After two drives that failed to yield points, the Burbank High football team gathered itself and jumped to a halftime lead and never looked back during a 33-7 nonleague season-opening win against Monrovia Friday night at Memorial Field.
The Bulldogs dashed ahead 14-7 through one quarter and were in front 20-7 at the intermission.
It wasn’t a perfect effort, but it was close as Burbank committed only one turnover and was in control from the opening kickoff.
Burbank also knocked off Monrovia in last season’s opener, but had that game forfeited because it used an ineligible player.
“It’s over, right?” Burbank coach Richard Broussard said of the second half. “We could have played better. We left points out there and we didn’t always finish drives.”
Broussard went on: “We didn’t do anything on our first drive. That’s when you want to go ahead and score, but we didn’t.”
But the defense really stood out as the Wildcats (122 total net yards) were forced to punt six times and committed four turnovers.
“Our defense is the real deal,” Broussard said. “They get it done for us.”
And so did the offense at times as senior quarterback Guy Gibbs had a solid outing as he nailed 15 of 22 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown in the first half.
Gibbs was successful on seven of nine attempts for 49 yards in the second half.
Senior wide receiver Forest Fajardo hauled in nine receptions for 101 yards and one touchdown that he took down the right sideline for a 7-0 lead. It came with 5:47 left in the initial quarter and covered 31 yards.
Fajardo, also a defensive back, was brilliant as he snared two interceptions and was in the middle of the action on countless other plays.
“He’s the man,” Broussard said. “He’s 6-1 and 190 pounds and he doesn’t know how good he is.”
On the fourth series, senior running back Nick Warren (64 yards on 15 carries and three catches for 12 yards) fumbled at the Wildcats’ seven-yard line, but Fajardo’s pick and 12-yard return for a score with 1:37 left in the first quarter pushed the Bulldogs ahead 14-7.
Junior tailback Darnell Williams chipped in with a 10-yard blast and just over three minutes left in the second quarter to make it 20-7 and capped an 80-yard, 10-play drive. The Bulldogs had 338 total yards.
Williams finished with 64 yards on 11 rushes and also added a nine-yard scamper with 4:03 left on the clock in the fourth quarter that ended a 56-yard, eight-play march and pushed Burbank’s lead to 26 points.
The Bulldogs’ other touchdown was turned in by senior running back Joey Miller (35 yards on five carries) with 4:02 remaining in the third quarter for a 26-7 lead.
Miller, who had three receptions for 28 yards, also plays in the secondary and had an interception.
Monrovia’s only touchdown came when junior wide receiver/slot back Michael Washington exploded for a 94-yard kickoff return that tied it at 7-7 with 5:33 left in the opening quarter.
Burbank’s next game will be next Friday at home versus Canyon and will get started at 7 p.m.