For people in and around Ridgecrest, watching the Burroughs High football team the past three seasons is a bit like Philadelphia basketball fans watching the 76ers. It was about trusting the process.
Only these Burros are now at the top of their game.
Todd Mather is in his seventh season as the head coach of the Burros, heading into Friday night’s Southern Section Division IX championship game at home against San Bernardino-Aquinas. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Before he took over the high school program, he coached at the youth level.
According to Mather, 18 of the 25 seniors on roster for Burroughs have played together since they were 7 years old.
“The community has known about this team,” Mather said. “I was down at the youth level as their coach before I took this job. They finished their youth career as 55-1. They went 10-0 as freshmen, then I had to start 14 of them as sophomores.”
That season in 2015, the Burros went 5-7. They then lost in the opening round of the section playoffs last year.
Now, as seniors, those same kids that all began together a decade ago are 11-2, with the only losses coming to Lancaster-Paraclete (playing Friday in the D-V championship game) and Apple Valley (lost in the semifinals last week).
“We’ve known about this team,” Mather said. “I’ve had people tell me seven years ago that this was the next CIF championship team during youth football. Now, here we are going for it.”
One of the seniors leading Burroughs is Brock Mather, Todd’s son.
Brock leads the team with 113 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.
“It’s very, very exciting to be able to enjoy these memories with him,” Mather said. “I enjoy it more as a coach to watch my son suit up. It’s been awesome and he is a big reason we are here. I will shed some tears watching him play in a game like this.”
Burroughs' last section title came in a 42-30 win over Palm Springs in the 2004 D-VIII championships.