By Dick Dornan
Hoover entered its showdown with Burbank on Thursday night at Memorial Field intent on showing they belonged in the upper echelon of the Pacific League. Not quite so fast. Burbank dismantled Hoover, 48-7, making a statement of its own in the process.
Senior Teddy Arlington rushed for 164 yards on 10 carries and sophomore James Williams ran for 133 as the Bulldogs piled up 370 yards on the ground.
“I thought it was a good team effort and good team win. Everyone blocked well, ran well and everyone got a chance to score,” said Arlington, who accumulated more than 230 yards of total offense. “It was a fun game to play and I am looking forward to playing Arcadia next week.”
Entering the game with a 2-1 record, Hoover had ideas of throwing its name in the hat as a team to look out for. It proved to be only an aberration. From the first snap of the ball, Burbank dominated the Tornadoes for the seventh consecutive season.
Since the Bulldogs joined the Pacific League in 2006, Burbank is 7-0 against Hoover including four shutouts and a remarkable scoring margin of 52 to 4. The Bulldogs have scored 48 or more points in each of those seven victories.
“We got the running game going. Teddy (Arlington) had a great game. The line just pounded the ball and opened some big holes,” Burbank Coach Hector Valencia said. “It was a good performance overall.”
Burbank (2-2, 1-0) set the tone for the evening on the opening possession of the contest. With the offensive line controlling the line of scrimmage right from the outset, BHS drove 63 yards in nine plays and scored on Arlington’s 1-yard run.
The Tornadoes responded with a 16-play drive that consumed more than eight minutes. Facing a 4th and goal from its own 3, the Bulldogs snuffed out a run by Jesse Pina at the 1-yard line.
After trading possessions to end the first quarter, Burbank’s offense established its running game again as the Bulldogs drove 50 yards on nine plays to reach the Hoover 26.
Burbank quarterback Ryan Meredith, making his varsity debut after being promoted the week before from the junior varsity team, completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Arlington with 7:28 left in the half. The subsequent 2-point conversion made it 14-0.
After misfiring on his first six passes, Meredith connected on his last four attempts to finish four of 10 for 71 yards.
“I was very nervous before the game but I settled down in the second half. Everything slowed down and became a lot easier,” said Meredith, just a sophomore.
His first career-completed pass resulted in six points. A victory made it even sweeter.
“It felt amazing. We did really well on defense and offense. Our line did great and our running backs found the holes.”
With hopes of making it a competitive game, Hoover (2-2, 0-1) self-destructed on back-to-back offensive possessions.
First, Bulldogs defensive lineman Jesse Acebal drilled Tornadoes quarterback Brendon Kerr causing a fumble in Hoover territory. Damien Lopez recovered the football and returned it untouched for a 25-yard touchdown with 3:53 left.
Falling behind 21-0, Hoover drove from its own 37 down to the Burbank 1-yard line. With 15 seconds remaining and no timeouts, Hoover inexplicably ran the ball behind Kerr for no gain as time ran out to end the first half.
“That’s a good offense. They know had to move the ball well,” Valencia said. “We had two big time goal line stands. Our defense hung in there. It was a great showing by us.”
Burbank began the second half by recovering an onside kick. Two plays later, Williams took it to the house on a 52-yard run right up the gut of the Tornadoes.
After forcing a punt, Burbank applied the final blow when Arlington scored his third touchdown of the night as he broke free up the BHS sideline for a 48-yard touchdown run. With 8:43 left in the third quarter, it was 35-0.
The Bulldogs completed their scoring on a Williams’ 9-yard scamper and a 4-yard quarterback keeper by Zak Tomlinson.
Burbank made an early statement to the Pacific League that they are a team to be reckoned with.
The Bulldogs host Arcadia next Friday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Field.