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New coach looking to elevate Burroughs football

New coach looking to elevate Burroughs football
Burroughs High quarter Nathan Piper throws a pass under the watchful eye of coach Rand Holdren, second from left, during a recent practice at Memoriel Field. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

In a short time, Rand Holdren has immersed himself into the Burroughs High football program.

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In three months, the first-year coach has set in motion a game plan to help the program get back to prominence after suffering through two straight losing seasons.

Since he took over the reins in March, Holdren has increased the Indians presence across social media platforms, had college coaches stop by for visits and held clinics at Memorial Field, including one recently for players in the Burbank Vikings Youth Tackle Football program.

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“This city likes their football and they like their stadium and they want to see this program winning,” said Holdren, who was an assistant at Harvard-Westlake and Alemany. “Part of my goal is to build Burroughs and bring it back to where it was in the past.

“I’m trying to bring in my resources to help the players get better, give them some knowledge and show what this program can do. I didn’t come over here to go 4-6 or 5-5; this school deserves better than that. I don’t do a lot of things well if I’m not all in and I have gone all in since I’ve been here.”

The program is looking to rebound after struggling the last two seasons. During the 2017 campaign, Burroughs was 4-5 and 3-4 in the Pacific League for fifth place. Over the past two seasons, the Indians are 8-11 overall and 6-8 in league and didn’t qualify for the CIF Southern Section playoffs either year.

With its recent struggles, Burroughs was moved from CIF Southern Section Division VIII to Division X when the CIF office released its 2018 fall realignment.

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“We are sticking with our install plan and the plan is to build the team,” said Holdren, who played at Southern Methodist University. “One thing that I asked of the guys is just to be present and they have really been buying in and they look like a team.

“These kids have grown up so much since I took over. They have been working their asses off and they have been putting in the hard work to try and get better.”

After finishing spring practice in May, Burroughs began summer practice June 4 and will host a seven-on-seven tournament July 7 at Memorial Field before shutting down for the dead period. Burroughs will be back on the field July 23.

One new concept that Holdren has installed since taking over is an inter-squad game. On the last day of spring practice, the Indians took part in a red-white game against one another.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a spring game here at Burroughs,” Holdren said. “The guys put on their jerseys and their soft hats and they really went at it. They took some pride in the game and you could see it with their play.

“We split up in two teams, we put the players’ names on the board and the kids drafted their sides. It was just a great experience all around and I think it made our team closer.”

Returning senior all-league quarterback Nathan Piper said he likes what he sees with the play of his team during summer.

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“It is really about team bonding, coming together as a team and trying to build something,” Piper said. “A lot of those guys out here are new and it just takes some time for them to learn all there is to learn out here.

“I can definitely see the progression of the team from when we started out in spring until now. Coach Rand had been really cool and he’s been helping us out a lot, on and off the field, including school.”

Added senior receiver/linebacker Johnny Factora: “I think we all want to get to the point to when the season rolls around where we will be at full speed and able to go nonstop. It’s all about getting prepared to have us ready for the season … but when it comes down to it, it’s all about coming together as a team.”

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