By Rick Assad
At times, the Burbank High football team resembled a well-oiled machine rolling down the freeway, while other times, not so much.
Despite the ups and downs, the Bulldogs were able to tame Crescenta Valley 48-25 in a Pacific League encounter on Friday night at Moyse Field.
This victory sets up an interesting clash next week at Memorial Field with longtime city rival Burroughs, because it could determine which team finishes third in the league.
There are several scenarios and they include a Burbank (3-6 and 2-2 in league) win over Burroughs (3-5 and 1-3 in league) which would secure third place.
However, a win by Burroughs and an Arcadia triumph over Crescenta Valley (2-6 and 1-3 in league) and the Bears would finish in third place.
Dylan Robinson played with a chip on his shoulder as the junior quarterback accounted for four touchdowns, including three scores in the fourth quarter.
Robinson ran with reckless abandon and helped set the pace for the Bulldogs.
“Dylan played great. Him and I were talking earlier in the week and he said he really wanted to play a perfect game,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said. “He’s a perfectionist, so is hard on himself for anything that isn’t perfect.”
Colman continued: “There’s always room to improve, but he played his best ball of the year tonight,” he added. “He really set the tone for the whole team and did a great job limiting mistakes. That was the difference in the game.”
Burbank led 14-6 after the initial quarter and took a 21-6 advantage into the locker room at the intermission.
A trick play accounted for an 80-yard score early in the third quarter and a 20-point explosion in the fourth period put the capper on the evening.
The Falcons scored on the very first play from scrimmage when sophomore field general Jaston Walker (nine of 15 for 167 yards and two interceptions) found senior wide receiver Luke Steele (90 yards on three receptions) on a short swing pass that was turned into a 70-yard score after 22 seconds had elapsed as the home team pulled ahead 6-0.
Burbank returned the favor when Robinson gained 19 yards on first down and the ball at the Bulldog 43-yard line.
Robinson, who finished with 203 yards on 21 carries, then broke free on a 28-yard romp which set up sophomore running back Jacob Mendieta’s 10-yard scamper into the end zone with 10:35 left in the opening frame.
On the night, Mendieta picked up 14 yards on two carries.
Burbank darted in front 14-6 after junior wide receiver Shade Schaefer (109 yards on 16 rushes) fumbled the ball at the Burbank 47.
Robinson’s 52-yard dash made possible junior running back Rony Preza’s one-yard blast into the end zone with 9:10 left in the first quarter and pulled ahead 14-6. Preza gained 10 yards on five rushes.
Burbank seized control 21-6 when Robinson moved the Bulldogs from their four-yard line and used 10 plays.
Robinson was able to find pay dirt on a three-yard waltz as 4:59 remained in the second period.
Burbank’s defense was stellar and caused five Crescenta Valley turnovers.
“The defense did a great job of playing fast and physical,” Colman said. “Our coaching staff worked all week with them about taking the ball away and creating turnovers and it paid off. They came up with huge plays in big moments and that’s what makes the difference in games like this.”
The second half began with a trick play on first down and the ball resting on the Burbank 20-yard line.
After taking the snap from center, Robinson, who completed four of eight passes for 108 yards, hit senior wide receiver Nick Franco, but instead of running with the ball, he launched it downfield to junior wide receiver Jagg Richer, who had three receptions for 120 yards.
One play and 80 yards and it was 28-6 as only 11 seconds had gone off the clock.
Crescenta Valley chopped into Burbank’s lead 28-13 when Schaefer lined up in the shotgun, took the direct snap and capped a 48-yard, four-play drive with an 11-yard run as 9:57 was left in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter explosion began when Robinson unloaded a 29-yard aerial to junior wide receiver Zakk Estrada with 9:06 left in the period as Burbank slipped ahead 35-13.
This 69-yard, 10-play trek began after senior linebacker/running back Cristian Elizalde recovered a fumble by Steele in midair.
An interception on the next series by defensive back Franco led to Robinson’s 10-yard jaunt with 7:46 on the clock that saw the Bulldogs move 16 yards on two plays and scurry ahead 42-13.
Crescenta Valley’s backup quarterback, sophomore Matias Pineda (six of eight for 111 yards), teamed up with Schaefer (84 yards on five catches) on a 23-yard strike with 2:37 showing, capping an 11-play, 79-yard drive as the Falcons came within 42-19.
An onside kick worked for the hosts and led to Pineda’s one-play, 47-yard bomb to senior wide receiver Carson Center (30 yards on three receptions) nine seconds later. This trimmed Burbank’s lead to 42-25.
Desperate, the Falcons attempted another onside kick, but this time Robinson scooped up the football and raced through for a 55-yard touchdown for the final score of the game as 2:22 remained.