A pattern has developed for the Burbank High football program and that’s a good thing.
The team is generally young and talented in odd years and championship ready in even years.
Things don’t figure to change in 2019 as Burbank looks like it has more than enough talent to qualify for the CIF Southern Section playoffs for an eighth consecutive year.
Burbank once again has a number of solid underclassmen to go along with a solid but not as spectacular senior class.
“(There’s) a lot of guys that played important roles on last year’s team. They weren’t the guys getting their names in the paper or scoring the touchdowns necessarily, but they know what it takes, which is nice,” third-year head coach Adam Colman said. “Varsity isn’t a new experience for them. It is something that they are used to. They have a little chip on their shoulder to show now that we belong. It’s a fun group to coach. There’s a lot of competition. We’ve got a lot of positions that are two deep, two to three deep at most.”
Most notably gone from last season’s 7-4 squad are quarterback Matthew Porras (Whitworth University) and two-way stars Erik Harutyunyan (UC Berkley) and Duncan Smith (Fresno State).
They won’t easily be replaced.
Junior left-handed quarterback Aram Araradian (6-foot, 175 pounds) takes over for Porras but is hardly new to the role as he has seen game action on the varsity each of the last two seasons.
Senior running back Issac Glover (5-9, 195) who missed part of last season due to injury is back at full strength and will be the main threat out of the backfield. Junior Max Mendieta (5-7, 165) could also see time carrying the ball.
Araradian’s passing options are solid with senior Ben Burnham (6-1, 175), junior Brandon Pena (5-10, 165) and sophomore Jack Sapyta (5-10, 155) all returning.
Senior Vincent Vang (5-3, 125) is a slotback who will replace older brother Chadz Vang, who graduated.
Senior Devin Householder (6-3, 200) will take over the tight end position that was held down by Smith for the last two years.
The offensive line returns two starters in senior center Armando De La Cruz (5-7, 250), who will be a three-year starter, and senior Craig Rushton (6-2, 265).
Senior Seth Jones (6-2, 270) , who spent time at tight end last year, will also fill a role on the line. Juniors Rene Amirian (6-1, 235) and Danny Akopyan (5-9, 220) figure to also see significant playing time on the line. Another name to look for is sophomore Jakob Zuniga (6-2, 275), who transferred from Hoover since the Tornadoes will not play varsity football the next two seasons.
The defensive line will boast many of the same players who are also on the offensive line along with senior Thomas Chiaravalle (5-8, 205) and sophomore Steilen Varga (5-10, 265).
The linebacker core is led by senior Tyler Murphy (5-8, 185). Mendieta, Glover, and Householder also figure to see time as linebackers.
Others to watch for are juniors Austin Blacano (6-3, 225), Kube Raymond (5-10, 185) and Lucas Sheppe (6-1, 205).
In the defensive secondary, senior Ian Miller (5-10, 165) leads the way. Juniors Owen Cusumano (5-10, 165) and Jarren Flowers (6-0, 175) are also both very talented. Vang, senior Oaklee Spens (5-6, 150), senior Shawn Wilson (6-1, 170) and junior Kaze Gibbs (5-5, 145) figure to add depth.
Colman said there is no clear favorite for the Pacific League title.
“It is going to be very competitive across the board. Pretty much every team has improved since last year,” he said. “Top to bottom there are no sleepers. Everyone is going to be competitive. I could see it shaking out four or five different ways.”