Roderick (13 of 27 for 212 yards with one pick) drilled junior tight end Jack Weisskopf with a three-yard pass and 11:14 left, the Wolverines (1-3) shaved the advantage to 25-14 when Roderick hit sophomore wide receiver Jason Thompson (81 yards on six receptions) with an eight-yard toss and 1:53 left before the break.

Harvard-Westlake’s first scoring drive began at its 48-yard line and consumed three plays, while the second touchdown was a 10-play, 59-yard march.

A 65-yard pass play from Roderick to senior wide receiver Brendan Kang (87 yards on four catches) trimmed the Burroughs’ lead to 25-21 with no time left in the third quarter and took two plays.

At this juncture and only 12 minutes left in the game, the Indians (501 total net yards) knew they were in for a battle and responded by scoring two touchdowns in the final quarter.

With the ball resting at the Burroughs 35-yard line, Garcia methodically moved the team down field.

The key gain was Garcia’s 24-yard scamper that placed the football at the Harvard-Westlake 24-yard line.

Three plays later, Garcia (108 yards on 11 carries) ended the seven-play excursion with a 20-yard burst and 9:13 left that made it 31-21.

The Indians’ lead was extended to 38-21 when sophomore running back Jon English (110 yards on 24 carries) waltzed into the end zone on a nine-yard carry and 3:31 left, which ended any hope Harvard-Westlake (355 total yards) would rally.

Burroughs will begin its Pacific League schedule next Friday night at 7 p.m. with a game against Glendale at Moyse Field.

Burroughs Girls Tennis Much Improved, But Lose To Glendale, 12-6

By Rick Assad

Often times a tennis match or even a scrimmage can be very useful because it allows an individual to know just what to expect the next time they’re on the court.

Entering Tuesday’s Pacific League girls’ tennis match, Burroughs High hadn’t played in a match or scrimmage, while Glendale notched two nonleague victories.

The Indians’ No. 1 doubles player, senior Suzy Kim, is about to serve in a match against Glendale. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

This clearly helped the visiting Nitros settle down and play with confidence and at a high level as they grabbed six points in singles and doubles action and came away with a 12-6 victory.

“If we would have had some practices, I think they would have been a little more into it,” said longtime Burroughs coach Roy Bernhardt of his team. “They were nervous. I’ve got ninth graders and they were nervous.”

Bernhardt said he was satisfied with two of his three doubles teams.

“I was very pleased with my No. 1 doubles and my No. 3 doubles was okay,” he noted. “But my No. 2 doubles, what happened there?”

Bernhardt added: “We were supposed to play Saugus and I think Hart and Alhambra and it just didn’t come off,” he pointed out.

Junior Celine Khachiki, the No. 1 singles player for the Nitros, went 6-1, 6-0, 6-0.

The Indians are a young team, but are steadily improving. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I was definitely expecting closer set scores,” Khachiki said of the improved Burroughs squad. “We’ve played well these other past two years so we want to continue our reputation. I don’t think there’s a limit to how well we can play so hopefully we continue to improve.”

Khachiki continued. “I think we’re playing a lot more competitive each match and we’re learning from each match,” she said.

Tom Gossard is Glendale’s coach and said in his opinion, Khachiki is the team’s Most Valuable Player the last two years.

“It gives me a lot of confidence, but it’s also a lot of pressure to uphold,” she said of Gossard’s assertion. “I just try to play my game each time and not worry about what’s going on off the court.”

Khachiki’s opponents were No. 1 sophomore Isabella Harris-Bermudez, No. 2 sophomore Valerie Lentine (substitute) and No. 3 freshman Elane Shane.

Alice Weber is a senior and a leader for the Indians. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Three played at No. 2 for Glendale, which captured the only girls’ title in the school’s long history, a CIF Southern Section Division IV championship in 2017, and they included junior Annette Petrosyan, senior Sara Rahimi and junior Suzanna Poghosyan.

Only Rahimi managed to pull out a win, 6-1, over Harris-Bermudez, while sophomore Lauren Pieri prevailed 6-1 over Petrosyan and Shane won 6-1 against Poghosyan.

At No. 3 for Glendale was sophomore Ani Harutyunyan, who defeated Harris-Bermudez 6-3 and Shane 6-1, while Pieri was victorious 6-3.

Glendale’s No. 1 doubles tandem of senior Nicole Avakian and junior Karen “Momo” Guzman won two points after beating No. 2 sophomore Vanessa Muga and junior Keili Brahms 6-2 and No. 3 Isabella Munguia and Kaitlyn Glaim 6-2.

The Indians No. 1 team of senior Alice Weber and senior Suzy Kim prevailed 7-6 (7-3) over Avakian/Guzman.

At No. 2 for Glendale, senior Karen Enriquez and junior Eleen Garemanian garnered two points by beating Muga/Brahms 6-0 and Munguia/Glaim 6-4, while Weber/Kim knocked off Avakian/Guzman 6-2.

Glendale’s No. 3 squad of senior Janet Louie and senior Anna Sarookhanian nabbed two points as they held off Muga/Brahms 6-4 and Munguia/Glaim 6-4, while Weber/Kim won 6-0.

Burroughs Still Unblemished After Beating Host Kennedy 41-24

By Rick Assad

Quick starts by the offense and a ferocious defense have helped the Burroughs High football team get early leads and remain undefeated through three games, including Thursday night’s 41-24 nonleague victory over Kennedy at Handel Stadium on the campus of Western High in Anaheim.

This was the first road game for the Indians, who came in having scored 105 points while allowing 30.

“We had to play the second half. So that was new,” said Burroughs coach Rand Holdren of being challenged over the last 24 minutes. “But we’re like everybody in the state of California, we’re thin. We’ve got some guys banged up. They need to get healthy. It all boils down to efficiency. We need that perfect game. We need to play and execute at the level that we can. We show flashes of it.”

Burroughs senior quarterback Nicholas Garcia had four scoring passes and a pair of rushing scores in Thursday’s 41-24 win over host Kennedy. (Photo by Steve Garden)

The Indians came out and found the end zone on their first series as senior quarterback Nicholas Garcia capped the 80-yard, 12-play trek with a 15-yard strike on fourth and goal to senior wide receiver Carson Cardenaz, who grabbed three scoring passes, as 6:46 remained in the opening quarter.

Garcia finished his work by throwing four touchdown passes and adding two rushing scores, but was intercepted twice, the first time he has been picked off this season.

The Fighting Irish (1-2) cut the lead to four points on a 35-yard field goal with 3:23 left on the clock in the initial period.

Garcia’s second scoring toss went to Cardenaz (85 yards on six receptions) and covered 14 yards as the Indians’ lead became 14-3 and 1:59 remaining in the second quarter.

The five-play drive began after junior wide receiver/cornerback John Alajijian recovered a fumble at the Kennedy 45-yard line.

Sophomore running back Jon English had a solid outing for the Indians. (Photo by Steve Garden)

Burroughs (3-0) spurted ahead by 18 points just before halftime when Garcia burrowed into the end zone from one yard out.

This march commenced at the Burroughs 45-yard line and saw the Indians use only four plays.

Kennedy (299 total net yards) then drew within 21-10 when Garcia (20 of 40 for 264 yards) was intercepted by junior defensive lineman Jequen Bedgood, who raced eight yards for the score with 11:32 left in the third quarter.

The Indians took control 28-10 when Garcia orchestrated a 12-play, 72-yard drive and eventually drilled Cardenaz on a five-yard strike and 7:12 showing in the third period.

“Pressure-wise, I don’t feel like it’s that bad,” said Cardenaz of trying to improve each week. “Coaches are hammering us and hammering us. That’s the only way we’re going to get better. Every week we’re going to come out in practice and try harder. As the weeks go on, we do have to get better. I feel like our team’s got this. We’ve got the confidence. Just focus and grind it.”

Cardenaz didn’t play football last season. Why did he return to the team this season? “I decided to come back because last year, when I took it off, I came to the games, of course to support my guys,” he said. “It was kind of hard watching them play without me. I realized how much I missed the games. I focused on hoops, and then I decided to come back.”

Junior Michael Pentland makes the tackle. (Photo by Steve Garden)

Burroughs extended its lead to 34-10 when Garcia’s four-yard laser found Alajijian with 2:44 left on the ticker in the same stanza.

The Indians (448 total yards) capped their offensive output for the evening with a one-yard keeper from Garcia and 1:38 remaining in the game on a 40-yard march that consumed six plays as the advantage became 41-10.

Kennedy rallied for two scores in the fourth quarter when senior field general Ryan Cathcart zig-zaged his way 49 yards to make it 41-17 as 10:05 was left.

Cathcart’s 65-yard pass to senior wide receiver Aidan Frieson with 5:40 left made it a 17-point deficit.

Burroughs will once again be on the road next week for a nonleague match on Friday against Harvard-Westlake.

Burroughs Football Waltzes Past Victor Valley, 46-12

By Rick Assad

 

One season ago, Luke Rogers was the go-to running back for the Burroughs High football team.

Older and wiser, Rogers was expected to fill in where he left off in 2019, but this will have to wait after he sustained a fairly serious knee injury in last week’s lopsided win over Hueneme.

Jon English had 147 yards and two touchdowns for Burroughs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Luckily, Burroughs has enough talent at running back to lessen the loss of Rogers as senior Adrian Leon and sophomore Jon English both contributed mightily and helped the Indians knock off Victor Valley 46-12 in a nonleague game on Friday night at Memorial Field.

“I liked that different guys are stepping up,” Burroughs second-year coach Rand Holdren said. “We had Jon English step up. We lost Luke Rogers for the season, we got a new running back [Leon] and he steps in.”

Holdren went on: “Defensively we’re swarming and we’re creating turnovers,” he said. “Efficiency is what we strive for. That is the goal. I believe Bill Walsh in his book said the score will take care of itself. We’ve got to be efficient. I want these guys to be the best team they can be. And they’re starting to realize they can be a good team.”

The Indians’ defense is like a swarm of bees. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Rogers, a junior, was told by several doctors that the injury could take between eight and 14 weeks, but he still hopes to contribute.

“As far as the regular season goes, it might be a stretch,” Rogers said of returning over the next eight weeks. “I’m striving to play as many games as possible.”

This would mean the CIF Southern Section playoffs, and while the Pacific League won’t start until September 20 at Glendale, the Indians are undefeated after two games, so maybe there is a chance Rogers will play.

Though disappointed, Rogers feels fine. “I feel good,” he said. “It’s tough. Putting so much preparation and hope into this year. If it comes down to not playing this year, at least I have my senior year.”

Covering two nonleague games, Burroughs has allowed 30 points. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Leon (102 yards on 16 carries) ran for 75 yards on 12 rushes in the first half as the Indians bolted to a 33-6 cushion at the intermission and Leon’s five-yard spurt with 9:51 left in the initial quarter made it 7-0 as the drive began at the Jackrabbits’ 34-yard line and consumed five plays.

English (game-high 147 yards on 13 carries) had 55 yards in the first half and scored on a nine-yard run with 2:40 remaining in the initial frame as the Indians (2-0) surged ahead 14-0 as the hosts needed eight plays to trek 65 yards.

When English rattled off a dazzling 60-yard run on the first play of the third quarter, the Indians were in command 40-6.

“I’m very pumped about this game, but there’s much more to come,” said English, who added 60 yards on two receptions. “I just want to make the most of it so I came out and did what I did. Our whole team executed and that’s why I got the touchdowns.”

Victor Valley quarterback Isaiah Padilla scored two rushing touchdowns, but the indians made it a long night. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

English then added: “One game at a time. One win at a time,” he said. “I’m just going to do what the coach tells me.”

Senior quarterback Nicholas Garcia had another stellar outing after tossing three touchdown passes and adding a rushing score.

Garcia, who has eight scoring passes, finished by connecting on 10 of 23 attempts for 201 yards and wasn’t intercepted.

Garcia’s 29-yard strike to junior wide receiver John Alajijian (33 yards on two receptions) and 10:49 left in the second quarter made it 20-0 and finalized a four-play, 37-yard drive and was made possible after a pick from sophomore defensive back Christopher Romano.

A four-yard laser from Garcia to Alajijian with 30.4 seconds left in the second quarter, capped a 51-yard, eight-play march that catapulted the Indians ahead 33-6.

A one-yard sneak from Garcia and 6:16 remaining in the opening half gave the Indians (466 total net yards) a 27-0 edge as he orchestrated a 69-yard, five-play march.

When Garcia spotted senior wide receiver Ellington Simmons for his only reception, a 22-yard pass and 5:54 left in the fourth period, Burroughs pushed ahead 46-6, ending a 90-yard, 11-play drive.

Victor Valley (1-1) was stubborn and came within 27-6 with 4:06 remaining in the first half as senior signal-caller Isaiah Padilla (31 yards on eight carries and eight of 22 for 101 yards and one pick) scored on a three-yard burst as the Jackrabbits (249 total yards) began the five-play drive at their 44-yard line.

Padilla’s one-yard sneak on the game’s final play, capped a 76-yard, seven-play march and trimmed the lead to 34 points.

The next time Burroughs plays will be Thursday at 7 p.m. on the road against Kennedy [La Palma] in Orange County.

Burroughs, Burbank Boys Water Polo Ready For Action

By Rick Assad

 

There’s a saying that it’s hard getting to the top, but it’s even more difficult staying there.

This axiom doesn’t necessarily apply to the Burroughs High boys’ water polo team because while it hasn’t always been at the very top of the Pacific League standings, the Indians have usually been in the top portion.

Looking at rival Burbank’s boys’ water polo program, the same can’t be said, but then again, matters can and do change.

If practice makes perfect, then the Burbank High boys’ water polo team is headed in the right direction. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

This season, Burroughs will pay a visit to Burbank’s pool on October 23.

Another important date is the league preliminaries which take place at the Arcadia pool on October 29.

The league finals is at the same site, but will be held October 31.

The CIF Southern Section playoffs will be contested on November 5, 7, 9, 12 and 16.

Coach Jacob Cook has built and sustained an excellent program at Burroughs and this year’s edition should at least contend for the top spot in the league.

“I have high expectations for the season,” Cook said. “We have a talented group this year with a lot of talent and potential. I’m excited to see what we can do.”

Last year the Indians went 13-10 overall and 5-4 in league action, but lost in the CIF first round.

Burroughs, shown in a 2018 match against rival Burbank, look to better its 5-4 record in the Pacific League. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The projected starters for Burroughs will be senior goalie Arthur Eldridge, senior attacker Chet Conlan, senior attacker Tobey Ho, senior center Matthew Mucha, senior utility Vahagan Sahakyan, junior utility Ryan Jaramillo and sophomore utility Xavier Turla.

Here are the rest of the Burroughs upperclassmen and they include Jon Paul De Fabry, David Karagezyan, Nathan Magdaleno and Aaron Meza.

The juniors on the team are Fox Melo, Miguel Martinez and Alex Lewin, while sophomore Andrew Chapman and freshman Ryan Rolando are also on the squad.

Mike Lucero is the Burbank Aquatics Director and the first-year coach for the boys’ and girls’ water polo teams.

Lucero has been around and was the assistant swim coach for the Burbank boys’ and girls’ programs the last two years.

Mike Lucero is in his first season as the Burbank boys’ and girls’ water polo coach. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In order to compete with the better teams in the league like Hoover, Glendale and Crescenta Valley, Lucero said it’s important to get faster in the water.

“We’re working on having some speed work,” Lucero said. “You need speed to keep up with teams like Crescenta Valley.”

Lucero then added: “I want to see the water polo team be a year-round program and the players stay with their conditioning. I want to see more team unity,” he said.

Lucero also wants to build a program that will be viable and contend. “Some of these club programs, major swim programs, these swimmers are starting at nine, 10, 11,” he said. “Here they’re coming in at 14. And for the first time they’re learning the basics of water polo.”

Burbank is coming off a campaign in which it went 8-10, failed to make the postseason and doesn’t have many seniors, but it does have players familiar with each other.

A four-year starter and a 2018 Burbank graduate, Varuzhan Bilbulyan is the Bulldogs’ assistant water polo coach.

The Indians, shown in a match versus the Bulldogs, have the talent to do well overall and in the Pacific League. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“This year we see a lot of young athletes that we have on both varsity and JV contributing a lot of hard work and we see a lot more attentiveness and a bigger drive than in past years to get better and improve themselves,” Bilbulyan said. “We see a very good attitude and very good behavior. Everybody is trying their best and everyone is getting better day by day.”

Bilbuyan went on: “This year’s powerhouses are probably going to be Hoover. They always have a lot of club players,” he said. “Glendale is also going to be good and they have club players. CV’s been good the last couple of years. We can finish in the top five, but our goal is top four so that we’re guaranteed to make the playoffs.”

Seven seniors populate the squad and they include driver Hakop Pilavjyan, driver Sahak Khobiarian, driver Ashot Keshishyan, driver Artush Hovannisyan, driver Edward Bowman, driver Kourosh Dolatshahi and goalie Sarkis Terpetrossyan.

There are four juniors and they are driver Brian Di Mascio, driver Grigor Gasabian, driver Michael Mehserdjian and setter Anthony Sarafian.

Five sophomores are on the team and they include driver Avo Barsegyan, driver Pavel Tantchev, driver Jonathan Agazaryan, setter Robert Kharazyan and goalie Narek Galamdaryan.

Seryozha Soghomonyan is also on the team after being promoted to the varsity at the end of July.

Burbank, Burroughs Girls Volleyball Poised For Success

By Rick Assad

 

Getting to and then advancing deep into the CIF Southern Section playoffs is always a top priority for any coach.

This being the case, it’s crucial for the team to do extremely well in the Pacific League because this is how the selection committee places seeds the squads in the postseason.

So for the Burroughs High and Burbank girls’ volleyball teams, each wants to finish as high as possible in the league standings.

The Burbank girls volleyball team in a recent practice. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Indians, who are coming off a 27-8 overall season and a 13-1 mark in league for a share of the title, always have high expectations.

Longtime Burroughs Coach Edwin Real is optimistic.

“We’re expecting to be competitive,” he said of the league season. “We have some kids who are somewhat younger and we lost several really good players to graduation and we’re trying to get better in those positions.”

A season ago, the Indians advanced to the Division III quarterfinals where they lost to eventual champion Village Christian in five tough sets.

This campaign, Burroughs is 2-1, having beaten Downey and Harvard-Westlake, but losing in five sets to Cypress, in tournament matches, which required three sets in order to determine a winner and not the customary two.

The Indians will pay a visit to Burbank on September 24 and then host the rival Bulldogs on October 17.

Spearheading the Indians will be senior outside hitter Lydia Grote, who has verbally committed to play volleyball for the University of California at Berkeley.

Grote’s older sister, Marin, is a sophomore on the University of Washington women’s volleyball team, and before that was a key cog and four-year starter for Burroughs.

Burroughs, which lost to Village Christian in a CIF quarterfinal match in 2018, is going to be one of the favorites to win the Pacific League. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Also key for the Indians will be junior defensive specialist Lily Rogers, who will be a floor leader and an important contributor.

Junior outside hitter Catie Virtue will also be asked to lead the troops, while senior middle blocker Camila Sanchez-Tellez as well as two sophomores, setter Meagan Lynch and defensive specialist Charlotte Hobson, will be vital if Burroughs is to go far, according to Real.

There are several other upperclassmen who will also have a significant hand in the team’s success and they are opposite hitter Joelle Burras, setter Milana Abrahamian and defensive specialist Natalie Hooper.

The rest of the team includes junior middle blocker Emily Caneday, junior outside hitter Camila Palma, junior outside hitter Mariah Bowman and junior defensive specialist Reese Coblentz.

Being in tip-top shape is always a key to winning. Here the Bulldog girls’ volleyball team is racing down the floor. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Rounding out the Indians’ squad will be sophomore defensive specialist Kylie Colton and middle blocker Bella Lomet.

This is Karl Rojo’s fifth season as Burbank’s coach and in the four previous campaigns, saw his squad make the postseason.

“I believe it’s going to be a good season, almost similar to the one before and maybe better than that,” Rojo said. “With the core that we have, they’re pretty experienced and with the young core that we have, they’re learning a lot from the experienced players. It’s working out pretty fine. They’re working hard each day and that’s all I can ask from them.”

Rojo then added: “They’re improving. It could be small improvement. It could be big improvement, but they’re improving,” he said.

Rojo said he likes the attitude of this squad. “They’re all good teammates towards each other,” he said. “But I think it’s drama-free. Not as much drama. It’s going to be positive.”

Burbank posted a 14-16 record and a 9-5 mark in league, but Rojo would like to see definite improvement on those numbers.

Lydia Grote, a senior outside hitter for the Indians, will be one of many weapons. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I see us making a big statement in the Pacific League,” he said. “I think we should finish in the top three. But we have a lot of competitive teams. I think we’ll proceed past the first round this year.”

There is enough talent to reach the playoffs according to Rojo and several mainstays will have to play well.

The Bulldogs are 1-3 this season with a sweep over visiting Chatsworth and losses to visiting Providence in four sets, a four-game loss at Saugus and a three-set defeat at Calabasas.

Burbank was swept over three games in a Division IV wildcard match in 2018 against host Calabasas.

Burbank’s top-shelf players are senior outside hitter Katie Treadway, senior libero/defensive specialist Morgan Bolger, senior middle blocker Leah Tawil, senior setter Ashley Eskander, junior middle blocker Bianca Hudson and junior libero Mikayla Kim.

Also expected to contribute for the Bulldogs will be senior setter Kassandra Gonzalez, senior middle blocker/opposite hitter Ava Danesh, senior outside hitter Brandice Hibbard and senior opposite hitter/setter Andrea Paun.

The remainder of the team includes junior opposite hitter Tamryn Betts, sophomore outside hitter Alaina Melgar and sophomore middle blocker/opposite hitter Gabriella Damroze.

Burroughs Begins Season With 59-18 Win Over Visiting Hueneme

By Rick Assad

 

As season openers go, this wasn’t perfect, but it was more than satisfactory as the Burroughs High football team turned away Hueneme 59-18 in a nonleague match at Memorial Field on Thursday.

Much of the night belonged to quarterback Nicholas Garcia, who passed for five touchdowns and ran for another.

The Indians essentially did what they wanted in the opening half as they forged ahead 46-12 at the intermission, while the second half was played with a running clock.

The Indians’ running game was potent against the Vikings. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

A season ago, the Indians went 2-8 with their only win on the field coming against Glendale and the other victory was a forfeit by Hoover, which didn’t field a team over the latter portion of the season after some of its players were involved in an on-campus fight.

The Tornadoes won’t have a football team for two seasons.

So this was a good way to commence the season even if it was against a short-handed Vikings bunch that dressed about 20 players, with many playing offense and defense, which is truly tough.

“It being the first game, there was a lot of first-game issues at all phases and that’s the stuff that we need to clean up,” second-year Burroughs coach Rand Holdren said. “We are still growing  We are still learning all phases, and I really like this team. We have a lot of weapons. We need to focus on using them properly and not getting ahead of ourselves. As games go on, we’re going to use that and being efficient.”

What is Holdren’s overall goal for the team? “We want to be the best we can be,” he noted. “That means to be the best football players we can be. I’m more concerned with us reaching our full potential.”

Garcia sparkled in the opening half when he connected on 12 of 22 attempts for 182 yards with four scoring passes.

Burroughs accounted for five passing touchdowns in a blasting of Hueneme. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In short order, the Indians (551 total net yards) moved ahead 6-0 on their initial possession as Garcia drove the squad 74 yards on eight plays, capping the excursion with a 10-yard strike to senior wide receiver Carson Cardenaz (45 yards on four receptions) as 9:45 remained in the initial quarter.

“We just executed. We have a lot of things to work on, on offense, especially,” said Garcia, a senior who passed for 205 yards while hitting 14 of 24. “It was a good team win. Our guys hustled and played with a lot of heart.”

Garcia went on: “We’re taking it one practice at a time. If we do good in the practice, that’s a goal we accomplished,” he said. “If it’s a sloppy practice, if we’re not executing, guys messing around, whatever, it’s not a great practice. So we come out the next day and take it day by day.”

Burroughs recovered a pooch kick at the Viking 45 and two plays later, bolted ahead 13-0 when Garcia found Cardenaz with a 22-yard strike as 8:52 was left.

After forcing a Vikings punt, Garcia guided the Indians 12 plays while covering 75 yards as junior running back Luke Rogers (32 yards on eight carries) scored from four yards with 3:53 remaining for a 19-0 edge.

For the most part, the Burroughs’ defense kept Hueneme quarterback Ethan Neos in check. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

With 1:56 left in the first quarter, Garcia (65 yards on six rushes) was off to the races as he bolted 53 yards down the left sideline to make it 26-6.

Garcia’s 16-yard bullet to two-way threat, senior wide receiver/defensive back Aiden Forrester capped an eight-play, 68-yard march as the Indians’ lead became 33-12.

“I love playing defense. That’s super fun for me. I actually started off as a sophomore catching kick returns for varsity. Now that I’m on offense, defense and kick return, I’m going to try and juggle it all without being super gassed during the game because I don’t want to let my teammates down and I don’t want to mess up because I’m tired. I want to continue doing everything.”

Forrester, who had one interception against Hueneme, said the team should be improved.

“I think we’re definitely going to be better,” he said. “I wouldn’t say go all the way. I think if we play together as a team, like we did tonight, we’re going to be better.”

It’s a fight for the football. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

What do the Indians need to do in order to improve?

“They’re little mistakes and that we’re there right now, but we need to put in a little more effort and then practice on the details and then we’ll be good,” Forrester said.

The next time Burroughs had the ball, Forrester (114 yards on three carries and 57 yards on three catches) needed one play to burst through for an 83-yard score as 9:16 remained in the second quarter and the Indians’ advantage was extended to 39-12.

When Garcia’s 20-yard aerial found Forrester with 4:56 was left before the half, the Indians, who marched 49 yards and consumed six plays, held a 46-12 edge.

The second half began as the opening half did, with a touchdown as Garcia rifled a 23-yard toss to sophomore wide receiver Elijah Aldana-Pere (55 yards on four receptions) as 9:14 remained in the third quarter as the Indians shuffled ahead 52-12.

Senior running back Adrian Leon (52 yards on seven rushes) scored the Indians’ final touchdown, a 15-yard tally with 9:14 left in the fourth period as Burroughs had a 47-point cushion.

Hueneme junior quarterback Ethan Neos (nine of 20 for 101 yards and one interception) had three scoring passes with two landing into the hands of junior wide receiver Manuel Ortiz (50 yards on four receptions) that covered 10 yards and came with 2:15 left in the first quarter that cut the lead to 26-6 and a 22-yard bomb with 3:45 showing in the fourth period that sliced the edge to 59-18.

Neos also proved to be a slick and steady ball-carrier as he accounted for 58 yards on 10 carries for the Vikings (185 total yards).

The Indians will host Victor Valley next Friday night at Memorial Field with a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Kyle Nicol Prepares For Next Step At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

By Rick Assad
 
 

 

It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that baseball’s toughest position is being behind home plate.

A catcher’s job requires catlike quickness to step from the plate and throw the ball to second base on a steal attempt, blocking balls that are in the dirt, handling balls that are tipped off the bat, physical strength because you are squatting for nine innings, seeing the game as it develops and perhaps most important of all, the ability to call for the correct pitches and location.

The next most difficult position to master is shortstop, which also requires being quick-footed and quick-handed with a cannon-like throwing arm when the ball is hit deep into the hole and then being able to turn the double play, and ready for anything and everything that can possibly happen on a baseball field.

Not far behind those two is being relief pitcher, which asks a hurler to enter a contest with no one on base, one runner on base, two runners on and in the most dreaded situation, three runners on base.

This is truly living on the edge while walking on a tightrope. Some can handle the situation while others simply cannot.

Kyle Nicol throwing for Burroughs during his senior season. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Onetime Burroughs High pitcher Kyle Nicol was a reliever and then a starting pitcher during his senior season.

After playing one season at Cal State University Northridge, Nicol, who doesn’t throw hard and comes sidearm with an almost submarine-like motion, redshirted the next because of an injury.

Nicol then transferred to Glendale Community College where he was both a starting pitcher and a reliever.

Nicol will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo this fall, where he will continue his baseball career as a reliever.

What was the experience like playing for CSUN and then playing for the Vaqueros?

“There were a lot of factors that led to my transfer to Glendale,” said Nicol, who played four years for the Indians. “Part of the decision was based on academics and some had to do with the culture of the school and baseball team. I just felt that it was not a good fit for me personally.”

There had to be some positive that Nicol, who appeared in 17 games with eight starts and two saves for GCC in 2019, took away the lone season as a Matador?

“I learned lessons at CSUN that are invaluable,” he said. “It helped me learn to fight through adversity and deal with difficult situations, on and off the field.”

Kyle Nicol with his parents, Doug and Rose. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

It seems that the fit was much better at GCC for Nicol, who went 0-3 with a 4.23 earned-run average and 38 strikeouts with 16 walks across 38 and one-third innings, despite it being a junior college. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more of my experience at Glendale,” he said. “The program is run very well and the coaches do a lot for their players. Transferring to Glendale helped me get to Cal Poly and was probably the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m extremely thankful for everyone over at GCC.”

Nicol said the surgery was necessary and though it ruined his second season at CSUN, he’s ready to move forward.

“The surgery was a setback, but I’ve fully recovered and I feel better than ever on the mound,” he said.

As a reliever, it’s critical that one doesn’t get rattled and out of sorts.

Nicol wasn’t when he pitched for Burroughs and has maintained that assuredness three years later.

What does Nicol feel is his best quality on the hill when he’s facing a tough batter in a tough situation? “I would say my best asset is my composure,” he said.

Nicol wasn’t a hard thrower at the prep level, but was still able to get batters out. Did Nicol have a secret weapon?

“I feel that my best pitch is the slider,” he said when asked what he likes to throw when it’s a tight situation.

Someone who knows Nicol, who started five games with eight appearances and one save while posting a 3.68 ERA in 22 frames in the Western State Conference, is longtime Burbank-area baseball coach Craig Sherwood, who was the head man for Burroughs during the time Nicol played there.

“When I first saw him throw I thought he would be a natural submarine type pitcher,” he said. “All I really did was give him an opportunity and he made it special.”

Kyle Nicol was a dominant starting pitcher who used a submarine style. (Photo by Dick Dornan)

What does Sherwood think made Nicol stand out in a crowd?

“One of the things that makes Kyle special is his competitiveness and the will to succeed,” he noted. “It is something that is inherent in all great players. He gets into a big situation and excels every time.”

The game that drew attention to Nicol, who fanned 17 and walked nine in WSC action, from Division I baseball coaches was the gem he threw at perennial power Harvard-Westlake in 2016 title game that clinched the prestigeous Easton Tournament.

As a relief pitcher, does Nicol feel any additional pressure knowing that it’s generally late in the game and it’s a high-leverage situation when he’s called in?

“I try to treat every game the same,” he said. “As a reliever, I have to be ready every day, so a good throwing routine is important.”

As one gets older, and especially in sports, each level should get more difficult. Has Nicol noticed this to be the case as he’s progressed as a baseball player?

“The competition is definitely better as you climb the ladder,” he said. “Everyone is trying to make it to the next level.”

When someone begins playing baseball, many have desires of playing at the highest level. Is Nicol any different?

“It’s every ballplayer’s dream to play professional baseball,” he said. “When so many of your teammates or former teammates get drafted and sign pro contracts, it’s a huge motivator to try to reach that level as well. I just want to play for as long as the game allows me to.”

Nicol said that watching college teams on television and then actually playing against them was a thrill.

“Pitching against teams that I grew up watching at schools like UCLA and Vanderbilt is pretty cool,” he said.

Classes at Nicol’s third college begin soon and he’s looking forward to a new chapter in both his studies and baseball career.

“I’m excited to start at Cal Poly with a clean slate and see what the future holds,” he said.

Chris Peres, Former Burroughs Baseball Standout, Ends College Career

By Rick Assad
 
 

 

If one had to describe Chris Peres in a word or two as a baseball player, it might be that he’s versatile.

Peres, a one-time Burroughs High standout who just concluded his four-year collegiate career at the University of La Verne, wore numerous hats for the Leopards.

There were games when Peres played right field, while other times he pitched and on yet other occasions was the designated hitter.

In all three, Peres was able to excel which very likely helped him to be named the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2019.

Chris Peres pitched as a starter and reliever for the University of La Verne. (Photo courtesy of Chris Peres)

This season the University of La Verne went 30-13 overall, 16-8 in the SCIAC and also played in its postseason tournament.

Peres will spend his summer playing baseball in Minnesota in the Northwoods League for the Willmar Stingers, said that every time his name was on the lineup card, he knew he was given another opportunity to shine.

Was there anything Peres did in order to keep ahead of the curve?

“Usually I like to visualize some plays or at-bats leading up to the game,” he said of his pregame preparation, “but my teammates relaxed and light energy keeps me loose and ready to play.”

Though difficult to master, baseball is something Peres, who was selected to the Division III All-America second-team by the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings, has been playing for many years.

“Baseball is fun always because the more you learn about it the more information opens up because there is not one specific way to do something,” he said.

Peres, who batted .355 with a career-high 41 runs batted in and a personal-best 35 runs scored during his senior season, knows there are peaks and valleys.

“Failure is a big part of the game, so being mentally tough and sticking to an approach really helps you get over the slumps,” said Peres, a key contributor on the 2015 Indians’ Pacific League championship team.

That season Burroughs went 24-5 and 13-1 in league. After a bye in the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs, it defeated Paramount 3-2, but dropped a 1-0 decision to Moorpark.

Chris Peres shown when he played for Burroughs High. (Photo by Mitch Haddad)

Longtime Burbank-area baseball coach Craig Sherwood knows Peres first-hand.

“Chris was one of several players who knew that if they wanted to be something someday, it would only occur through hard work,” he said. “He would be there before practice and stay late or go get hitting on his own. That is a determination that you cannot teach. It has to come from the heart.”

Sherwood said some players stand out because they are dedicated. Peres was one of them.

“People sometimes look at the result and do not realize the process. It’s work, day in and day out,” he said. “When no one is watching. When your friends are out having fun, you are working.”

Baseball is humbling, so what was the initial attraction?

“The competition and how every fundamental and technique matters throughout the game,” said Peres, who capped his college career with a .425 on-base percentage and a .456 slugging percentage, of baseball’s appeal.

Often times sports teach life lessons. What did Peres, who slashed 28 doubles with a best of 13 in 2019, learn by playing high school and college baseball?

“Baseball has taught me how to be detail-oriented, reliable and showed me how accountability can be used in daily life,” said Peres, who fashioned a 12-3 record as a pitcher across three seasons, including a 6-2 mark in 13 starts with a 3.06 earned-run average, 49 strikeouts and 15 walks in 2017.

Sherwood has brought along several prep players who succeeded after high school. Did he think Peres would do well at the next level?

It’s a meeting on the mound as strategy is discussed. (Photo courtesy of Chris Peres)

“Even as a high school senior and a key member of our championship team, I knew that Chris has not reached his full development and strength levels yet,” he said. “I knew there was a lot more to come. He has not disappointed.”

Though baseball is baseball, there is a clear difference between high school and college hardball.

“High school and college baseball has many similarities, but the major difference is the pace and speed at which guys play,” said Peres, who tossed 150 innings, posted a 2.88 ERA and collected 17 saves in three seasons with a high of nine in 2018. “No matter the division guys play in college, the speed is different than high school.”

Sacrifice has been something Peres, who would someday like to coach or perhaps work in the front office of a Major League Baseball or NFL team, has willingly done in order to succeed.

“Sometimes I would have to leave class early for games, leave practice for class or even miss a class because of a game so it is about being responsible to get your work done,” he said.

Sherwood realized Peres, who ended his college stint with 188 hits including a personal-best 55 during 2016 and 2019 and 127 RBIs, was always willing to go the extra mile in order to become an even better player.

“Chris knew that a good player worked on what he did best, but a great player worked on what he did not do best,” he said. “He worked extra hard to work on weak spots and made them his strength.”

Goals are important for many because they serve as measuring sticks. Did Peres reach his goals in high school and college?

“I would say my main goal at both was to win the title at the end of the season and even though we won some conference titles, I wanted to hold up the outright division championship title,” he said. “Maybe during my coaching days I can receive one.”

Was there a most memorable game or games at the high school and college level?

“High school had many big wins, but none bigger than the one that won the 2015 Pacific League title,” he said. “For college, it was this season playing against our rival Cal Lutheran University. We were down two runs late in the game and I came up with a runner on and hit a game-tying home run out to center field.”

Does Peres have any advice for someone who wants to play baseball after high school? “There is good baseball anywhere you go, but choose somewhere you will get the opportunity to compete,” he said.