RIDGECREST, Calif. - This Friday just handful of schools will get the chance to complete a season long goal and play for a section title. But in Kern County, there's just one.
After being noticed for the patriotic display showed before a game earlier this year the Burroughs High School football team was put on the map. But this year's players are trying to make sure people also remember their play on the field.
All week the team's coaches have been blaring music over their stadium speakers to get the Burros ready for the noise they’ll face Friday night.
But this group of players was making noise long before they made it to this week’s Division 9 section title game. “It was shutouts every week and running clocks early in the first half," said head coach Todd Mather (11-2 record). "They were just special right from the start.”
Because Ridgercrest only has *one* high school with just *one* youth team, the players have been together their whole lives. “We all end up in the same place together and we just know how to play together," said senior linebacker Brock Mather. "We’ve been doing it our whole lives.”
Despite the chemistry, it’s been an uphill battle. “We’re always outmanned and outsized," said senior quarterback Austin Griffin "But we always find a way to win.”
That battle made more difficult Griffin. He missed all of his junior year with a back injury. Then, this year, he went down again in week seven. “Very heartbreaking especially—he was still texting me that night at 3:30 asking me 'Coach I don’t understand why? I just don’t know why this happened to me after I’ve worked so hard to come back," Mather said. "It’s really a miracle he’s here doing what he’s doing now.”
Despite the injury he’s led the Burrors to where they are now; just a win away from the second title in school history. "His life’s changed because of that injury and he’s willing to play hurt for all of us," said senior defensive end Jack Sherret.
Griffin has inspired his team but that team has inspired the Ridgecrest community. 24 hours before the game, hundreds attended a bonfire at the school. “To be the last one in Kern County, yeah it means something to us," Mather said. "We’re on the very outskirts of Kern County and we don’t want you to forget about us.”
Burroughs will host Aquinas Friday 12/1 in the CIF-SS D-IV title game with kick-off set for 7:00 PM.