By Rick Assad
Special to MyBurbank
From the opening series the Burbank High football team played at a fast-paced, break-neck speed and this may have confused Mayfair in a CIF Southern Section Southeast Division opening-round playoff match at Memorial Field on Friday.
What transpired over four quarters fairly resembled a well-tuned Ferrari buzzing down the freeway as the Bulldogs raced ahead by 36 points at the half, and finished off the masterpiece with a 49-14 triumph. On the night, BHS gained 632 total net yards.
“I don’t think they [Mayfair] could do anything with that tempo,” said Burbank coach Hector Valencia, whose team will next play Santa Fe, which upset No. 2 seeded Diamond Ranch, 31-28. “They probably don’t see a lot of that in their league.”
The second-round game will be contested at Pioneer High in Whittier and played on November 22.
Valencia was also impressed with the Bulldogs’ stingy defense.
“Our defensive scheme did well to stop their run,” he said.
The Monsoons, who were tied for second place in the Suburban League, managed 45 yards on the ground.
Junior quarterback Ryan Meredith and senior wide receiver Oharjee Brown connected on three touchdowns and were in sync all night as the Bulldogs, who finished in a three-way tie for second in the Pacific League, garnered their first playoff win since 2009.
Meredith’s 30-yard spiral to Brown with 9:03 left in the second quarter gave the Bulldogs a 21-0 cushion.
Burbank (9-2) then pulled in front by four touchdowns when Meredith (14 of 24 attempts for 235 yards and no interceptions) had a 20-yard run, but fumbled the ball into the end zone which Brown pounced on as eight minutes remained before the half.
With 40.1 seconds left in the second quarter Meredith again found Brown, who pulled down a 40-yard aerial as the Bulldogs moved ahead, 42-6.
“I like the tempo we play at,” said Brown, who had eight receptions for 163 yards. “We’re better conditioned. We run and run and that sets up the pass.”
The second half saw Burbank punt on its first two possessions, but then settle down as Meredith went to work and drilled Brown with a 15-yard bullet and 1:43 showing in the third quarter that made it a 35-point spread.
The Monsoons (5-6) were forced to kick the ball away on their opening series as the Bulldogs set up shop at their one-yard line.
In quick-tempo fashion Meredith guided Burbank down the field on 10 plays with junior running back James Williams adding the capper when he punched the ball in from two yards out on a sweep around right end. The score came with 6:36 remaining in the first quarter as the Bulldogs forged a 7-0 lead.
“I’m alright but I’m sore,” said Williams, who finished with 127 yards on 13 carries. “It’s my upper back and lower back. I’m going to ice it all week. I’ll be ready for our next game.”
Once again Burbank began a drive at its one-yard line and 14 plays later senior running back Joseph Pendleton (61 yards on 13 rushes) scored on a two-yard burst as 31.2 seconds was left in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead.
When Mayfair’s Cannon Plooster fell short on a 36-yard field goal, Burbank had the ball at its 20-yard line.
The six-play drive was dominated by five runs, but ended when Meredith drilled Brown with a 30-yard toss and 9:03 showing in the second quarter for a 21-0 advantage.
Mayfair (194 total yards) did get on the scoreboard when quarterback Isaiah Jackson (10 of 26 for 149 yards and no picks) hit wide receiver Evan Ponce (four catches for 53 yards) with a 20-yard offering and 5:21 left before the half. Burbank blocked Plooster’s extra point attempt as the Monsoons trailed, 28-6.
Junior running back Tony Toledo (10 carries for 86 yards) responded on the ensuing kickoff by returning the ball 98 yards. When Toledo found his way into the end zone with a short run as 17 seconds elapsed, the Bulldogs were ahead, 35-6.
Jackson also had a 40-yard scoring toss and successful two-point pass attempt with 9:18 left in the third quarter that chopped Burbank’s lead to 42-14.
Burbank has previous playoff experience against Santa Fe, losing to the Chiefs in the first round, 28-14, in 2010. The winner earns a trip to the CIF semifinals with a likely match-up against No. 3 La Serna waiting in the wings. La Serna defeated Burroughs, 55-7, last night.
A history lesson for all- Burbank has NEVER reached the CIF semifinals in football. They have NEVER had a 10-win season. Is this the year that the 2013 edition of Bulldog football makes new history? We will find out soon!