What is fast becoming a special season for the Burroughs High football team continued Friday evening.
The visiting Indians scored 25 consecutive points and held off a late rally to defeat Harvard-Westlake, 38-21, in the nonleague finale for Burroughs, which begins Pacific League play next week.
With the victory, Burroughs completed its first undefeated nonleague schedule this century to improve to 4-0. No Burroughs team this millennia had won more than two games to open a season.
On top of that, the Indians snapped a 10-game losing streak to private school teams dating back to a 35-31 victory over Harvard-Westlake in 2006.
“This week kind of hit home as far as being 4-0 and searching for that perfect game,” said Burroughs coach Rand Holdren, whose team was walloped by Harvard-Westlake last year, 39-15. “We stumbled right away, but we fought back, stepped up and played a full football game.”
Burroughs received another stellar effort from the quarterback-receiving duo of seniors Nicholas Garcia and Carson Cardenaz.
Garcia completed 22 of 33 passes for 253 yards and four touchdowns with one interception, while rushing nine times for 105 yards and another score.
Cardenaz caught a spectacular 13 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns, while the outside linebacker added one interception and two batted balls.
“For this program, we’re trying to turn this…stuff around,” Garcia said. “We’ve been working so hard since this spring and it’s great to see this.”
Burroughs didn’t put away a pesky Harvard-Westlake (1-3) squad until sophomore running back Jon English, who carried 23 times for 106 yards and one touchdown, punched in a nine-yard score to put the Indians up, 38-21, with 3:31 left.
The Burroughs defense also denied the Wolverines on their final drive when senior Aiden Forrester recovered a fumble with 2:56 left.
The takeaway won the Indians the turnover battle, 3-2.
It appeared for a while Burroughs would blow out Harvard-Westlake, as the Indians responded to an early 7-0 deficit with 25 straight points.
Garcia connected on touchdowns of five, 18 and 24 yards, all to Cardenaz, with those scores helped set up by a fumble recovery from Henry Diaz and a sack from Brandon Sowers to force a Wolverines turnover on downs in their own territory.
Garcia then connected on his fourth and final passing touchdown, an eight-yard pass to Forrester, that put the Indians ahead, 25-7, with 5:45 left in the second quarter.
The only thing not working for Burroughs was its special teams, as the Indians only converted one extra-point on the four touchdown drives.
To its credit, Harvard-Westlake fought back behind junior quarterback Brandon Roderick, who completed 13 of 24 passes for 208 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Roderick also carried 14 times for 74 yards, but fumbled once.
Roderick first connected on an eight-yard touchdown pass to Jason Thompson to bring the Wolverines within 25-14 at halftime.
Harvard-Westlake then pulled closer on a 65-yard scoring pass play from Roderick to Brendan Kang, who finished with five catches for 93 yards and one score, on the final play of the third quarter as the home team trailed, 25-21.
Burroughs punched back, however, with a 20-yard touchdown run from Garcia which, after a successful point-after attempt, gave the visitors a 31-21 lead with 9:13 remaining.
“We faced adversity today, both at the beginning of the game and later and we met it,” said Holdren, a former Harvard-Westlake assistant coach. “I’m excited about this win here. It was special.”