VALENCIA — It was an inauspicious way to start the Rand Holdren era for the Burroughs High football team.
Holdren, in his first year as head coach, and his Indians made their 2018 debut Thursday evening in a season-opening contest against a ranked West Ranch squad at Valencia High.
Burroughs stumbled from the get-go and suffered through a disastrous first half. As a result, the Wildcats were able to take advantage and down the Indians, 54-0, in a nonleague contest.
“We knew [West Ranch] was a good team, a well-coached team, we knew it would be a big challenge,” said Holdren, who; served as an assistant at Harvard-Westlake as well as at Alemany before taking over the Burroughs program. “But 54-0 is not what we anticipated.
“We had a good game plan, I thought we had a good idea of what we should be doing, but we had a couple of guys go down.”
It was a first half of struggles by Burroughs that set the tone for the game against West Ranch (2-0), which is ranked No. 9 in CIF Southern Section Division IX.
In the opening two quarters, the Indians could muster just 36 yards of total offense and gained just two first downs. Add four turnovers to the mix and the Wildcats surged to a 54-0 advantage at the half.
“We just have to execute, that’s what it comes down to,” Holdren said. “We’ll go back to the deal tomorrow …You take some of this and you throw it away and you take some of this and you remember it.
“West Ranch is good, there’s no doubt about that. The frustrating part is we did not put what we’ve been doing on the field tonight. You have to respect your opponent, you’ve got to execute and you have to do what you’re supposed to do.”
Burroughs’ biggest offensive output came from sophomore Luke Rogers, who had 15 carries for 38 yards.
The Indians, who had just four total first downs in the game, finished with 47 yards of total offense. In a second half that featured a running clock, Burroughs had a single possession that ended with a dropped pass on fourth down at the West Ranch 23-yard line.
“We didn’t tackle well, we didn’t take care of the ball well, we didn’t run our offense well, we didn’t run our defense well,” Holdren. “It’s just back to the drawing board.”
The Wildcats put 20 points on the board in the first quarter and poured it on with 34 more in the second quarter.
Burroughs got to the West Ranch 35 yard-line in the first half with 2:32 left in the opening quarter. But Wildcats senior Ryan Camacho picked off a Nathan Piper pass and returned it 77 yards for a touchdown and a 20-0 West Ranch lead.
At running back, Camacho had six carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns (13 and 51 yards). Wildcats senior quarterback Weston Eget, who played primarily in the first half, completed eight of 15 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns of 26, 42 and 64 yards.
The Burroughs defense did hold West Ranch scoreless in the second half, stopping the Wildcats from scoring after having first and goal from the 9-yard line with just over two minutes left in the game.
“We’ll try not to think about this too much,” Piper said. “I am still going to fight for this team and I hope they are going to still fight with me.
“This is just the beginning of the season and we still have a lot of games left.”