Burbank Football Rallies For 34-30 Triumph Over Santa Fe

Dylan Robinson runs for 144 yards and adds three scoring touchdowns, Jacob Mendieta tacks on 66 yards and two scores while Zakk Estrada tallies 95 yards on the ground for the Bulldogs.

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Burbank senior quarterback Dylan Robinson scored three touchdowns in a 34-30 win over Santa Fe. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

By Rick Assad

Back and forth the score went and with it momentum swings that reached a crescendo when Burbank High scored its fourth touchdown of the second half which secured its initial win of the season with a heart-stopping 34-30 nonleague decision over Santa Fe on Thursday night at Memorial Field.

The Bulldogs (1-1) were down 16-6 at the intermission and roared back on the strength of their defense that limited the Chiefs to two touchdowns in the second half.

“Our core values as a team are team first, and then effort, attitude and mental toughness. I didn’t see those things in the first half,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said. “We kind of challenged them. All the things we worked on all winter, spring, summer. As much as the weight room is important, it’s also building character. Where is that? Why am I not seeing that on the field? Show me that in the second half.”

What Colman did see in the second half was real intensity, and that can go a long way.

“Their attitude changed. They were aggressive and they were attacking,” he said of the effort by the entire squad.

Often times a change in attitude is helpful, and it was for the Bulldogs who came out a much different team in the second half, especially on defense. Front and center was senior middle linebacker Jarrett Bose.

Senior quarterback Dylan Robinson, who missed the season opener, a 22-19 setback at home versus Dos Pueblos, because of COVID-19, accounted for three touchdown runs while junior running back Jacob Mendieta added two scoring runs, including the game-winner, a nine-yard dash with 2:13 left in the game.

The contest definitely turned in the third quarter when the Bulldogs stopped the Chiefs on their initial possession of the frame.

The second series for Santa Fe (0-2) ended the same way as did the third possession.

Zakk Estrada had 95 yards on 13 carries and 23 yards on two catches for the Bulldogs. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

Burbank came out in the second half and forced a punt and then marched down the field from the 50.

The Bulldogs used seven plays including six rushing as Robinson (four of nine for 46 yards and two interceptions) added an 18-yard sprint on second and 12 from the Burbank 48-yard line.

Four plays later and on fourth and seven from the Santa Fe 31, Robinson spotted senior running back/wide receiver Zakk Estrada (two receptions for 15 yards) with a 23-yard strike that placed the ball on the eight-yard line.

Mendieta (66 yards on seven carries) found the end zone with 6:10 remaining in the third quarter as Burbank came within 16-14.

“It’s great to be back. Coming off this [COVID-19], I was scratching at the doors to let me back in and play football. The team made me really proud today,” said Robinson, who collected 144 yards on 17 carries. “Especially when I got a little banged up [left knee] and had to come out. Zakk Estrada (95 yards on 13 rushes) stepped up, played my position really well. The O-[offensive] line stepped up in the second half.”

Robinson said that there was a concerted effort to show Santa Fe the game wasn’t over.

It’s time to celebrate Dylan Robinson’s 76-yard touchdown run. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

“At the start of the second half, coming back out here we had a good pep talk from the coaches in the locker room and we really put our minds together and decided we’re going to turn this game around,” he said. “Everyone stepped up. Our defense really stepped up. I’m proud of what they did. My O-line, I can’t thank them enough.”

The Chiefs punted again, but Robinson was tackled for a nine-yard loss and also fumbled the ball on the very first play.

Santa Fe’s next drive began at the Burbank 34 and ended on fourth down and the ball on the 24 on an incomplete pass from junior quarterback Adrian Huguez.

One play later, Robinson called his own number and zig-zagged his way down the field for an incredible 76 yards and a score with 11:23 left in the fourth period as Burbank bolted ahead 20-16.

The Chiefs’ next possession fizzled as Huguez’s pass missed the target on fourth and six from the Santa Fe 39.

Methodically the Bulldogs drove the ball down the field, employing six runs and one 20-yard pass from Robinson to junior tight end Michael Martinez (31 yards on two catches).

The capper was Robinson’s nifty 13-yard scamper with 6:46 showing as the hosts led 27-16.

Santa Fe wasn’t done as Huguez, who completed 18 of 35 passes for 237 yards and one pick, launched a 46-yard scoring pass to junior wide receiver Emmanuel Flores (52 yards on two receptions) with 4:46 left, ending a four-play, 65-yard march that drew the Chiefs within 27-22.

Burbank’s lead disappeared when Robinson’s pass hit off the fingers of a Bulldogs’ receiver and into the mitts of senior wide receiver/free safety Evan Melendrez (nine catches for 116 yards), who returned the pick into a 65-yard touchdown and a 30-27 lead as 3:47 remained on the clock.

Hard hits were delivered on both sides of the line of scrimmage. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

Santa Fe had one last gasp as it took the ball from its 32-yard, but it ended when senior wide receiver/defensive back Evan Miller picked off Huguez on first down and 10 from the Chiefs’ 40.

The game began on a sour note for the Bulldogs as the snap from center on fourth and 11 from the Burbank nine, sailed over the head of junior punter Chris Aguirre for a safety as 9:50 remained in the first period.

On its next series, the Bulldogs waltzed 88 yards on 12 plays with Robinson scoring on a one-yard sneak for a 6-2 advantage and 1:36 left in the first frame.

Melendrez was at times impossible to guard as he hauled in two scoring passes from Huguez.

They included a six-yard grab with 6:06 left in the second period that handed the Chiefs an 8-6 advantage and ended an 80-yard, 11-play march and an 18-yarder with 1:10 showing before halftime as Santa Fe dashed ahead 16-6.

Burbank’s next game will be a nonleague affair at Castaic and the kickoff is 7:00 p.m.