By Dick Dornan
BurbankNBeyond Sports Editor
The Burbank express train is coming to a field near you. Facing defending league co-champion Arcadia on Friday night at Memorial Field, the Bulldogs ran rampant as they piled up 414 yards of rushing in a 41-20 victory. A balanced effort on both sides of the ball has propelled Burbank to a 2-0 start in Pacific League play.
“I think overall we did an awesome job,” Burbank Coach Hector Valencia said. “Our running game was great and I thought we passed the ball well.
“At halftime all we talked about was defense. You have to win with defense and we came out strong and played well.”
Burbank’s rushing attack featured James Williams slicing and dicing his way to a game-high 176 yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns, Teddy Arlington running for 156 yards and Joseph Pendleton adding another 58 on the ground.
“Our line blocked great today and Ryan (Meredith) had another good game too,” Williams said. “In practice we are working harder. Everybody is getting better.”
Steven Kim led a solid defensive effort with four sacks including three in the first 24 minutes of action.
“It was a team effort. We swarm to the ball,” said Kim, an all-league selection a year ago. “They couldn’t run on us; we put pressure on the quarterback and he couldn’t throw.
“I wasn’t much of a sack guy last year or my sophomore year. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
Arcadia jumped out to an early 7-0 advantage on a 35-yard pass from quarterback Zach Lee to a wide-open Darius Elliot.
Burbank (3-2, 2-0) responded moments later when Williams showed why he has a bright future ahead of him. The electric running back took a double-handoff and broke off a 63-yard touchdown run with two eye-popping moves that left Arcadia defenders in his wake.
Williams was just getting warmed up.
The sophomore sensation recorded an 18-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter and a 32-yard touchdown run with 2:38 remaining in the first half that had the fans shaking their heads in disbelief.
On 2nd and 15 from the Arcadia 32, Williams added to his highlight reel with a run up the Bulldog sideline that featured balance, speed and strength as he refused to be taken down. His score gave Burbank a commanding 21-7 advantage.
“The whole summer I had nothing to do but work on my game,” Williams said. “This week I worked on running harder, hitting the holes quicker and getting my vision right. I did ok but I still need to improve.”
Like a true champion, Arcadia (1-4, 1-1) came right back and returned the kickoff to the Burbank 18. After a holding penalty and a sack by Kim, the Apaches had 2nd and 20 from the 29. On the very next play, Lee found Elliot again for a 29-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 21-14.
Williams ended the first half with 119 yards while quarterback Ryan Meredith ran an efficient offense by completing 11 of 15 passes for 69 yards in his second career start.
With all Apache eyes affixed on Williams, Burbank turned to Arlington and Pendleton on the first possession of the third quarter. The tandem combined for 50 yards as the Bulldogs converted a 12-play, 69-yard drive that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown run by Arlington to give the Bulldogs a 27-14 lead. The extra point was muffed on the snap.
All 12 plays came courtesy on the ground.
“We established the run which is what we need to do every game,” Valencia said.
Burbank broke the game open after Arcadia self-imploded on a punt. A wild snap went sailing over the head of the Apache punter giving the Bulldogs first down on their own 39.
Thirteen plays later Meredith punched in six points on a 3-yard sneak up the middle to give BHS a 34-14 lead with 9:10 left in the contest. Meredith’s 13-yard pass to Martin Caro on 4th and 7 from the Arcadia 25 kept the drive alive.
Both teams exchanged touchdowns late in the game to complete the scoring.
Arlington accumulated 141 yards of rushing in the second half. Meredith finished 12 of 17 for 82 yards.
Burbank travels to Pasadena on Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Bulldogs and Muir are the only remaining undefeated teams in league after two weeks.
“We are in a good place right now. We just need to keep it up,” Kim said following the win.