By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
Before a raucous capacity crowd at Memorial Field, Burbank won its second consecutive game against rival Burroughs, 47-21, in the 65th renewal of the “Big Game.” The Bulldogs had not beaten the Indians in back-to-back years since the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
“It feels amazing honestly,” Burbank senior Sebby Santoro said. “I’ve never lost to them so it’s a great feeling.”
Santoro and the senior class defeated the Indians at the freshman and junior varsity levels and the last two seasons on the varsity.
The victory marked the third win in the rivalry over the last five years for Burbank, its best stretch in the cross-town duel since winning three straight from 1983 through 1985.
Meanwhile, the 26-point loss marked the worst defeat by Burroughs at the hands of Burbank since suffering a 28-0 loss to BHS in 1984.
It was the most points scored ever by Burbank against Burroughs in the 65-year history of the BIG GAME. In 1969, Burbank won, 44-8.
Burbank (8-2, 5-2 in league) tied Burroughs (6-4, 5-2) and Crescenta Valley (8-2, 5-2) for second place behind league champion, Muir (9-1, 7-0). A coin flip held prior to the game gave Burbank the second place entry for the CIF Playoffs, followed by Burroughs in third and CV in fourth. As a result, the Indians are also guaranteed a berth in the CIF Playoffs that begin next Friday.
“It was nerve-racking,” Burbank coach Hector Valencia said. “Our message to our kids all week was that this could be your last week. This could be our last game. That was the philosophy we had. A lot of our kids took it to heart. It was a reality check. They came out prepared and focused.”
The one-two punch of James “Slice” Williams (173 yards on 23 carries) and Joseph “Dice” Pendleton (132 yards on 14 carries) was too much to handle for JBHS as the two talented running backs sliced and diced their way to the tune of 305 combined rushing yards and six touchdowns.
Not even a spirited effort by Hawkins “MANNimal” Mann and the Indians defense could slow down the Bulldogs duo.
“My goal is to beat Burroughs every year I’m here,” Williams said. “I haven’t lost to Burroughs and I’m not planning on it.”
Williams is only a junior.
Carving out holes for them was senior offensive lineman Mark Salgado.
“We work together as a team. As seniors we have to lead. As a left guard, I may not be the biggest but I sure as hell will block my butt off,” Salgado said. “It means a lot to a lineman to have a game like this. To put up points is a lineman’s number one thing.
“This means the absolute world to me. This is the fourth year in a row I have beaten Burroughs. It’s another year of bragging rights.”
Williams and Pendleton led a 30-0 third quarter surge for Burbank that blew the game wide open.
“That was awesome,” Valencia said. “It was a whole team effort. Our kids executed what they needed to do.”
Leading 17-14 at the half, Burbank turned to Williams to make things happen. On the Bulldogs’ first possession of the second half, Williams scored on an incredible 38-yard run where he leaped over one Burroughs player and sidestepped several others en route to the end zone.
After forcing Burroughs to punt, Pendleton exploded out of the backfield and down the Burbank sideline on a 62-yard gallop that gave the Bulldogs a 31-14 lead with 6:53 remaining in the quarter.
The floodgates opened when Williams scampered on a 29-yard touchdown run and Pendleton added a 17-yard score to make it 47-14 late in the third quarter. The Bulldogs also had a safety after a Burroughs’ miscue on a poor snap.
“One bad quarter. I don’t know why. I have no idea,” Burroughs coach Keith Knoop said. “We were doing the same stuff we were doing and they were doing the same stuff they were doing. A couple things went their way I guess.”
The one poor quarter by Burroughs overshadowed a strong performance by the Indians in the first half. Andrew Williams’ two-yard touchdown run culminated a 10-play, 80-yard drive on Burroughs second offensive possession of the game and an early 7-3 lead.
Burbank came back on the ensuing possession and scored on Williams’ six-yard burst right up the middle to make it 10-7. Ryan Meredith (five of 12 for 123 yards) found Oharjee Brown (three catches for 90 yards) on a 40-yard pass to set up Williams’ score.
Burroughs responded when Williams (11 of 17 for 174 yards and two interceptions) connected with Conor Joyce (six catches for 170 yards) on a wide-open post pattern that resulted in an 80-yard touchdown pass and a 14-10 Indians lead.
Brown, who transferred from Burroughs to Burbank this past summer, then intercepted a Williams’ pass with 2:21 left until halftime and returned it 24 yards down to the Indian 11-yard line.
As Williams was tackled out of bounds, a scuffle broke out involving many of the players from both sides. No punches were thrown but it clearly showed the deep emotions of the intense rivalry between the neighborhood schools.
The turnover was cashed in when Pendleton scored on a six-yard run to make it 17-14 in favor of the Bulldogs with less than two minutes remaining until halftime. The touchdown marked the beginning of 37 unanswered points scored by Burbank.
Sean Johnson scored for Burroughs on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.
Burbank held Indians tailback Javier Pineda to 26 yards on 13 carries. Andrew Williams led JBHS in rushing with 50 yards on 11 carries.
“I was real disappointed. I thought we could run the ball better,” Knoop said. “They brought so many guys to the line just like Muir did to us. That’s our Achilles heel right now that we have got to fix. We’ve got to be able to run against that in the playoffs.”
In lower level action, Burbank completed the trifecta with wins over the Burroughs Junior Varsity, 24-0, and on the freshman level, 33-0. The Bulldogs won the Pacific League on both the JV and freshman levels.
To look at more photos of the 65th BIG GAME, please visit Smug Mug at- http://myburbank.smugmug.com/Sports/Football/Big-Game-2013/33326369_2CRxDN#!i=2893882869&k=KtHNKGn