After spending last season away from football to focus on basketball, Carson Cardenaz is refreshed.
His battery has been recharged, putting the senior wide receiver in position to motor down field and catch passes at a quick rate.
Cardenaz enjoyed a splendid effort Thursday, as he caught three touchdown passes to propel visiting Burroughs to a 41-24 nonleague victory against La Palma Kennedy at Western High.
“It’s definitely great to be back playing football and helping the team win, that’s the main thing,” said Cardenaz, who finished with six catches for 85 yards. “I just focused on basketball last season, but I wanted to come back and help this team.
“It’s a good effort for me, but there are still things that I need to work on to get better. I need to focus on my route running and keep it going.”
The Indians improved to 3-0, getting six total touchdowns from quarterback Nick Garcia. Garcia passed for four touchdowns and rushed for two scores.
It marked the second time Garcia has had six touchdowns in a game this season for Burroughs, which began the season with nonleague home wins against Hueneme and Victor Valley.
Burroughs took a 7-0 lead on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Garcia on fourth-and-goal from the 15-yard line with 6:46 remaining in the first quarter.
Kennedy (1-2) closed to within 7-3 on a 35-yard field with 3:23 to go in the opening quarter.
The Indians made it 14-3 on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Garcia (19 for 39 for 237 yards and two interceptions) to Cardenaz with 1:59 left in the second quarter. The drive began after John Alajijian recovered a fumble for the Indians at the Kennedy 45-yard line about two minutes earlier.
Garcia closed out the first-half scoring on the final play with no time left on a one-yard run to give Burroughs a 21-3 advantage.
Burroughs started the second half with the ball before seeing its lead cut to 21-10 when Kennedy’s Jequen Bedgood intercepted a Garcia pass and returned it eight yards for a touchdown to make it 21-10.
Burroughs responded on its ensuing drive, getting a five-yard touchdown pass from Garcia to Cardenaz to make it 28-10 with 7:12 left in the third quarter.
“That was big to come back like that and get that touchdown after they scored off the interception,” Burroughs second-year coach Rand Holdren said. “It’s about being able to run our offense efficiently and we did that for the most part tonight.
“Carson had a real good game and he’s super talented and very football smart. He’s able to read the field great.”
Burroughs’ Enrique Diaz recovered a fumble at the Kennedy 4-yard line, setting up the Indians on their next possession late in the third quarter. Alajijian caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Garcia to make it 34-10 with 2:44 left in the third quarter.
The Fighting Irish received a 49-yard touchdown run from Ryan Cathcart to bring them to within 34-17 with 10:05 to go in the fourth quarter.
Aidan Frieson caught a 65-yard touchdown pass from Cathcart to trim the deficit to 34-24 with 5:40 to go.
Garcia closed out the scoring on a one-yard run with 1:38 to play.
Burroughs running back Jon English finished with 77 yards rushing in 17 carries. The Indians had 168 yards rushing against Kennedy.
Burroughs will continue its three-game road swing with a nonleague contest against host Harvard-Westlake at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 before beginning Pacific League action Sept. 20 at Glendale.
“It’s going to be a good test going over there to play Harvard-Westlake,” said Holdren, who previously served as an assistant at Harvard-Westlake before coming to Burroughs. “Again, we have to continue to be more efficient on offense.”
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