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Burroughs football can't hold off Harvard-Westlake

BURBANK — At least the Burroughs High football team showed some improvement Thursday night.

Looking to avoid opening a season with three consecutive losses for the first time since 2012, Burroughs took on visiting Harvard-Westlake in its final nonleague contest before kicking off Pacific League action.

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The Indians scored on their first possession of the game, giving them some momentum and their first lead of the campaign.

Things didn’t go too well after that for Burroughs, however, as it suffered a 39-15 defeat at Memorial Field.

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Burroughs had a few breakdowns on special teams and Harvard-Westlake (2-2) capitalized on most of the miscues.

“The first half was our best half of the year,” said Burroughs first-year coach Rand Holdren, who served as an assistant at Harvard-Westlake for nine seasons. “We put it together for the first half and were only down at 11-8.

“We have to find a way to do that for four quarters. It’s about learning to win and you can’t take your feet off the gas pedal.”

Burroughs came into Thursday’s contest having been outscored, 104-21, in nonleague losses against West Ranch and Canyon Country Canyon.

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Things started off well for Burroughs on its first drive. It was capped on a one-yard run by quarterback Nathan Piper with 8:40 left in the first quarter. Luke Rogers, who finished with 125 yards rushing in 26 carries, scored on a run for the two-point conversion to make it 8-0.

Harvard-Westlake tied the score at 8 on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Jameson Wang to Terrell Long, followed by Wang converting on the two-point try with a run with 10:51 to go in the second quarter.

After Burroughs missed on a 29-yard field goal attempt with 4:18 left in the first half, Harvard-Westlake’s Charlie Mendes connected on a 27-yard field goal to give the Wolverines an 11-8 lead with 13.8 seconds remaining.

With a three-point lead to start the third quarter, the Wolverines took an 18-8 advantage with 10:59 to play in the quarter on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Wang (10 of 12 for 135 yards and two touchdowns) to Long.

On the ensuing possession, Harvard-Westlake’s Garnett March blocked a punt at the Burroughs 37-yard line and the ball was recovered by teammate William Goldberg at the 5-yard line.

Sultan Daniel scored on a five-yard run to make it 25-8 with 9:26 to go in the third quarter.

Burroughs closed to within 25-15 on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Piper to Ellington Simmons with 4:47 left in the third quarter.

However, Harvard-Westlake started to pull away following a 49-yard touchdown run from Daniels (115 yards in 15 carries) to extend the advantage to 32-15 with four minutes to go in the third quarter.

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The Wolverines capped the scoring on a one-yard run by Wang with 8:30 remaining in the game.

Piper completed nine of 18 passes for 125 yards and one interception. The Indians forced four turnovers, getting two fumble recoveries from Thomas Wilson and one from Nathan Turner and an interception from Aiden Forrester.

Burroughs will kick off Pacific League play at 7 p.m. Sept. 14 against visiting Arcadia.

“We have to walk through every scenario from these first three games and get back to it,” Holdren said. “We’ve got to watch film.”

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