There was not much depth to the Burroughs High football team during the 2011 season.
With a workhorse of a running back in senior Zander Anding, the Indians were able to have a productive year despite possessing a one-dimensional offensive attack.
“We couldn’t pass to save our lives last season,” said Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop, whose team opens the season Aug. 31 against Paraclete at Memorial Field. “We tried to throw and we failed miserably. We would get something like 30 yards a game. It was embarrassing.”
Luckily for the team, it had Anding. He rushed for 2,686 yards in 204 carries and 26 touchdowns (30 total touchdowns). He averaged 13.17 yards a carry and a whopping 268.6 yards a game. According to MaxPreps.com, Anding’s yards-per-carry average was tops in the country and No. 1 in state and his per-game average and yards-per-carry averages were first in the state.
In addition, Anding notched five games in which he gained 300 yards or more, his best effort coming with a 393-yard performance in a league game against Glendale to set a Burroughs record. He holds the top five spots on the all-time list. His 2,686 total yards also set a single-season record, as did his 182 points.
He left the school as the program’s all-time scoring leader (250) and career rushing leader (3,345).
Behind Anding, the Indians (6-5, 6-1 in league) earned a share of their third straight Pacific League championship.
With the graduation of Anding, Knoop was left to search for what is hoped to be the next great Burroughs running back, a position that has been filled by a number of productive athletes in the past.
“We discovered some running backs who should be good,” Knoop said “Right now the guy who is right up there is Isreal Montes, a two-year starter for us on defense. He’s still going to be on the defensive side for us, but it will be just a matter of if he will be able to run that many plays and stay productive on offense.”
A 5-foot-9, 180-pound junior, Montes played sparingly last season behind Anding. Montes had 26 carries for 179 yards (6.89 yards a carry) and one touchdown.
Adding to the running back corps will be seniors Garrett Manoukian (5-9, 160) and Josh Storer (5-6, 130).
“Those two are just dynamite athletes,” Knoop said. “Garrett Manoukian has been playing rugby for two years, so he’s real tough.”
Senior Zach Hartman (5-9, 160) should also see time in the backfield along with senior Jason Hamm (5-8, 195), a nose guard who should provide some punch.
“We have a group of guys who could run the ball if we need to give Izzy a break,” Knoop said. “And they are runners with all different styles. For us, it will be a matter of whether we have that one guy who can do all the work or are we going to have to split the work up between a few different guys? Either way, we’re going to do what we do.”
With the graduation of some other key players, Knoop was looking to fill various positions this season. However, he has been able to benefit from a group of athletes he wasn’t expecting to play.”
“We have found some kids who had played football in the past and left the program, but who have come back for their senior years,” Knoop said. “That will be able to fill some spots and that will help us in some areas.”
Along with the running back position, another area in which the Indians have traditionally been able to thrive in the past is with the offensive line. This year’s team has a solid group of starting linemen, however, Knoop said there isn’t a great deal of depth on the line, and injuries could take their toll.
Returning to the line are seniors Joseph Wallace (6-2, 285), Daniel Marbach (6-1, 230) and Ermar Cruz (5-10, 225), an all-league pick last season. Joining the ranks is junior Oscar Quintana (6-1, 215), whose brother, Lester, was a standout lineman last season, along with sophomore Andrew Mills (6-0, 280).
Marbach, who is also a standout player for the Indians’ boys’ volleyball team, will also play on the defensive line and handle the punting duties as well.
At the quarterback position, there are two Indians battling for the starting spot: juniors Andrew Williams (5-10, 150) and Angel Manzanero (5-10, 145).
“They are both battling hard for the starting spot,” Knoop said. “They are both juniors and they both don’t have any varsity experience. Angel is more of a drop-back guy who likes to run and who likes to let things develop and Andrew is really like a running back who can throw, and he can run the ball. They’re both the same when it comes to the cerebral part of the game and understanding what we’re trying to do.
“When they get into the fire it will be interesting to see what happens.”
Returning to anchor the wide receiving corps is junior Oharjee Brown, who Knoop said is a talented player who could play a variety of positions. Also seeing time at receiver will be a crop of juniors: Connor Joyce (6-3, 170), Jake Gnasso (5-10, 150), Devion Baker (5-6, 140 and Joseph Bautista (5-11, 190), who will be a tight end.
“We want to be able to pass with some efficiency,” Knoop said. “We don’t need to throw 30 times a game, but I would like us to be able to complete passes when we need to.”
On defense, Hartman and senior Michael Kim (5-8, 180) will lead the linebacking group. Other linebackers will be Manoukian and junior Dillon Meza (5-4, 165).
Returning to anchor the secondary are junior Sean Johnson (6-0, 165) and Montes.
The defensive line will feature Cruz, Hamm, Bautista, senior Jorge Villa (6-2, 210) and senior Paolo Chuidian (5-11, 195).
“Our defense is going to have to carry us this year,” Knoop said.
Handling the kicking duties is returning junior Jairo Gomez (5-11, 155). Junior Jonathan Fuentes (5-10, 140) could also see time at kicker.
Knoop is hoping the Indians have enough talent to notch a fourth consecutive Pacific League title.¿ However, he said he knows the competition will be stiff.
“Pasadena is going to be a sleeper,” he said. “And I’ve seen Muir scrimmage and they have some talented dudes. It’s going to be a toss-up.”