It certainly wasn’t pretty and sometimes hard to watch, but the Burbank High football team survived and eventually claimed a 7-3 victory over Crescenta Valley in the Pacific League opener at Moyse Field in Glendale on Friday night.
The score that put the Bulldogs ahead was a 56-yard strike from junior quarterback Guy Gibbs to senior wide receiver Noah Powell with 7:44 left in the fourth quarter. The pass traveled about 20 yards, but the rest was all Powell.
“I’m so emotional right now,” said Powell, who had three receptions for 72 yards and also plays defensive back. “Everything that I’ve been through. All these guys have my back. I just don’t know what to say.”
When asked to explain the game-winner, Powell said it was something he had dreamed about. “I just caught it and then turned on the jets,” he offered.
Powell’s effort was indeed superb, but it wasn’t until junior defensive back Forest Fajardo picked off junior quarterback Tyler Hill that the contest was sealed.
“I thought it would be a close game,” Fajardo said. “We faced adversity and we came through. We really wanted this win after what they did to us last year. They don’t like us and we don’t like them.”
Offensively it was tough sledding for each team. The Bulldogs amassed 123 total net yards, including 33 yards on the ground. But every yard was gained with grit and determination, and also a great deal of sweat.
It was that kind of game, and a match the Bulldogs could be proud of considering the Falcons (222 total yards) were also pushed back at every turn, with the exception of a 26-yard field goal from junior Alex Atanackovic and 45 seconds left in the first quarter.
Crescenta Valley (2-2 and 0-1 in league), the defending CIF Southern Section Southeast Division champion, owned the ball during most of the opening half, but the only points it was able to muster was a field goal.
“That was ugly,” Burbank coach Richard Broussard said. “But we gutted it out. We were so awesome. They’re warriors. Our defense battled.”
After the Bulldogs’ initial possession went 19 yards, the Falcons had the ball the rest of the quarter which resulted in the successful field goal.
The ensuing 52-yard kickoff return by junior defensive back Andy Reyes gave the Bulldogs (2-2 and 1-0 in league) the ball at the Crescenta Valley 46-yard line.
But junior running back Nick Warren (11 carries for 24 yards and three catches for 18 yards) lost two yards, and Gibbs’ pass to Powell netted only five yards.
Gibbs (six of 16 for 90 yards) then tossed an incomplete pass which forced the Bulldogs to punt, but the Falcons weren’t able to do anything offensively, which was the case during the rest of the game.
“We left a lot of plays out there on the field,” Broussard said. “We won, but there’s a lot of things that we need to improve upon.”
Burbank had the ball four times in the opening half, and six times during the second half and scored only once.
The Bulldogs play Friday night at Memorial Field in a matchup against winless Muir.