Tag Archives: John Alajijian

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 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 Football Ready to Put Recent Past in Rear View Mirror

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 not happened since the days of playing in the Foothill League more than a decade ago.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

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.”

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

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.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

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.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

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.”