PASADENA — It appeared the Pasadena High football team got just what it needed — a fast start on its senior night against Pacific League foe Burroughs on Friday night.
It came in the form of a 79-yard touchdown run from the Bulldogs' Kylon Fleming on the first play from scrimmage, but six Pasadena turnovers, poor special teams play and 12 penalties for a total loss of 94 yards gave the Indians' offense and their running back Josh Storer, who finished with 199 rushing yards and four touchdowns, too many chances in what wound up to be a 31-21 Burroughs victory.
It took a while for Storer to get going, as he only had 14 yards on his first 10 carries until he broke a 33-yard touchdown run with 4:55 to go in the first half, which gave Burroughs (4-5, 4-2 in league) its first lead, 10-7, after a 39-yard field goal from Jario Gomez with 4:50 left in the first quarter.
“They came out to play, I'll give them that,” said Storer, who got the lion's share of the carries with Israel Montes unavailable with an injury, of the Bulldogs, “but we stuck it to them and came out on top tonight.
“I was surprised [with the final score]. It should not have been that close of a game at all.”
Pasadena Coach Randy Horton wasn't content with merely being competitive, but he said it gave his team something to build upon moving forward.
“We don't like moral victories, but we'll take it,” said Horton, whose team fell to 1-8, 1-5. “They played hard, but the turnovers down in our end zone is really what hurt us. … Other than that we played well for the most part. We played hard on defense and all year I don't know why, but we can't sustain the focus, but the last two weeks they've played much better and I expect them to play hard next week.”
It appeared the Indians were about to put Pasadena out of reach on two more Storer touchdowns.
The first was on a 22-yard run on a counter off the right tackle for a 17-7 advantage with 1:54 to go in the half. He scored on the first possession of the second half from one yard out, which was set up by his own 61-yard carry and an 11-yard pass from quarterback Andrew Williams (four of six for 63 yards) to Jake Gnasso, to extend the lead to 24-7 about three minutes into the third.
Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop said he made Storer the go-to back Friday in order to save Montes, who was “a little banged up” for next week.
“Josh has that quick first step and he can outrun guys at Pasadena and we don't usually have guys who can do that,” said Knoop, who also saw Williams come out of the game when he aggravated a sprained ankle, though him and Montes should be available for next week. “He had a big night tonight and he was eager to come back and be the guy again tonight.”
Fleming (117 yards, two touchdowns on 13 carries) helped the Bulldogs stay within striking distance when ran for his second score of the day from nine yards out, cutting the score to 24-14 with 5:38 left in the third. His score was set up by a 76-yard pass from Pasadena quarterback Elijah Trejo (eight of 12 for 115 yards, three interceptions) to Wardell Barry (six receptions, 85 yards).
After a three-and-out from Burroughs, Pasadena looked to cut the lead to single digits on its ensuing drive, but the Indians’ Sean Johnson (two fumble recoveries) recovered a fumble at Burroughs' own 20 and Storer put the game out of reach on a 74-yard scoring run with 42 seconds left in the third.
The Bulldogs never gave up hope, though, and were given a boost when Ryan Vaughn recovered an Indians fumble in the end zone for a touchdown after straight shotgun snaps sailed over the quarterback’s head, which capped the scoring.
Burroughs was forced to punt with 3:07 left in the game, but the Bulldogs’ ensuing drive was ended when the Indians’ Marquette Williams intercepted a pass, which allowed Burroughs to run out the rest of the clock. Garrett Manoukian also intercepted a pass for Burroughs at the end of the first half.