Lucas Yanez has vivid memories of his sophomore season two years ago when he took over as the starting quarterback of the Burroughs High football team.
“I was this 14-year-old going against guys who were 18-years-old, and that was a little scary” Yanez said. “I was kind of the baby that year.”
Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop said Yanez has gone through a transformation in terms of his confidence and his leadership abilities since that sophomore campaign.
“As a sophomore, he went all the way to the Glendale game and he hadn’t thrown a pick,” Knoop said. “He put so much pressure on himself not to throw an interception that he was afraid to throw the ball.
“I also remember Lucas when he first lined up against Muir that year; he was just petrified. Although he was scared, he played well for us.”
That unsure sophomore has developed and grown into a player and a team leader for the Indians the past two years.
Yanez’s success this season is one of the reasons why Burroughs is still playing. The Indians will be in action at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a CIF Southern Section Southeast Division second-round game against Mayfair at Bellflower High.
Burroughs tied for the Pacific League championship for the second-straight season, and Yanez led the way.
Last week, the Indians were able to win their opening-round playoff game, downing El Rancho, 41-21, at home. It was the program’s first postseason victory in 23 years.
Yanez said winning the playoff game was one of the team’s goals this season.
“Our group of seniors were really focused on winning in the playoffs,” he said. “We felt like this was the year that we could do it. It feels really good to get a playoff win for??? Burroughs after all of those years.”
Being a quarterback, Yanez realizes that it is his job to lead the team. Along with his skills on offense, Yanez has taken to his role of motivating his teammates.
“Being a senior, I like the responsibility of being a leader on the team,” Yanez said. “Some of the younger players look up to me and I know since I have been doing this since I was a sophomore, that hopefully I can give them some answers.
“At the beginning of the season, Coach Knoop sat me down and told me that I was going to have to lead this team. I told him that I was up for that.”
Yanez brings a skill set to the quarterback position that has made him a tough player for defenses to contain. Along with his passing skills, the senior has developed into an accomplished runner, and can burn opponents with his arm or his legs.
This season, Yanez has completed 212 of 195 passes for 1,758 yards, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. On the ground, he has rushed 87 times for 508 yards and nine touchdowns.
Numbers like that have helped Yanez earn a rare distinction. In the history of the Burroughs program, no player has made the school’s top-10 list in career passing as well as career rushing. Yanez is 10th on the rushing list with 1,466 yards and No. 3 on the passing list with 4,073 yards, trailing just Jeff Barrett (6,083) and J.K. Scott (4,880).
Along with his physical talents, Knoop said Yanez constantly impresses him with his smarts and his knowledge of the game.
“He has gotten to the point now that I could put him out there and tell him to run a series and he would be able to run all the plays by himself,” Knoop said. “He knows which way to flip the formation, he tells the running backs which side to lineup on and he can even tell the offensive linemen who they’re blocking.
“He watches film and he really knows what’s going on out there. He might not always be the biggest or the fastest quarterback, but no one is going to compete harder than he does.”
Yanez said his upbringing has helped him become a fierce competitor. His brother, Tyler, is a receiver on the team and is an accomplished volleyball player, earning All-Area Player of the Year honors last season. In addition, his father, Art, is a former Burroughs football player and a long-time coach at the school.
“My dad has never forced me to play,” Lucas said. “He would always tell me if I didn’t want to play that year I didn’t have to play. He always gave me that option.”