When Daniel Jacobs took the floor as a starter for the Burroughs High boys' volleyball team more than three years ago as a sophomore, he knew what he was stepping into.
"There is a tradition of volleyball at Burroughs, for sure," said Jacobs, an outside hitter who finished up his senior season. "When you play for club teams or go to tournaments they know about Burroughs volleyball. There is a reputation there."
Players who have come before Jacobs, talented athletes like Tyler and Lucas Yanez, Josh and Daniel Marbach, Ike Nwachie and Robby Rutecki have put Burroughs on the volleyball map in Southern California in a very short time, as the program was revived just six years ago.
"We have sent a large group of players to college from our program," said Indians Coach Joel Brinton, who has been at the helm of the program he helped to bring back since 2007. "A lot of programs that have been around a lot longer than we have don't send the amount of players to college that we do."
Under Brinton's guidance, the Indians have won or shared four straight Pacific League championships and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division III title match in 2010.
Realizing the legacy he had to help uphold, Jacobs was focused and determined during his senior season for Burroughs.
"I just wanted to do everything that I could to help the team win," Jacobs said. "I just tried to work as hard as I could and give it my all out there. I just wish I could have done more."
Jacobs did plenty.
The senior was a valuable weapon for the Indians this past season. Not only was he a force from the outside, but his powerful serve kept opponents off-balance and his improved defensive skills proved to be an asset.
Jacobs was named the co-Pacific League Player of the Year along with Claremont's Stephen Zetterberg, who is headed to UC San Diego. He led Burroughs in kills and helped the team win a share of the league crown with rival Claremont. In addition, Jabobs was named an All-CIF Division II and an All-Area first-team pick.
"Daniel was able to lead us in kills the last three years, since he was a sophomore," Brinton said. "In our program, that's saying something.
"He has just done some amazing things during the time he was at Burroughs. When you look back at the great players we've had over the years and to see when he's been able to accomplish, it's pretty impressive."
It is because of his accomplishments that Jacobs has been named the 2012-13 Burbank Leader Male Athlete of the Year.
Knowing that he had to be more of a defensive presence during his senior season, Jacobs elevated his game. He ended the season with a wealth of impressive accomplishments. He led the team with 219 kills and 36 aces, to go along with 110 digs and 15 blocks. He ended his career at Burroughs as the program's all-time kill leader with 729.
"I don't know if we're ever going to see another player come through our program who is going to put up kills numbers like that," Brinton said. "I would like to see it eventually, but it will take a vary talented player to surpass what Daniel did."
Said Jacobs: "I was pretty happy with what I was able to accomplish at Burroughs. We had some success as a team and I was able to play with some great teammates. I'll never forget the bonds that I made and the friendships that I had on the team … those are memories that I will never forget."
What baffled many opponents this past season was Jacob's devastating serve. On many occasions, Jacobs was able to turn around a game or help the Indians make a run by rattling of a series of winning serves.
"A lot of what he does with his serve is natural ability," Brinton said. "Yes, he does practices this serve a lot, but that power is just in him. I have been playing volleyball for years and I don't have the power that he does. And I could probably play for 10 more years and still not have that kind of power."
Jacobs seemed to be able to elevate his game for the most important matches of the season. In the first Pacific League contest against rival Claremont, he had 26 kills, which was second-best in program history. Unfortunately, the Indians lost a close match in five games. However, in the rematch, Jacobs tallied 24 kills (No. 3 all-time) to lift Burroughs to a 17-25, 27-25, 25-22, 25-17 win that secured it a share of the championship.
Beating Claremont on the road after losing the first game against the Wolfpack was one of Jacobs' fondest memories during his senior campaign.
"Playing in their gym is a very tough place to play," he said. "And it made it even tougher when we lost that first game. We knew that we were going to have a tough match. But I was so proud of the way we battled back and we were able to come away with the win.
"We knew we had to win that game or we wouldn't get the league title. But the guys came out and they were really motivated and we were able to win it."
Jacobs helped the Indians to another prosperous season. Along with a 21-8 record and a share of the league crown, Burroughs advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs.
Now that his high school career is behind him, Jacobs will move on to play at L.A. Pierce College in Woodland Hills. Last season, the Brahmas won a Western State Conference championship and advanced to the semifinals of the state playoffs.
Pierce has become a successful pipeline for former Burroughs players. Playing on last season's team were the Yanez brothers, Rutecki and Nwachie.
"Pierce also has a good record of sending guys on to bigger colleges," said Jacobs, who will likely be joined on the team by Indians teammate BJ Lagmay. "I'm looking forward to playing for the team and just competing on the college level."
With his departure from the Burroughs program, Jabobs leaves a legacy and a body of work that won't easily be duplicated.
"It's been fun, that's for sure," Jacobs said.