ARCADIA — There was no surprise about who was going to be called upon to carry the workload for the Burroughs High football team Friday in the cross-town rivalry game against Burbank.
Zander Anding has been the Indians’ go-to player all season, as the senior running back has broken records, put up gaudy numbers and put together his share of impressive performances.
But the Bulldogs might not have expected to get Anding shoved down their throats.
Burroughs came out in the wildcat offense with Anding running the show. The end result was another 300-plus rushing game for the senior, as he helped lead the Indians to a 34-7 victory at Arcadia High.
The win clinched a share of Burroughs’ third straight Pacific League championship. For the second year in a row, the Indians (6-4, 6-1 in league) are co-league champions with Arcadia (8-2, 6-1), who defeated Crescenta Valley, 31-7, Friday.
“It feels great to win a league title,” Burroughs senior lineman Lester Quintana said. “We were motivated for this game and we knew that we could win this game against Burbank. We all believed we could do it.”
Anding, a 6-foot, 185-pound speedster, notched another stellar effort in a season chalk full of monumental efforts. He carried the ball 29 times for 249 yards and scored four touchdowns. His yardage set a “Big Game” record.
In addition, he tallied his fifth 300-plus rushing effort of the season, something no other player in the city has been able to accomplish.
If that wasn’t enough, Anding, who has tallied 2,453 yards in nine games, broke the Pacific League all-time season rushing record of 2,142, set in 1997 by Sultan McCullough of Muir.
Anding, who has been slow to recover from a partially collapsed lung three weeks ago, said he was willing to run the wildcat when Coach Keith Knoop presented him with the idea.
“I honestly just took the challenge,” Anding said. “He said we might be putting you at quarterback and I said ‘Alright, I’ll do it.’ This week has been a lot of running, crazy running, trying to get my lung back in shape.”
Knoop said putting Anding in that position worked like a charm against Burbank (4-6, 3-4).
“When I first told him about it, his eyes got all big and he was excited about doing it,” he said. “He’s kind of a quiet, nervous kid and I told him that he would be fine.”
Even Burbank Coach Hector Valencia gave credit to Anding and his ability to put his stamp on Friday’s game.
“Obviously, the kid’s a phenomenal athlete, and he’s probably going to be our player of the year in league,” Valencia said. “You know you have one of the top running backs in the state out there and he’s going to be getting the ball, but we still couldn’t stop him. He can go around you, he can go through you and he’s tough.”
The loss was an unfortunate one for the Bulldogs, who did not qualify for the CIF Southern Section playoffs for the first time in Valencia’s three years with the program.
“That is disappointing,” Valencia said. “But we knew we were young this season and we knew it was going to be tough in league.”
Burroughs came out in the opening series and dared Burbank to stop Anding. He received the direct snap and ran with the ball on the first eight plays, gaining 64 yards. He gained 86 yards on the drive that started at the Indians’ three-yard line, bolting into the end zone on an eight-yard touchdown run.
With a 7-0 lead, the Bulldogs responded. On the ensuing kickoff, Teddy Arlington took the ball on his own 10-yard line and returned it to the Burroughs four. Two plays later, Burbank scored on a two-yard plunge up the middle by Daniel Martinez.
With the score knotted at 7 after one quarter, the Indians increased their lead to 14-7 with 5:39 left in the first half when Anding scampered 73 yards for a touchdown. Anding also had runs of 52, 46 and 44 on the night.
Leading by a touchdown at the half, Burroughs increased its lead in the third quarter when Anding scored from five yards out and quarterback Brad Hunt found pay dirt on a keeper for 17 yards with 5:56 remaining in the third.
Anding, who also had three catches for 37 yards, scored his final touchdown with 3:08 left in the game on a 46-yard run.
“I think they did wear us down a little in the second half,” Valencia said. “We also didn’t execute on offense like we wanted to and that hurt us a lot. We had some drives where we didn’t get anything and we gave them the ball back.”
Burbank received 44 yards rushing on nine carries from Herman Castro.
Next up for the Indians is the playoffs, as the postseason pairings are set to be released Sunday.
“It’s a whole new season with the playoffs,” Knoop said. “We’re looking forward to that.”
Knoop is only the second coach in program history to win three straight league crowns. Bob Dunivant, whose teams notched seven championships, won four consecutive Foothill League titles from 1977-80.