With no shortage of bruising ballcarriers coming out of Burroughs High over the years, it’s no small feat to go down as the most prolific running back in Indians history.
But that’s exactly what Zander Anding did during his epic 2011 senior season, in which he rushed for 2,686 yards in 204 carries and scored 30 total touchdowns, more than enough to put him over the top for the all-time school lead in career rushing yards (3,345) and points scored (250).
“Even with all the great ones we’ve had, he was just so special compared to all of them,” says Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop, who has seen Anding’s most recent predecessors Joe Wiggan, Dominique Barnes and Tadeo Zuniga set a standard of excellence for running backs in the program. “He was just such a well-rounded guy in terms of what he could do. He could break tackles, outrun guys, he could catch, he could play defense, he could do a lot of things.”
Anding etched his name deeply into the Indians’ record books — he broke the single-season rushing record of 2,001 yards and single-game mark of 304, both set by Barnes in 2008 — but also got his name in some pretty lofty company outside of the parameters of the program. Thanks largely to his five games with 300-plus yards rushing, Anding led the state in yards-per-game average (268.6) and his yards-per-carry average of 13.17 led the country, according to Maxpreps.com.
“He’s just so dynamic. Such a smooth runner with such a great burst of speed,” Knoop said. “When he got five or six yards, you were disappointed because you just expected him to go 80 every time.”
With Anding leading the charge, Burroughs went 6-5, shared the Pacific League championship for the third year in a row after ending the regular season with a rivalry win over Burbank and made an appearance in the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs.
“I feel pretty good about [the season I had],” says Anding, who was named Pacific League Player of the Year. “This year [my teammates and I] just wanted to take it game by game and have fun. ...It was a pretty good season.”
Anding’s eye-popping statistics, the historical gravity and national significance of his accomplishments and the dominance he exerted over opponents on a weekly basis led to his unanimous selection as All-Area Player of the Year, as voted on by the sportswriters and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader, La Cañada Valley Sun and Pasadena Sun.
“Coming into this year as a senior with all my friends and pulling that off was just a lot of fun,” Anding says. “All the hard work I put in in the offseason just paid off.
“This year we were definitely more motivated.”
After averaging 157.3 yards per game in three nonleague outings to begin the season, Anding really began to turn it on with the onset of Pacific League play. In the league opener against Pasadena on Sept. 30, Anding exploded for 302 yards and three touchdowns, while also returning a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, to lead Burroughs to a shootout win, 49-34.
“It looked like once he ran the kickoff back on us he got confidence and that’s when he started running very hard,” Pasadena Coach Randy Horton says. “He did a little bit of everything. He ran hard, their line blocked very hard for him, he’s a good running back. He did everything he was supposed to do to have a very successful season.”
The Pasadena game was the first in a series of four straight league games in which Anding topped the 300-yard mark rushing, including the following week in a 41-29 win over defending league co-champion Arcadia and Oct. 13 at Glendale, when he rushed for a Burroughs-record 393 yards, while also recording six total touchdowns in just three quarters of a 70-34 win.
“It just really surprised me,” Anding said of his own performance during the streak.
Against Crescenta Valley on Oct. 20, Anding came up huge again, atoning for a sub-par first half with 249 second-half yards and two touchdowns to finish with 368 yards and lift the Indians to a 35-22 win.
“He’s got such great vision. ...One little inkling of a hole and he’s so fast that he’s gone right through it,” Crescenta Valley Coach Paul Schilling says. “I think we gave him a little trouble in the first half and Coach Knoop did a good job and their offensive line is good too, so they made their adjustments at halftime.
“You just try to do your best [to stop him].”
But the CV game also contained a significant setback for Anding, as at some point during the contest, an opponent’s facemask dug into his rib cage while he was on the bottom of a pile. Anding finished the game, but experienced significant pain in the ensuing days. When he took an X-ray to see if he had a broken rib, it turned out he had a partially collapsed lung, forcing him to miss the Oct. 28 showdown with Muir.
If Anding hadn’t already proven his value to the Indians, it was abundantly clear when the team sputtered to a 28-0 loss without him. Anding would be back the following week, however, to lead Burroughs to a 42-14 win over Hoover, in which he rushed for 220 yards on just six carries.
“It was hard finding out I had a collapsed lung,” Anding says. “I pushed as hard as I could to get back out there.”
Anding finished the league campaign in style, though topping the 300-yard mark once again in a 34-7 win over Burbank on Nov. 11 and eclipsing the league’s all-time season rushing record set in 1997 by Sultan McCullough of Muir.
“We had a really great year,” Anding said of the Indians’ success. “I’m happy with everything that we accomplished this whole season.”