By Dick Dornan
BurbankNBeyond Sports Editor
Burbank claimed the city championship with a convincing 37-14 win against Burroughs in the 64th meeting of the “Big Game” Friday night at Memorial Field. With the win, the Bulldogs secured second place in the Pacific League behind champion, Muir High School.
“This win was for all the seniors,” Burbank’s James Williams said. “This was the first Burroughs game they won and I wanted to do it for them so bad.”
“This is the greatest feeling. I never got this in my first three years and I finally got it my senior year,” said Burbank senior defensive lineman Steven Kim.
The dominating effort by Burbank was the largest margin of victory for the Bulldogs against Burroughs since a 28-0 shutout of the Indians in 1984.
“It was awesome. These games are so intense and so emotional,” Burbank Coach Hector Valencia said. “We were fired up and never played out of our character.”
Burbank outgained Burroughs, 288 to 148. The Bulldogs held the Indians ground game to 75 yards on 24 carries. In contrast, Burbank rushed for 246 yards while controlling the line of scrimmage throughout the night.
“I have to give a lot of credit to the defense. They came out and forced Burroughs out of its game plan,” Valencia explained. “Our defense set the tone and our offense kept us going at all times. The line opened up huge holes and our backs ran their butts off. It was a great showing.”
Williams rushed for 149 yards on 14 carries; including an 89-yard touchdown burst on Burbank’s first play of the second half that gave the Bulldogs a commanding 30-0 lead.
Seeking its first win in the cross-town rivalry since a 28-21 triumph in 2009, Burbank set the tone early as it has all season by establishing a strong running game and daring Burroughs to stop it. The Indians never did.
Burbank (7-3, 6-1) took the opening possession of the game and drove 50 yards on 11 rushing plays from Williams, Teddy Arlington and Joseph Pendleton combined. A 33-yard field goal by Yervand Umrikyan gave BHS the early 3-0 lead.
After forcing Burroughs (4-6, 4-3) into a poor three-yard punt, Burbank took over on the JBHS 42 yard line. Quarterback Ryan Meredith completed a 34-yard pass to Williams that gave the Bulldogs first and goal on the Indians 1-yard line. Pendleton punched it in and Burbank led 10-0 with 1:38 remaining in the first quarter.
Plagued by quarterback problems early on in the year, it reared its ugly head again for Burroughs on back to back possessions that in essence took the wind out of their sails.
Indians quarterback Angel Manzanero, filling in as the starter for Andrew Williams who was injured the week before at Pasadena, threw an ill-advised interception into the hands of Burbank’s Joshua Nersissian who returned it 25 yards to the Burroughs 15 yard line.
Facing fourth and one from the 3-yard line, Meredith ran a quarterback keeper in for a touchdown and a 17-0 advantage.
On the ensuing possession, Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop called upon Williams to run the offense in replace of Manzanero.
After a penalty on Williams for intentional grounding put the ball back on the JBHS 4-yard line, Williams fumbled the very next snap and Kyle Hunter of Burbank fell on the ball in the end zone for a gift of a touchdown.
Suddenly it was 24-0 in favor of Burbank with 3:24 left in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs entered halftime with the 24-point lead and smelling the kill. The fatal blow occurred moments later.
Williams’ 89-yard touchdown sprint in the blink of an eye made it 30-0.
“There was a hole in the middle but I bounced it outside. I saw two people coming so I juked them out,” Williams said. “I thought I was going to get caught. The whole time I was running I kept telling myself not to get caught.”
Two years ago Burroughs found itself in a similar position being down 28-0 and roaring back for a historic 38-35 win. It was the greatest comeback in Big Game lore. This year would prove differently.
Arlington tacked on a one-yard touchdown run to make it 37-0 with 10:38 left in the contest before Burroughs scored the game’s final two touchdowns.
The Indians avoided what would have been their worst defeat in the history of the Big Game. Burbank pounded Burroughs 44-8 back in 1969.
Arlington finished with 57 yards on 12 carries while Pendleton added 43 yards on 13 rushes.
Josh Storer broke free up the middle for a 17-yard touchdown run and caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Williams to make it 37-14. Storer ran for 52 yards on 11 carries. Williams completed seven of 11 passes for 66 yards.
While Burroughs’ season has come to an end, Burbank continues its march into the CIF Southeast Division playoffs on a high note. Pairings will be determined on Sunday afternoon.
“I can’t wait,” Williams said. “We just need to practice harder and work harder this week and be ready for whoever we play.”
After 64 meetings on the gridiron dating back to 1949, Burroughs now leads the all-time series 41-23.