High Desert Memories - A Hometown Journal Commemorating Ridgecrest California
Sports over the Years
   We beat Barstow in Barstow, we beat Bishop in Bishop and lost to Trona on our home field, go figure. We were a small team for sure, some of us played the full game offense and defense. But, we did have talent. Roger Short was nothing short (no pun intended) of brilliance in his ability to move the team, hardly anyone could catch Joel Christe and everyone could catch Gary Koehler, he just carried them with him until he couldn't move anymore and nobody could move Don Wright. Clay Carroll didn't know the meaning of the word fear, but then he didn't know the meaning of a lot of words, like most of us, but he did know how to run, pass and catch, he was the real triple threat. And, of course, there is Mr. O' Meara, what a great coach he  was!   He certainly changed my attitude about how to play football. I remember his advice one hot and sweaty practice when we were all just about ready to lay down and die, he said, "work when you're  tired, that will help you when you really need the extra push" and I still think of those words when I get tired and just don't want to go on, but somehow I find the energy I need.

Everybody will tell you about all the wonderful memories and fun they had, if you were lucky enough to be on a winning team and I know each team has it's own special place in the history of Burroughs, but I am thankful and proud to have been a part of the '55 tri-championship team.

Jim Lloyd

Kaiser Rallies to preserve Title

His options limited at running back with Cameron Lonzo sidelined because of a broken ankle, Fontana Kaiser Coach Dick Bruich turned to hulking defensive lineman Bernard Afutiti.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior, typically reserved for short-yardage situations, responded with 93 yards rushing and four touchdowns in 16 carries Saturday at Fontana High to lead Kaiser to its second consecutive Southern Section Division VIII football title with a 41-31 victory over Ridgecrest Burroughs.

"I thought they were going to get me the ball in desperate situations," said Afutiti, who had five touchdowns entering the game. "But I guess Coach [Bruich] really believed in me."

Afutiti gave the top-seeded Cats (13-1) a dependable alternative to tailback Rayvonne Gooden, who gained 282 yards and scored two touchdowns in 42 carries. Kaiser rushed for 375 yards and outgained the Burros, 381 yards to 320.

Afutiti scored three touchdowns in the second half as Kaiser rallied from a 24-21 halftime deficit. He rushed for touchdowns of eight and nine yards in the third quarter to put the Cats ahead, 34-24.

The second-seeded Burros (12-2) made it 34-31 late in the third quarter when quarterback Karsten Sween connected with Will Johnson for a 27-yard touchdown. But Afutiti put the game out of reach with a five-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.

Anthony Celestine made a one-handed catch on a 70-yard scoring pass play, completed a 63-yard pass for a touchdown on a fake punt and recovered an onside kick for Burroughs.

Sween completed 23 of 38 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Celestine had 10 catches for 180 yards.

— Ben Bolch

CIF Referee Praises Sportsmanship of Burros

Editor’s note:  The following is a letter addressed to Burroughs High School Athletic Director, Don Crouse after the Burros’ 53-31 win in the CIF-SS Division VIII semifinals against Serrano.  It was written by one of the game’s officiating crew.

Saturday night I had the pleasure of being the referee for your football game versus Serrano.
Mr. Crouse was there to meet us and direct us to our dressing area, where the checks were laid out with a snack and coupons for the snack bar, a touch we very seldom see.
Mr. Crouse also corrected us that the school emblem was a burro, not a donkey!  (Nancy here:  the new symbol for Burroughs looks like a donkey, not the cute little burro of our time!)
The side line personnel and staff were polite, friendly and very efficient.
Your spectators were friendly as we went to the field.  The crowd noise and cheering were just great.  All in all, it was like stepping back to the 50’s when I started officiating.
You, of course, are used to this.  However, it’s not what we see week to week!
Congratulations to you and your school for keeping these very outstanding standards.
It was well worth the six-hour round trip.

Rolf Rahl
California Interscholastic Federation Referee
   This year Burroughs fielded a championship grade team.   They went to the CIF finals where they were bested after a very competitive and hard fought game.  Congratulations to the Men of Burros who put out the effort to go so far.  You have made us all Proud.
Remote Possibilities

* Burroughs' success rekindles pride in isolated Ridgecrest

The desolate area surrounding Ridgecrest, about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles, is dotted with natural wonders.

Spectacular rock formations and panoramic vistas contribute to an otherworldly landscape that draws sightseers as well as Hollywood filmmakers seeking the right backdrop for science-fiction projects.

"Out of this world" also describes the remarkable season of the Ridgecrest Burroughs football team, which is playing in its first Southern Section final in 29 years. The Burros (12-1) will meet defending champion Fontana Kaiser (12-1) at 7 tonight for the Division VIII title at Fontana High.

For the last few months, Burroughs games have been the main attraction in this desert town of 25,000, rekindling a sense of school spirit and community pride.

Tommy Mather, 58, said this may be the best Burroughs team since he began regularly attending games — in 1957. All four of his sons played football for the school, and one of them, Todd, is a member of the coaching staff.

"These kids don't realize they're playing for us, for the whole community," said Mather, owner of a local sports bar. "We're living through them."

Students, parents and boosters will fill several buses for today's three-hour drive to Fontana, eager to cheer for a team featuring a high-powered passing attack and an opportunistic defense with a knack for causing turnovers.

Burroughs, which was founded in 1944, has reached a section title game only once before, losing to now-defunct Norwalk Neff, 59-21, in the 1974 2-A Division final. Principal Ernie Bell, 44, remembers watching that game as a sophomore, and he said a similar sense of excitement has energized Ridgecrest this week.

"The same thing is happening right now," Bell said. "Everything's abuzz. When you're a small town, that's the only thing going."

Portable bleachers were brought in last week to accommodate a crowd of 5,000 for Burroughs' semifinal home game against Serrano.

After the Burros' 53-31 victory, Bell was among five administrators and coaches who had their heads shaved in the locker room, a tradition that started several weeks ago at the outset of an eight-game winning streak. Bell agreed to be shorn if the team reached the final.

"Sure enough, we had a little party in the locker room Saturday night," he said. "It was fun."

Burroughs quarterback Karsten Sween is also having the time of his life. Though he had never started a varsity game before this season, Sween has set nearly all of the school's season passing records, completing 219 of 364 passes (60.2%) for 3,438 yards and 37 touchdowns with only eight interceptions.

The left-handed junior enjoyed his best game last week against Serrano, passing for school records of 506 yards and six touchdowns.

"The kid's poise is remarkable," Burroughs Coach Jeff Steinberg said. "That's why his yardage is the way it is, because he makes smart decisions."

Sween isn't the first member of his family to excel in football. His uncle, Brant Tunget, played linebacker on the 1974 Burroughs team that reached the final and was a tight end at Fresno State.

Tunget has driven from his Sacramento home, an 800-mile round trip, to attend all of Burroughs' playoff games.

"He's a real inspiration for me," Sween said. "We were joking around that it just took another player with Tunget blood to get [Burroughs] back to the championship game."

Actually, Sween credits an offensive line that has allowed few sacks and a talented group of receivers led by senior Anthony Celestine, who has 89 catches for 1,868 yards and 23 touchdowns.

The Burros are averaging 420 yards a game with an offense that uses four or five receivers on nearly every play. They also like to use a no-huddle scheme, with Sween calling the plays, to keep defenses off balance.

But the offense's success is largely because of a swarming, ball-hawking defense. Burroughs has caused 43 turnovers and committed only 13. Creating turnovers has given the offense good field position.

"We're a lot more speed than size," said senior safety Peter Ghilardi, explaining the defensive unit's strength. "Other teams always think they're going to run over us, but we're quick and physical."

Ghilardi had two interceptions, his first of the season, last week against Serrano. He and senior linebacker Trevor Barney lead the team in tackles.

Most of the players grew up in Ridgecrest and played together in the city's youth football program, establishing an early camaraderie and trust that many associate with Burroughs' success.

"We don't have any real big, Division I kids," Principal Bell said. "We've got an entire team that plays with heart. It's hard to find that kind of chemistry."

Burroughs has not lost since a 27-20 setback to Ventura St. Bonaventure on Oct. 10 in a nonleague game at Moorpark College. St. Bonaventure, which had a 13-0 record before losing to Westlake Village Westlake in the Division IV final Friday, held on after intercepting a Sween pass in the end zone in the final seconds.

In winning their last eight games, the Burros have averaged 46 points.

Despite the drawbacks of living in a small, isolated town — traveling to away games usually entails bus rides of about three hours — Steinberg said Ridgecrest's plusses outweigh the minuses. The primary industry is the Naval Air Weapons Station that borders the town.

"Initially, it was concern of mine because I was raised in a big city," said Steinberg, who grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, and has been at Burroughs six years. "Now that I'm here, it's the best of both worlds. We're close enough that we can go to the beach, go to the city.

"But [Ridgecrest] has that small-town atmosphere where people know each other, they support what the kids are doing and there's virtually no crime."

Sween also appreciates the simple life. His family moved a few years ago from San Luis Obispo to Inyokern, a town of 970 just outside of Ridgecrest that bills itself as the "Sunshine Capital of America."

"I like it because there are fewer distractions," he said. "I can be more focused on football."

Sween's goal is to earn a scholarship to a Division I college. But tonight his focus will be on helping Burroughs — and an entire town — make a little history.
Borrowed from the Bakersfield California web site..........

Burroughs wins Kern County's third section championship of the weekend

By STEVE VIRGEN, Californian staff writer, e-mail: svirgen@bakersfield.com

Posted: Saturday December 10th, 2005, 11:43 PM
Last Updated: Saturday December 10th, 2005, 11:43 PM

PALM SPRINGS — It took some faith, a little bit of resiliency and a whole lot of Hayo for Burroughs High to win its first Southern Section title in football.

KW Associates, Realtors KW Associates, Realtors KW Associates, Realtors
Hayo, as in Rogelio, Carpenter caught six passes for 194 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Burros to a 42-30 victory over Palm Springs in the Division VIII title game Friday night at Palm Springs High.

Both teams were vying for their first championship in football — Palm Springs had quarterback Scott Saunders making big plays, but it was Carpenter who made the bigger ones.

The victory gives Kern County three section football championships, as the Burros join Bakersfield High (Central Section, Division I) and West High (Central Section, Division II), which both won on Friday night.
Congratulations Burroughs
on winning your first Championship!!!!
This from the Ridgecrest Daily Independent Dec. 11, 2005:

Burros wins 42-30: Ridgecrest
celebrates win against Palm Springs

By Sports Editor
Nathan Ahle/disportsdesk@ridgecrestca.com

The Burroughs High School football team won its first CIF-Southern Section championship in the school’s 61-year history, as the Burros defeated the Palm Springs Indians 42-30 Saturday night.

As the final gun sounded, Burro fans, which numbered among the thousands, rushed onto the field as players and coaches embraced. Head Coach Jeff Steinberg accepted the gold championship plaque from the CIF officials on the field and held it aloft.

The Burros opened the scoring on their opening series with a 39-yard field goal by Luis Tejeda after an opening return by Hayo Carpenter to the Palm Springs 49-yard line.

After a Palm Springs three-and-out series, Carpenter racked up another long return, this one to the Indians’ 46, and the Burros capitalized on their second play, as Anthony Williams blocked a Palm Springs defender and Carpenter ran a completed pass from David LaFromboise 44 yards for a score. Despite a missed extra point, the Burros held a 9-0 lead with 5:31 to go in the first quarter.

On the final play of the first quarter, the locals caught a break. On fourth down, Palm Springs kicker Chase Aaronson attempted a field goal, but the snap was bad. Aaronson tried to throw, but Ron Marker intercepted for BHS and returned the ball inside Indian territory.

LaFromboise completed another Burroughs scoring drive with a 25-yard completion to Carpenter. This time the point after was good and the Burros led 16-0.

Bryan Cloud put Palm Springs on the scoreboard with a four-yard touchdown run at 6:04 of the second period, and QB Scott Saunders scored a two-point conversion to cut the lead to 16-8.

Tejeda struck back for Burroughs on the next series with a 37-yard field goal to put BHS in front 19-8, but Quade Soffel hauled in a six-yard pass from Saunders with just under a minute to play before halftime, and with the two-point conversion BHS led only 19-16.

With a strong kickoff return by Carpenter, Burroughs put itself into position to score again, as Tejeda drilled a 27-yarder on the final play of the period to send the locals into the locker room with a 22-16 lead.

In a defensively dominated third quarter, both Burroughs and Palm Springs moved up and downfield on offensive series but were unable to score.

As the fourth quarter began, Williams put the Burros back in the driver’s seat with a rushing touchdown at the 10:44 mark to extend the BHS lead to 28-16.

Palm Springs’ offense was unable to make a dent in the defense, which clamped down harder as the game went on.

Carpenter hauled in another touchdown, a 25-yard strike from LaFromboise that seemed to be a back-breaker, as Indians fans began to leave.

Saunders threw another touchdown pass with 3:20 to go, and attempted to hold the Burros on defense, but Carpenter capped the scoring with an 82-yard touchdown catch that ended the drama and began the celebration.

Afterward, Burroughs players and fans were at a loss for words.

“It feels great,” said Carpenter. “It felt great coming out, all those morning workouts paid off at the end.”

“Words can’t even say how it feels,” Williams said. “It’s the best feeling of my life to this point.”

“We as parents are so proud of this team and their fans,” said Lori Parker, co-president of the Football Parents’ Organization. “You couldn’t ask for better community support - Burroughs rocks the house!”
Burroughs High School celebrates their victory Saturday night. (left to right) Ben Tankersley (10), Victor Rico (21) and Travis Flores-Lee (35). Daily Independent Photo By Mike Delaney
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1 = The beginning              6 = Classes of the 70's        11 =  News of Note                 
2 = New high school           7 = Classes of the 80's        12 = AG-II
3 = Classes of the 40's         8 = Classes of the 90's        13 = AG-II (Cont'd)
4 = Classes of the 50's         9 = Classes of the 2000's    14 = Class of 56 50th
5 = Classes of the 60's
        10 = Sports page                15 =  BHS 60th Anniversary
1 = The beginning              6 = Classes of the 70's        11 =  News of Note                 
2 = New high school           7 = Classes of the 80's        12 = AG-II
3 = Classes of the 40's         8 = Classes of the 90's        13 = AG-II (Cont'd)
4 = Classes of the 50's         9 = Classes of the 2000's    14 = Class of 56 50th
5 = Classes of the 60's
        10 = Sports page                15 =  BHS 60th Anniversary