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Indians hope to roll

With a big line and a new running back, Burroughs looks to reload in quest to win third straight league title.

August 31, 2011|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(Tim Berger Staff…)

Like its two cross-town counterparts, the Burroughs High football team has been dislodged from its home field this season.

However, unlike Burbank High, the Indians also lost their practice facility, as Memorial Field continues to be under renovation. That means along with having to play all of their games on the road during the 2011 campaign, the Indians also have been forced to hold their practices off campus, spending the summer at Luther Burbank Middle School.

Burroughs is also dealing with another loss, as more than 25 seniors from last season's co-Pacific League championship team graduated.

The biggest losses were quarterback Lucas Yanez (1,965 yards passing, 19 touchdowns throwing and nine rushing touchdowns), running back Tadeo Zuniga (1,241 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns), linebacker Casey Barbello (144 tackles) and lineman Nick Brown (60 tackles).

Yanez was a three-year starter and was instrumental in helping lead Burroughs to league championships during his junior and senior seasons. He ended his career as the No. 2 all-time passer in school history and made the top 10 list among rushers.

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"You just don't replace someone like Lucas Yanez," Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop said.

Despite the departures, Knoop likes what he sees with this year's group.

"It looks good for us," said Knoop, whose team opens the season at 7:30 p.m. Thursday with a nonleague Zero Week game against Saugus at Canyon High. "Our weak spot in terms of just experience is going to be our linebackers. We had all returning guys last year and our only returner this season is [5 -foot-9, 170-pound senior] Kody Jensen."

Burroughs did inherit a number of players from a successful junior varsity team that went 9-1 last season and won its third consecutive league championship.

"It's important that those guys learned what it takes to be successful last season on the JV level," Knoop said. "If kids aren't used to winning, sometimes it's something that you have to teach them. These guys know what to expect on the varsity level and the expectations are definitely there."

Last season, the varsity team went 7-5 after beginning the season with three consecutive nonleague losses. The Indians went on to post a 6-1 league mark in league, sharing the title with Arcadia. It was Burroughs' second consecutive crown.

The Indians also did well in the first round of the Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs, notching the program's first postseason win in 23 years with a 41-21 victory against El Rancho.

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