CANYON COUNTRY — It only took seconds for the Burroughs High football team to get the hot start it needed.
Defensive back Bo Faunce picked off Canyon quarterback Jonathan Jerozal on the third play of the game to set up a touchdown from running back Tadeo Zuniga on the ensuing next play.
But while Cowboy fans sat baffled at their slow start, the game developed into a back-and-forth thriller that ended in a 37-31 Canyon victory Saturday, as Jerozal and the offense outmatched the Burroughs’ defense, leaving the Indians with a defeat on the road.
Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop was proud of how hard his team fought.
“We made them earn everything they got, and it was a heck of a ball game,” said Knoop whose team fell to 0-2. “We had the ball last and we had to come down and do something with it. But we played 1,000 times better than last week.”
In the first game of the season Sept. 3, the Indians fell to Saugus, 26-20.
Canyon took advantage on its third possession, as the Cowboys used a potent mixture of passing and running plays to tie the game at a touchdown apiece.
After holding Burroughs to only a field goal early in the second quarter, the momentum shifted the Cowboys’ way. Running back Darius Rudolph brought back a 68-yard kick return, setting up his own one-yard touchdown run to stake his team to a 14-10 lead at halftime.
The growing pains for the Indians showed on special teams and defense. Encroachment penalties helped keep drives alive for Canyon, while their special teams allowed two long returns of 48 and 68 yards, respectively. The squad also missed an extra point.
“We don’t have a solidified kicker, and that’s an issue. We’ve got some backup guys playing special teams to get them on the field, and we’ve got some issues there. We’ve got to fix that,” Knoop said.
Burroughs quarterback Lucas Yanez came out firing on all cylinders early in the second half. The senior showed off his arm and legs, as he ran the Indians to a 16-14 lead — which included a fourth-down conversion.
Yanez pushed the lead to 23-14 with a perfect 76-yard pass to running back Zander Andig after defensive lineman Sonny Sandoval forced a fumble against Canyon. Yanez finished the game 13 of 24 for 131 yards with one rushing and one throwing touchdown.
The Cowboys responded with their balanced attack of Jerozal and Rudolph to retake the lead. They went up, 31-23, early in the fourth quarter after an interception by Yanez.
However, Yanez and Zuniga teamed up once more to add to the drama.
From their own 20, the running back pounded the defense for 50 yards in four carries to set up a 10-yard touchdown pass from Yanez to senior wide receiver Matt Volland. Needing the two-point conversion, Yanez found Volland again in the corner to complete the Burroughs surge, as the game at 31 with 5:33 remaining.
Zuniga finished with 131 yards in 30 carries.
But the Indian defense struggled late, allowing a Jerozal rushing touchdown to account for the winning score.
Burroughs played Canyon (1-0) in the second of a three-game nonleague series against old Foothill League foes.