BURBANK — Burroughs High was one of three Pacific League teams undefeated in league after its first two league contests. The Indians got there with a thrilling second-half comeback against Crescenta Valley last week.
However, on Friday, to remain unblemished, Burroughs would have to take down defending champion Muir, which had outscored its first two league opponents by 72 points in blowout victories.
“We knew how good they were and that we had to play above perfect football to even be in the mix with them,” Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop said of the Mustangs. “They are well-coached and they play at a different level.”
In the end, Burroughs could find no way to rein in Mustangs offense or overcome the dominant play of the Muir defense Friday night at Memorial Field, as the Indians fell, 42-7, in a game that saw the clock running early in the fourth quarter as the Muir lead swelled.
“[Muir is] physical,” Knoop said. “We slowed their offense down a little bit, but their defense, we could just not stop that seven-man blitz.”
So it was Muir, the No. 7 ranked team in the Southeast Division, that stayed among the ranks of the unbeaten by overmatching the host with superior athleticism and physical play.
Burroughs (3-3, 2-1) trailed by just one score at 7-0 after the first quarter. However, the scoreboard was somewhat misleading, as the Mustangs (5-1, 3-0) outgained the Indians 86 to negative-six yards in the quarter. Throughout the contest, the Muir defensive line and blitz overwhelmed the Indians and disrupted their ability to execute the plays called.
“It was kind of frustrating not being able to run the offense we wanted to and the defense not being able to stop them,” Indians senior Conor Joyce said. “They’ve got some good guys. I don’t know, it was a frustrating game.”
The Mustangs were especially keyed in on the run. As a result, Indians tailback Javier Pineda was limited to 28 yards on 17 carries, as Burroughs ran for 12 yards in total.
“We wanted to show Burroughs we could be physical,” Muir Coach John Hardy said. “Our game plan was to stop the run and make them beat us throwing. We executed our game plan to perfection today.”
Muir got rolling in the second quarter, putting up 21 points to lead 28-7 at half. On the second play of the second quarter, Mustang Tony Claxton scored a seven-yard run up the middle. Then with 3:46 to go, Jaylyn Newson scored on a 12-yard run up the middle to push the advantage to 21.
Burroughs answered the Newson touchdown with one of its own. Quarterback Andrew Williams lofted a high pass through the outstretched fingertips of Muir defensive back Dejon Williams, which was caught by Joyce in the end zone for his team’s only touchdown of the night.
“[Williams] actually tipped it,” Joyce said. “I thought he was going to intercept it, but he didn’t.”
The 59-yard drive was aided by the Mustangs, who were flagged for a holding and dead ball personal foul on the drive. Following the flags, Javier Pineda caught an 18-yard screen pass from Williams to get in close.
Burroughs held Muir scoreless in the third quarter, as the defense stepped up. The Indians turned Muir back on a fourth down and goal to go at the one-yard line to prevent a score on the Mustangs’ first possession. Indian Eric Gordon then intercepted Muir quarterback Dejon Williams on their second. However, in general, the Muir signal caller had his way, going 15 of 23 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and the one interception.
Muir had brought up a plethora of underclassman from the junior varsity side for the game. The most successful was Newson. The sophomore (five carries for 30 yards) scored his second touchdown on a six-yard run in the fourth quarter. On the ensuing possession, Williams was picked off by Devonte Cravin, who returned it 46 yards for a touchdown with 10:06 to go. The lead was then at 35 and the benches cleared and a running clock was utilized.
“Muir is a good team and I don’t think we are going to see anyone as good as them until hopefully we’re lucky enough to make the playoffs,” Knoop said.
Memorial Field will also be the site where both teams will play their next Pacific League games. Burroughs will host Hoover on Thursday. On Friday, Muir will be on the road to take on Burbank, the other Pacific League member that entered the evening undefeated after its first two contests, but lost in overtime to Crescenta Valley.
“Next week we play Hoover, who’s not Muir,” Knoop said, “and hopefully we can put it all together and have a good game against them.”