It was a magnificently glorious night to be a Burbank High football player on the junior varsity and freshman team as each claimed a Pacific League title after beating city rival Burroughs on Thursday at Memorial Field.
The Bulldogs junior varsity blanked the Indians, 18-0, behind three rushing touchdowns and 315 total net yards, while Burbank’s frosh dismantled Burroughs, 60-28, as it compiled 478 total yards including 422 rushing yards.
In the junior varsity match, the score at halftime was 6-0 after running back Guillermo Hernandez (60 yards on 16 carries) punched it in from two yards and 4:12 left in the second quarter after defensive back Tommy Sanchez picked off quarterback Gabriel Pellot (seven of 20 for 31 yards with an interception) and returned the ball 28 yards.
The Bulldogs (8-2 and 6-1 in league) stretched the lead to 12-0 with 6:28 left in the third quarter when running back Cade Hollingsworth scored on a three-yard blast that capped an eight-play, 71-yard drive.
“Yesterday I was thinking about this game,” said Hollingsworth, who gained 82 yards on 12 carries. “I wanted to pump the guys up. This was a team effort. We all felt like we had a chip on our shoulder. It’s weird because you want to be pumped and ready to go, but you can’t get too excited. You have to stay focused.”
Burbank’s final points came with 10:36 showing in the final quarter as Hernandez dented the end zone from four yards that concluded the seven-play march.
The Bulldogs junior varsity has now captured the league crown four straight times despite several players moving up to the varsity.
Hernandez’s tally was made possible after Pellot’s pass failed on fourth and 13 from the Burbank 25-yard line.
For most of the night, Burroughs (5-4-1 and 4-2-1 in league) had difficulty moving the football as Burbank’s stingy defense allowed 83 yards with 52 yards coming on the ground.
“These are a bunch of guys who have a big heart,” Burbank coach Tom Wilkie said. “These guys made themselves a team. We tend to make adjustments with our blocking in the second half, but so did Burroughs.”
On the Indians’ first possession they managed to reach the Burbank 17-yard line, but Pellot’s fourth down and five pass lost four yards.
Just before the intermission, the Indians were able to march to the Burbank five, but Pellot’s fourth down attempt failed to find the target.
After a 35-yard kickoff return from running back Sammy Duran set up the Indians at the Burbank 36 midway through the third quarter, they moved the ball only 11 yards after Pellot’s toss on fourth and 13 again didn’t find the mark.
The Indians (316 total yards) led 6-0 in the freshman match on a six-yard burst from running back Tommy Cantrell (game-best 208 yards on a game-high 40 rushes) with 5:43 remaining in the opening quarter, but Burbank (7-2 and 5-0 in league) tallied the next 22 points before Cantrell located the end zone with a six-yard scamper and 2:21 left in the third quarter. Cantrell added the two-point conversion.
Burbank quarterback Nathan Cruz-Laube (two of four for 56 yards) tossed a pair of scoring passes in the opening half that covered 38 yards with 1:55 left in the first quarter that tied it at 6-6, then added an 18-yarder with 6:10 showing before the half that gave the Bulldogs a 14-6 edge as Cruz-Laube chimed in with the two-point conversion.
Cruz-Laube’s one-yard scamper with 7:35 remaining in the third quarter made it 22-6 as running back Darnell Williams chipped in with the two-point try, and it became 30-14 when Williams capped a 53-yard march with a 10-yard run and 1:32 left in the third quarter as running back Sebastian Leal was successful on the two-point conversion.
The Indians (6-4 and 4-1 in league) came within 30-20 after Cantrell romped in from two yards and just over eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but a 52-yard sprint from Williams (162 yards on eight carries) and 7:46 showing in the final quarter pushed Burbank’s lead to 38-20 after Cruz-Laube cashed in the two-point conversion.
“We came out super strong in the second half,” said Cruz-Laube, who had 135 yards on 16 rushes. “We run a no-huddle offense. We waste no time and we fight.”
With 5:23 left in the fourth quarter the Bulldogs forged a 46-20 cushion when Leal found the end zone from one yard and running back Blake Quinteros supplied the two-point try.
Burbank coach Mark Meredith was pleased with the team’s effort and had praise for Cruz-Laube. “He’s a running back that we’ve converted to quarterback,” he said. “They couldn’t handle our speed on the outside. Once we sealed the edge, we were off.”
About three minutes later Burbank charged ahead 54-20 when Quinteros scored on a 15-yard gallop and Cruz-Laube’s two-point attempt, and it became 60-28 when running back Charles Lott Jr. scored on a five-yard run and 40 seconds left.
The Indians’ final score was a 35-yard dash with 2:21 left from running back Benjamin Peters, who added the two-point try that trimmed the lead to 54-28.