By Rick Assad
Two even teams took Kemp-Kallem Field on Friday night in a Pacific League clash between host Burbank High and Crescenta Valley.
The points were somewhat tough to come by as the two squads combined for just three touchdowns, while two extra points were missed.
When it mattered the most, the Falcons found a way to score what turned out to be the game-winner early in the fourth quarter as the visitors claimed a 13-6 decision.
The first score was tallied by the Bulldogs (0-3 in all games and 0-2 in league) on their initial possession as senior quarterback Aram Araradian marched his troops from the Burbank 10-yard line.
The trek consumed nine plays and when sophomore running back Dylan Robinson broke free on a 16-yard burst with 8:47 left, Burbank scurried ahead, 6-0.
The Falcons leveled the score at 6-6 with 7:37 remaining in the third period after senior running back Ryan Nelson dented the end zone on a one-yard run.
The go-ahead score commenced at the Crescenta Valley 23-yard line and included nine plays with the capper being senior running back Sebastian DeLeon’s 17-yard burst with 10:31 left in the fourth frame.
Trailing by seven points and 4:16 left in the game, Araradian had his team lined up at the Bulldog 35-yard line and was hoping to march the Bulldogs down the field and at least tie the match or possibly win it with a two-point conversion.
But on the first play of the drive, Araradian was forced to scramble in the backfield and looked to locate an open receiver, but instead lofted the ball near the sideline and it was intercepted.
“On the pick, I felt pressure in the pocket, so I ran out and tried to make a play,” Araradian said. “I was trying to place the ball where only my receiver could get it or it would go out of bounds, but obviously it didn’t turn out that way.”
The Falcons (1-1 on all games and 1-1 in league) took over at the Burbank 41-yard line.
Using eight consecutive running plays that included two kneel downs by senior field general Brendon Pehar, the win was secure.
“I thought the offense played well overall and we had a lot of guys step up,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said of his squad that has scored 44 points in three games. “We moved the ball, but some penalties and mistakes cost us and kept us from converting yards into points.”
Colman gave credit to Crescenta Valley which is coming off a setback to Muir at the Rose Bowl a week ago.
“Anytime you play a team like CV, points come at a premium and you have to make the most of your opportunities,” he said. “Little mistakes here and there end up being huge. We knew that going in. We just weren’t able to execute well enough.”
Keeping the Falcons to 13 points wasn’t easy, but Burbank’s defense was up to the task.
“The defense played with a ton of passion and heart,” Colman said. “They battled and kept us in it all game. I’m proud of their effort. Hats off to CV. They made the big plays in the key moments and that was the difference.”
Araradian is off to a rough start during this abbreviated season, but is certainly capable of putting together an eye-popping outing.
“I didn’t perform as well as I expected or wanted to perform,” he admitted. “CV’s defense came out strong and well prepared. I made some plays with my arm and my legs when the situation was right. But overall, not the best performance by me. There is much to improve on.”
Araradian, a left-handed thrower who completed 11 of 21 pass attempts for 78 yards and one interception and fleet runner, feels the team is more than capable of reversing this three-game losing streak.
“Our team came out strong on both sides of the ball, scoring early on offense and playing stout defense,” he noted. “As the game went on, we struggled to find the tempo on offense which gave CV the upper hand as well as the lead.”
Burbank’s second series began at its 20-yard line and ended with a punt from the Bulldogs 44.
The third and final possession of the opening half started at the Burbank 14 and finished with Araradian getting sacked for a 12-yard loss.
The Bulldogs’ second half series began with the ball resting at the Burbank 25 and ended with a punt from the Falcon 49-yard line.
Another punt followed at the Burbank 42 on its next-to-last possession after commencing the march from the Bulldog 15-yard line.
Burbank’s next game will be Friday against host Muir, which blanked Burroughs 50-0 on Friday evening. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.