BURBANK — It appears that the remedy to one of the worst first halves of play for the Burroughs High football team was perhaps the team’s best two-quarter action of the season Friday night in Pacific League play versus visiting Crescenta Valley High.
The Indians recovered from a 17-point deficit fueled by two turnovers in scoring the game’s final 24 points en route to an improbable and unforgettable 24-17 win over the Falcons at Memorial Field.
“Hey, we were the underdog. Everyone was telling us that we didn’t have Crescenta Valley’s offense and we had no defense,” Indians Coach Keith Knoop said. “What we had was a plan that we finally stuck to in the second half and were able to get the win.”
Junior wide receiver Aidan Anding capped the wild comeback when he took an inside pass from quarterback Andrew Williams (10 for 19 for 102 yards) and juked two defenders before finding his way into the end zone from 37 yards which, after a point-after from Andres Aguilar, gave the Indians their first lead, 24-17, with 53 seconds left.
“We never gave up. It feels great to get this win,” Anding said.
One play earlier, Burroughs (3-2, 2-0 in league) was given the gift of great field position when a high snap over the head of Falcons’ punter Kevin Hello resulted in an emergency punt from the senior that traveled eight yards.
“The difference today was that Burroughs made all the plays in the second half and we didn’t,” Falcons Coach Paul Schilling said. “Turnovers — I hate them, but what isn’t considered a turnover, even though it should be, was that snap that just killed us.”
Crescenta Valley (4-1, 1-1) grabbed possession at its 32 with 47.5 seconds remaining, but only drove seven yards in turning the ball over on downs.
Turnovers are indeed what breathed life into the Indians as the Falcons committed three.
Burroughs, which trailed 17-3 entering the fourth quarter, pulled within a possession on a 25-yard touchdown off tackle right from running back Javier Pineda (22 carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns) with 6:08 remaining in the game.
The Falcons took over possession at their 25 after the ensuing kickoff, but gave the ball right back to Burroughs thanks to an interception from Steven Santeliz off a deflection from teammate Anthony Archuleta.
Two plays later, Pineda scored again on a 53-yard cutback touchdown that knotted the game at 17 with 3:58 remaining.
“We knew we could run the ball and the offensive line started opening up big holes,” Pineda said.
Again, the Falcons gave the Indians the ball back, this time via fumble at the Falcons’ 27.
Yet, the Falcons’ defense held Burroughs to negative one yard over their next three plays before senior Austin Brines deflected a potential game-winning 45-yard field goal from Aguilar with 2:16 left in the game.
The Falcons dominated a first half and led the Indians, 17-0, aided in part by two turnovers.
Hello intercepted an errant pass with 2:41 in the first and returned the ball to the Indians’ 27.
Two straight incompletions from quarterback Brian Gadsby (21 for 35 for 248 yards for one touchdown and two interceptions) was followed by a 19-yard strike to junior Jordan Lobianco (nine catches for 109 yards).
After a false start call, Gadsby hit receiver Chase Walker for a 13-yard touchdown, which came with 1:41 remaining and put the Falcons up, 17-0.
Crescenta Valley’s first touchdown, though, was its most spectacular as a double pass from Gadsby to Walker resulted in a 64-yard wide open pass play to Ben Rees at the 8:05 mark in the first quarter.
The score came on the heels of a strip tackle from freshman Tyler Hill, on what was a 44-yard run from Burroughs, which was recovered by the opportunistic Hello at the Falcons’ 36.
Crescenta Valley also added a 28-yard field goal from freshman Alex Atanackovic with 10:38 left in the first, while Burroughs had a 32-yard try in the second quarter sail wide left that quashed the Indians’ best drive of the game.