By Jim Riggio
Part of growing up and going through high school is learning how to overcome one’s mistakes. This extends to many areas, including the football field.
The Burbank High football team showed Friday night that it must cut down on its mistakes and learn to overcome obstacles. After appearing in the driver’s seat for nearly the entire first half, the Bulldogs fell apart in the second half and were stunned by visiting Muir 21-20 in a Pacific League contest at Memorial Field.
“They (Muir) deserved to win. We did all the things to lose a game,” Burbank coach Richard Broussard said. “We got away with it last week. I didn’t do my job teaching them about discipline and the little things, so we will take care of that.”
Burbank (2-3 overall, 1-1 in league) was coming off a 7-3 win against defending CIF Southern Section Southeastern Division champion Crescenta Valley last week.
The Bulldogs took the lead on the second play of the second quarter as junior quarterback Guy Gibbs hooked up with junior wide receiver Forest Fajardo on a six-yard touchdown pass.
The Bulldogs went up 14-0 with 4:54 left in the first half as sophomore running back Darnell Williams scored on a five-yard run.
Muir (1-4, 1-1) came back and made things closer as senior quarterback Joey Knowles found junior wide receiver Elijah Blades on a seven-yard touchdown pass. The Mustangs missed the extra point, making it 14-6.
But things changed on Burbank’s ensuing drive as Gibbs fumbled the ball on his own. Muir’s Jordan Baker picked up the loose ball and raced 46 yards into the end zone. The Mustangs converted the two-point conversion to tie the score with just six tenths of a second left in the first half.
“It was huge. It was clearly the difference in the game,” Broussard said of the fumble.
Muir took the lead at the 9:45 mark of the third quarter as Knowles hit junior wide receiver Jamal Tims with a 61-yard touchdown pass.
It took a while for the Bulldogs to counter back. But they did with 10:52 left to play as Gibbs and Fajardo hooked up on a 35-yard touchdown pass.
However, the Bulldogs bobbled the snap on the extra point and were unable to convert the play that turned into a two-point conversion attempt.
It would turn out to haunt them because later in the quarter senior kicker Andrew Hank was well wide on a 42-yard field goal attempt.
The Bulldogs had another opportunity as they took over on their own 26-yard-line with three minutes to play. They marched down the field only to fumble the ball deep in Muir territory with 1:25 left.
Burbank was not finished, however.
The Bulldogs stopped Muir and even blocked the Mustangs’ punt giving them the ball at Muir’s 24-yard-line with 37 seconds left.
But the Bulldogs did not make good use of clock management and it cost them as time expired.