BURBANK — While the play of the game may have belonged to Glendale High’s Michael Davis, the night ultimately belonged to Garrett Manoukian and the Burroughs football team.
The Indians senior tailback carried the ball just three times for 31 yards in the first three quarters, but exploded for 155 yards in eight carries and two touchdowns in the fourth to ignite Burroughs’ offense and deliver the team’s first win of the season, 24-7, in Thursday’s Pacific League clash at Memorial Field.
“We stepped it up, definitely, we wanted it,” said Manoukian, whose team trailed, 7-3, going into the fourth quarter. “All it took was a couple of good runs to get these guys pumped up and ready to get going.”
On second and 15 from the Nitros’ 28-yard line with just over a minute gone in the fourth, Manoukian began his rampage by rushing for 21 yards up the middle. He would reach the end zone virtually untouched on the next two plays, both of which were called back on Indians holding penalties off the ball.
Undeterred, Manoukian (186 yards in 11 carries, two touchdowns) got another big hole from his offensive line and went over left tackle and straight to the left corner for the go-ahead score from 20 yards out at the 9:40 mark. Behind a sack from Ermar Cruz, Burroughs forced Glendale to punt from its own 25 after three plays and the Indians went right back to work behind starting tailback Israel Montes (176 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries), who moved the drive 35 yards into Glendale territory. Manoukian took it from there, this time going over right tackle and bouncing out to the left side for a 41-yard score at the 3:57 mark.
After Marquette Williams intercepted Nitros quarterback Kevin Felix in the end zone with 2:55 left to kill Glendale’s last attempt at a comeback, Manoukian added a 48-yard run for good measure to set up Montes’ 27-yard scoring run with 1:51 to play.
“They controlled the ball for most of the game, so I think our defense just ran out of gas at the end of the game,” Glendale Coach John Tuttle said. “We didn’t help our defense out at all offensively. We had a lot of three and outs tonight and negative plays and we can’t afford to have negative plays.”
Glendale (1-4, 0-2 in league) totaled 201 yards on offense, but 47 of Felix’s 83 passing yards came on a hurry-up drive in the fourth after the Indians had already taken a two-score lead and the team’s biggest gain of the night, Davis’ 57-yard touchdown, came on a broken play.
Broken, but spectacular, nonetheless, as Davis took a run around the left end only to run into a wall of tacklers, which he somehow sprang loose from. Running backward as he attempted to reverse field, Davis looked to be hemmed in again around the middle of the field, but he broke several more tackles and reached the right sideline where he got into the open field and blazed past the few remaining Indians on his tail for a 7-3 lead with 49 seconds left in the third quarter.
“It was a great, athletic move by him,” Tuttle said. “He just kept fighting and the guys were blocking and they never gave up either, they did a great job with that and he just used his natural athletic ability to get around the corner. As soon as he gets around the corner, there’s not too many people who are going to be able to catch him. It was just a great play.”
But the Nitros could have used more, particularly in a first half in which the Indians struggled to score.
Burroughs held the ball for all but the final 30 seconds of the first quarter thanks to an 8:37, 14-play scoring drive to open the game and a recovery of a muffed kick return that gave Burroughs another possession before Glendale’s offense got to touch the ball.
But the lead was still only 3-0, as the former drive, paced by 11 carries for 57 yards by Montes, stalled at the Nitros seven-yard line for a 24-yard field goal by Manoukian and the latter, although it reached as deep as the Glendale 11, was derailed by a five-yard penalty, a botched snap for a 19-yard loss and a sack for a 10-yard loss all in succession.
Glendale’s offense didn’t do much once it did get to take the field, racking up just 29 yards from scrimmage in the first half, compared to 126 for the Indians. But the Nitros defense continued to make big plays, forcing two straight punts in the second quarter and getting a key turnover when Ricardo Navarro recovered a Burroughs fumble with 47 seconds left in the half.