During algebra class at Burroughs High, Doug Dragomer and Bruce Luizzi spend most of their time writing down numbers. The numbers, however, might not necessarily correspond to the X's and Y's in equations on the blackboard.
More likely they correspond to the X's and O's in the football team's playbook.
Before the football season started, Dragomer and Luizzi wrote predictions for each game. During algebra class, however, they allow each other to amend the predictions for that week's game.
"It's something I've always done, for football and for track," Dragomer said. "I write down my goals and see how close I come to them."
So far this season, his overall predictions have been close. The senior running back hoped to have 10 touchdowns, including two on kick or punt returns, by this point in the season. Dragomer is ahead of those forecasts.
He is tied with Lamark Allen of Saugus as the third-leading scorer in the Valley area with 14 touchdowns. And he has scored four different ways. In addition to six touchdowns rushing and five receiving, Dragomer also has helped the Indians on special teams. Against Crescenta Valley two weeks ago, he returned two punts for touchdowns--from 56 and 88 yards--and against La Canada he ran back a kickoff 85 yards for another score.
The only category on his prediction sheet in which Dragomer is running in the red has been rushing statistics. Through six games, he has rushed for a respectable--but not overwhelming--383 yards on 61 carries for a 6.3 average.
"He predicted that he'd have more carries, like 12-15 a game," said Luizzi, a starting safety. "Lately he's only been carrying it seven or eight times."
Said Dragomer: "I hoped to have rushed for about 700 yards by now and 1,200 by the end of the season. We've been scoring so much, I'm usually out of the game by the third quarter. I know that if I stayed in longer, I'd be getting those kind of yards."
It has been Dragomer and friends who have kept Burroughs unbeaten. The Indians are 6-0, 1-0 in Foothill League play, and the top-ranked team in the Northwestern Conference. Burroughs faces its biggest test Friday, playing at home against Hart (5-1, 1-0), the defending conference champion.
Providing the offensive punch for Burroughs, which averages 38.7 points a game, is a close-knit group of friends, most of whom have known each other since elementary school and Pop Warner football days. Dragomer, quarterback Jeff Barrett, tight end Jason Teitel, receiver Kevin Strasser and fullback Wes Bender, all seniors, form the nucleus of the offense that averages 323 yards a game.
"That helps the team because you know how each other will react in certain situations," Dragomer said. "We don't have to worry about the team splitting up after something bad happens. We stick together."
Dragomer has been a surprise this season. A year ago, Danny Cusumano did the bulk of the team's running, gaining 824 yards on 166 carries. Dragomer finished with 436 yards on 86 carries.
Barrett was expected to carry the offensive load after an '86 season in which he passed for a school-record 2,766 yards. Barrett has performed as expected, throwing for 1,065 yards this season and 11 touchdowns. Dragomer's contributions give Burroughs the kind of balance that drives defensive coordinators to the film room for late-night cram sessions.
"We were waiting for him to have this kind of a season," Teitel said. "The only thing we didn't expect were the punt and kickoff returns."
During the off-season, Dragomer strengthened his legs and upper body in the weight room, increasing his bench press to 295 pounds and his squat to 410. Still, at 5-8, 170 pounds, he is not a power-type back who runs over defenders. He runs around them.
"He has deceptive breakaway speed," Coach Butch McElwee said. "I've seen people fall down on his fakes. One on one he's very difficult to bring down. It's hard to get a good hit on him."
Dragomer finished eighth in the 100 meters at the Southern Section 3-A finals last spring. "I don't really juke them, I may just do a head fake or something," Dragomer said. "When I see a guy coming at me, I try to cut off to the side. I'm best in the open field, like on punt returns."
Dragomer realizes that major colleges probably won't be interested in a running back his size. He has, however, been recruited by Washington State, Boise State and San Jose State and remains optimistic.
"Just tell them that I'm willing to play anywhere next year," he said.