A year of firsts for the Burroughs High football team will include a new wrinkle.
The host Indians surrendered 21 straight points and never recovered in a 35-6 loss to a talented, but sloppy Muir squad Friday in Pacific League and CIF Southern Section Division XI play at Memorial Field.
The defeat marks Burroughs’ first losing streak this season, as the No. 7-ranked Indians followed five victories to start the year with back-to-back defeats to fall to 5-2 overall and 1-2 in league.
Top-ranked Muir improved to 5-1 and 2-0 after the win in what could be a playoff preview.
“We were in this game, 100% we were in the game and our kids believed they could win,” Burroughs coach Rand Holdren said. “I think we’ll play this team again and I hope we’ll get a chance to play this team again.”
The only squad positioned to slow the Mustangs down on Friday was Muir itself.
The visitors finished with 433 yards of total offense and 21 first downs, which helped them overcome a whopping 23 penalties for 205 yards.
By comparison, Burroughs totaled 109 yards of offense with nine first downs.
Muir quarterback Amaris Harrison completed 17 of 29 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for a three-yard score, and receiver Calen Bullock finished with four catches for 108 yards and one touchdown.
While Muir’s offense certainly scored, its defense was more impressive.
Burroughs entered the contest averaging 230 yards passing per game with at least three touchdown tosses in every game.
The Mustangs held senior quarterback Nick Garcia out of the end zone as he was harassed all night and completed 10 of 29 passes for a season-low 67 yards and two interceptions.
“Our game plan is always to shut the offense down and we’re going to keep it as simple as that,” Muir coach Zaire Calvin said.
A Burroughs ground game that averaged 219 yards per contest was also stopped as the Indians trio of Jon English, Garcia and Carson Cardenaz combined to rush 25 times for 42 yards.
Muir’s success on defense was led by its dominance in the trenches as the Mustangs continually blitzed Burroughs and collapsed the line of scrimmage.
“They definitely have a unique blitz that they do and we’ve just got to work on it,” Holdren said. “There’s no real secret sauce. They’re jumping in the ‘A’ gaps and we’ve got to stop them.”
The Mustangs scored the game’s first 21 points, capped by a nine-yard touchdown run from Tyrikk Lawson, who rushed 11 times for 79 yards and one touchdown, with 10:47 left in the third quarter.
The Indians didn’t immediately respond, instead punting on their first possession of the second half after three consecutive incomplete passes.
Burroughs’ defense, though, helped out by forcing a turnover on downs on the Indians’ 47 with 8:24 left in the third.
Burroughs’ offense came to life and turned in its most productive drive, marching 47 yards on six plays, aided by a pass-interference call.
The Indians hit pay dirt for the only time on a seven-yard touchdown plunge by Cardenaz that, after a missed extra point, brought the Indians within 21-6 with 6:32 in the third quarter.
While the score sparked Burroughs, Muir was also equally awakened.
The Mustangs countered with a quick eight-play drive that culminated on a three-yard touchdown run from Harrison that put Muir ahead, 28-6, with 3:55 to go in the third.
Muir added one more touchdown on a 55-yard pass play from Harrison to Calen Bullock to conclude scoring.
Muir’s first two scores of the contest came via Harrison touchdown passes of 19 and 18 yards to receiver John Humphrey as the Mustangs led, 14-0, at the half.
If there was a bright spot for Burroughs, it was the squad’s defensive line, which finished with four sacks and seven tackles for losses, led by two sacks from junior defensive end Brandon Sowers.
“We have to keep on working,” Sowers said. “Last week and today, it’s a wake-up call. We can’t take for granted winning and we’re going to have to work harder.”