MEMORIAL FIELD — After more than two decades, the wait is over.
The Pacific League co-champion Burroughs High football team hosted El Rancho Friday night in a first-round Southeast Division playoff game, and the Indians had no plans on seeing their season end.
The Gatorade bath and smile on Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop’s face said it all shortly after the contest concluded, as the Indians beat the Dons, 41-21, capturing their first postseason win in 23 years.
“I got a huge monkey off my back,” said Knoop, who has been coaching at Burroughs for 18 years and was 0-9 in previous playoff games. “We just talked about all week how you have to play in the playoffs.”
The win puts Burroughs in a second-round game next Friday. It will play Mayfair, who defeated Diamond Ranch, 25-20, Friday.
Burroughs quarterback Lucas Yanez started the game a perfect seven-for-seven passing and finished 10 of 15 for 147 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He rushed nine times for 33 yards and two touchdowns.
“We weren’t sure what they were going to come out with,” Yanez said. “I was kind of nervous and didn’t know what to expect. After I got in rhythm, I started feeling good, seeing what the defense was giving me.”
Like, his coach, Yanez remarked, “It feels good to get the monkey off our back. Coach Knoop has been telling us the program has a tradition, how they used to get in the playoffs. The last 23 years, we haven’t been able to get past the first round. He’s been putting that in our head and [it’s] pride for our school, too.”
Burroughs jumped out to a 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. Yanez led the way on Burroughs’ opening drive, marching the Indians 77 yards in nine plays, capping it off with a 12-yard touchdown pass to his brother, Tyler Yanez.
El Rancho mustered only nine offensive plays in the first quarter.
Defensive end Casey Barbello recovered a fumble by El Rancho quarterback Troy Campos at the Burroughs 35-yard line, just 18 seconds after Indians’ first touchdown. Burroughs running back Zander Anding rushed 23 yards and Yanez ran in a keeper for a touchdown from 12 yards out.
Anding had 13 carries for 84 yards.
With 28.5 seconds left in the first quarter, Yanez scored again, this time on a 10-yard touchdown run.
However, El Rancho responded with 14 unanswered points in the second quarter. Campos scored on a one-yard rush and running back Andrew Romero added a five-yard touchdown run. But the Dons still trailed, 21-14, at halftime.
Romero rushed 19 times for 80 yards.
Burroughs linebacker Frank Aguilar intercepted Campos late in the third quarter and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown. Cristobal Escobar missed his first point after attempt of the season, wide left, but the Indians were up, 27-14.
Yanez threw a 35-yard touchdown pass, again to Tyler, with 9:36 to go in the game.
Tyler Yanez recorded 67 yards in five catches.
Campos answered for El Rancho four minutes later with a 15-yard touchdown pass to receiver Freddy Garcia, cutting the deficit to 34-21. Campos completed only three of 11 passes for 43 yards.
The Dons’ Jerry Huff recovered the ensuing on-sides attempt, giving El Rancho another chance to edge closer. Nut he was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct after he spiked the ball down in celebration, backing the Dons to their own 36-yard line.
But the hopes of a miracle comeback failed. Campos was picked off by defensive back Jose Pereyra, who returned the football to the El Rancho 15-yard line.
Yanez quickly dialed up another touchdown, this time finding receiver Anthony Carter on a 15-yard passing play.
Romero fumbled on the following possession and the ball was recovered by Burroughs defensive lineman Gus Ferrat.
Huff was injured with 42.2 seconds remaining, and the game was called after he was carted off the field on a stretcher.