WHITTIER — The Burroughs High football team ran into a buzz saw when it faced a relentless offense and suffocating defense in its first round CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoff game Friday evening.
Both strengths proved to be too much for the Indians, who were overwhelmed and outmatched in a 55-7 loss to No. 3 seed La Serna at California High.
The defeat ends the season for a Burroughs squad that improved from last season’s 4-6 overall record to finish 6-5. The Indians also had 5-2 record the Pacific League for third place — just two years removed from capturing a share of the league title.
“We finished above .500, played some good football and did some things well,” Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop said. “We started the season a little slow, but once league started we were off and running. The last two games haven’t been well played, though.”
Knoop is referring to the team’s 47-21 loss to Burbank that gave the Bulldogs the second seed in the Pacific League, and also pitting Burroughs in a road game against a La Serna team that won five straight games to close out the season, outscoring opponents, 233-36.
The solid play of La Serna on both sides of the ball was on full display at the expense of the Indians in the first-round playoff contest. La Serna (9-2) scored a touchdown on all but two of its drives, and both drives being halted because time ran out in each half.
The Lancers accumulated 377 yards of total offense, led by quarterback Frankie Palmer who completed seven passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns. The senior also ran for two touchdowns and paced the team with 94 yards on the ground.
On the flipside, Burroughs managed 129 yards of the total offense, and struggled to maintain possession to the tune of five turnovers.
“Against a team like this, we couldn’t afford to not play at our best,” Knoop said. “You can’t fumble on the first snap. They are so well coached and their players are so disciplined.”
After the Lancers scored on the game’s opening drive in just over a minute, a miscommunication on a hand-off resulted in a Burroughs fumble that gave the ball back to the Lancers on the Indians’ 7-yard line.
Two plays later, La Serna held a 14-0 lead with only 1:26 elapsed in the game.
Burroughs didn’t get into La Serna territory until midway through the second quarter. A holding penalty on the Lancers gave the Indians the ball on the 34. The next play saw backup quarterback Angel Manzanero’s pass get picked off.
The interception led to an 18-yard touchdown from Palmer to give the Lancers a 41-0 cushion.
A running clock in the second half allowed for five combined possessions, but two more turnovers resulted in 14 points for the Lancers.
Manzanero’s six-yard touchdown pass to Max Chamberlain capped off a nine-play, 52-yard drive and put the Indians on the scoreboard with less than five minutes remaining in the contest. Manzanero also rushed for 41 yards, including nine on a fourth down play on the scoring drive.
Manzanero is one of 36 seniors on Burroughs. Junior Michael Ospina led the Indians with 61 yards in 10 carries.
“I’m disappointed we couldn’t play with some of our best kids,” said Knoop, who was without defensive end Hawkins Mann, among others. “I hope the seniors can erase the previous two games from their minds.”