NORTH HOLLYWOOD — On an evening when the Burroughs High football team had trouble moving the ball downfield, the Indians’ defense turned downright offensive.
Burroughs tallied two touchdowns on defense, while setting up an additional score on the first of the team’s three take-aways in a 30-7 nonleague victory Thursday evening against host North Hollywood High.
With the win, Burroughs snapped an 11-game nonleague losing streak that dated back to 2009.
“I absolutely thought about that streak and am glad it’s over. What people forget is that we played Hart, Saugus and Canyon during this streak,” Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop said as his team avenged last year’s 19-14 upset loss to the Huskies. “While I thought we had quite a few missed tackles on defense, it was nice to see they had strips and interceptions and turnovers.”
Burroughs (1-1) created breathing room with its offense on the bench and the team leading, 10-0, early in the third quarter.
After the Indians offense punted on its first offensive possession of the second half, the defense went to work.
North Hollywood (0-2) took over at its own 20, but lost 10 yards on a chop-block and then lost possession when Indians senior defensive back Eric Gordon stripped a ball loose from a Huskies running back and then picked up the fumble and scored from 10 yards, which, after a successful point-after attempt from Andres Aguilar, gave the Indians a 17-0 lead with 7:57 left in the game.
“I saw an opening, so I went in there and just took the ball,” said Gordon, who also had a first-half interception. “I just wanted to make a play.”
The defensive score was the first of two in the second half for the Indians, as senior Davion Barker turned in his own spectacular strip in the fourth quarter when he reached out and punched lose the ball out of the grip of Huskies quarterback Michael Zurita on a fourth and one from the Indians’ 14.
Barker grabbed possession at the 12 and ran 88 yards unabated for a stunning touchdown that put Burroughs ahead, 30-0, with 6:53 left in the fourth.
“The offense was having problems, so it was up to the defense to do something,” Barker said. “We had to get off the field.”
Burroughs’ other score was sandwiched in between defensive touchdowns when quarterback Andrew Williams (seven for 10 for 54 yards) took a keeper 40 yards for a touchdown with 1:10 left in the third.
While Burroughs wasn’t exactly dominating, the Indians did control the first half, leading 10-0.
The Indians’ touchdown drive was set up on an interception by Gordon of Zurita at the Huskies’ 45 with 11:16 left in the second quarter.
After a large return from Gordon was negated on an illegal block, Burroughs took over at the Huskies’ 35 and, five plays later, reached the North Hollywood 17 for a crucial fourth and sixth with 6:36 remaining.
The Indians gambled on fourth down, which paid off when Williams connected with wide receiver Conor Joyce (three catches for 38 yards) on a 15-yard pass, which advanced the ball to the Huskies 2.
“Conor is [6-foot-5] and runs a 4.5, so we’ve got to find a way to get him the ball,” Knoop said. “He’s a great target.”
Three plays later, Burroughs sophomore running back Hunter Guerin (three carries for 31 yards) punched in a four-yard power run in which he was hit at the 1, but dragged his player into the end zone.
The extra point from Aguilar put the Indians ahead, 10-0, with 4:51 left in the second quarter.
Aguilar initially put Burroughs on the board when the junior kicker connected on a 32-yard field goal with 1:36 remaining in the first quarter.
Aguilar’s field goal may have been more of a victory for the Huskies than Indians, as North Hollywood’s punt was advanced to the Huskies’ 20 after a solid return and a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty tacked on top of the return.
Burroughs only advanced five yards in three plays before settling for the field goal.
While the Indians’ offense had difficulties at times moving the ball, the defense surrendered only three first downs and 52 yards of total offense. Overall, the Indians held Zurita three for 10 for 19 yards passing, while the Huskies’ ground attack totaled 146 yards on 34 carries (4.3 yards per carry).