CANYON COUNTRY — The Burroughs High football team continued its daunting nonleague gauntlet through tough Foothill League competition with a game against Canyon Country Canyon on Friday evening.
The Indians opened the season last week with a loss to Saugus, and following the game against the Cowboys, they end their nonleague schedule with a contest against Hart on Thursday.
Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop is hoping his squad will be able to learn and grow as a result of playing against solid opponents and that learning curve will prepare the Indians for Pacific League play.
What the Indians learned Friday evening is they might have faced the best team they will square off against during the regular season, as host Canyon knocked off Burroughs, 42-14.
“Things don’t get any easier for us after this either,” said Knoop, whose team fell to 0-2. “We play Hart next week on this very field. We know that the Pacific League is going to be tougher this year than it has been in years past, and we want to get the experience against good teams.”
This is the second straight season in which the Indians have played the same Santa Clarita-area teams to open the season. Last year, the strategy paid off. Although Burroughs did go 0-3 in its nonleague games, it went on to capture a share of the Pacific League championship.
But before the Indians can attempt that feat again, Knoop said the squad has to get over some of the problems that plagued it against the Cowboys (1-0) — ranked No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section Northern Division. Burroughs made its share of mistakes, had problems moving the ball on offense and suffered lapses on defense.
There was also some infighting with the players.
“We had some guys who were fighting in the huddle,” Knoop said. “I’ve never had a team that did that. We have to grow up and we just can’t have that kind of thing happening with the team.”
While Burroughs was imploding, the Canyon offense — sparked by senior quarterback Jonathan Jerozal, junior wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky and senior running back Max Archuleta — was able to roll.
Archuleta led the ground attack, carrying the ball nine times for 164 yards and a touchdown.
Through the air, Jerozal completed nine of 17 passes for 179 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions and Wolitarsky had five catches for 109 yards. He also scored on a seven-yard run.
Knoop said the Indians had a plan to stop Wolitarsky.
“We practiced all week on jamming him and not letting him get the yardage,” he said. “We didn’t stick to the plan. They kept running the same play to him, but we just couldn’t stop it,”
The Canyon offense also did a good job at limiting Burroughs senior running back Zander Anding. Anding, who gained 278 yards and had three touchdowns last week, was held to 93 yards in 18 carries and one touchdown.
Forty-two of those yards came on one run late in the fourth quarter, which led to Anding scoring on a three-yard burst with 24.6 seconds left in the game.
Mistakes started early for the Indians. A snap went over the punter’s head on the first series of the game, resulting in a Cowboy safety with 7:23 left in the first quarter.
Things didn’t improve from there for Burroughs.
Canyon scored two more touchdowns in the opening quarter to jump out to a 16-0 advantage.
The lead was increased to 28-0 when Jerozal hooked up with senior Coley Aspay on a nine-yard fade pattern in the left corner of the end zone with 6:55 left in the first half.
Burroughs finally got on the board with 3:13 remaining in the opening half when senior quarterback Eli Peppmuller hit senior Chris Escobar on a 20-yard strike.
In the first half, Canyon had 334 yards of total offense compared to just 98 for Burroughs.
“I thought we started to play better in the second half,” Knoop said. “We just have to learn to be more consistent and cut down on the mistakes.”
Peppmuller completed seven of 13 passes for 102 yards a touchdown and no interceptions.
The Cowboys kept their starting offense in late in the second half, lifting the team to a 42-7 lead after three quarters. However, the Burroughs defense didn’t yield any points in the fourth quarter.
“That’s the Foothill League way of doing things.” Knoop said. “They will leave their starters in the entire game.”