By Steve Knez
BurbankNBeyond Staff Writer
Seven teams in the Burbank Vikings football program made the Pacific Youth Football League Championship playoffs on Saturday and four were victorious in the first round including #1 seed Senior Green, #2 seed Midget Green, #3 seed Bantam Green and #5 seed Junior Green. Bantam Black was invited to the PYFL Invitational playoffs and they were also victorious in the first round.
Midget Green 48 Santa Clarita Aztecs 18
For the first time this season, the Midget Green Vikings (9-0) found themselves behind on the scoreboard. Unfortunately for the Santa Clarita Aztecs, the first round playoff game was only 10 seconds old and the Vikings had plenty of time to bulldoze their way to a 48-18 victory at Burbank High School.
The Aztecs scored on the first play from scrimmage and the Vikings were faced with their first dose of adversity all year. They answered with an impressive 61-yard touchdown run by Loyal Terry on 4th and 10 from their own 39 yard line. After three minutes of play, the score was tied at 6-6.
The Aztecs, who gave the Vikings their most challenging contest all year in the first game of the season, found success in the air with a 54-yard touchdown pass with one minute to go in the first quarter. This time, the Vikings responded with 42 unanswered points.
Dante Coxsom, wearing bright pink ankle tape and gloves, scored on the first play of the second quarter with a 52-yard quarterback keeper. Davey Stone passed to Isaac Cordova for the 2-point conversion and the Vikings had their first lead of the game at 14-12.
Coxsom added a 47-yard touchdown on a screen pass that included several slips and stiff arms and Terry dragged a defender across the goal line while rushing for the 2-point conversion. After the Vikings recovered an onside kick, Coxsom struck again with a lightening quick 24-yard TD rush.
After a brilliant defensive stand, Terry hammered a 62-yard touchdown rush as frustration grew on the Aztec sideline and in the visiting portion of the stands. The Vikings took a 34-12 lead into halftime and they never looked backed.
“We bend but we don’t break,” said Terry after the game. “I am so pumped right now. I wish we could start the second round right now.”
The undefeated Vikings, the Central Conference champions, entered the playoffs as the #2 seed and will face #3 West Valley this Saturday at Burbank High School. Lancaster, who played a tougher regular season schedule, also finished the regular season undefeated and earned the #1 seed. They represent a possible third round opponent.
“I heard somebody say that we had one game down with three to go,” said defensive coordinator Dan Moore during a post-game pep talk to the team. “That’s wrong. We have one game down with one to go.”
Senior Green 41 Canyon Green 6
Senior Green entered the first round of the playoffs as the #1 seed in the southern division and they lived up to the hype with a 41-6 victory over #8 Canyon Green at Burbank High. The Vikings defense was stellar once again as they held their opponent to less than seven points for the fifth time in their last six games.
On the Vikings first possession, Khalid Taylor slipped three tacklers on his way to the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown run. Brandon Beardt rushed for the 2-point conversion. On the next possession, Beardt scored on a 25-yard touchdown run.
The Vikings (8-1) scored touchdowns on their first six possessions of the game, including a 40-yard TD run by Jake Kelley and a 25-yard touchdown pass from Danny Porras to Michael Woods. Nick Warren rushed for the 2-point conversion and then ran for a 57-yard touchdown on the next possession. Taylor completed the scoring spree with a 10-yard TD rush and the Vikings took a 41-0 lead into halftime.
The Vikings will face #5 Highland Eagles in the second round on Saturday night at Burbank High School. The Vikings beat Highland on the road in week six by a score of 31-6. Highland advanced to the second round with a 36-6 victory over #4 Lancaster.
Junior Green 26 Lancaster 14
Junior Green (5-4) entered the first round of the playoffs against a familiar foe. However, this time the roles were reversed as the Vikings avenged a regular season defeat to Lancaster en route to a 26-14 victory at Antelope Valley High School.
The Vikings suffered a 64-38 loss to Lancaster in week three but they set the tone early in the game that mattered most as Sammy Duran scored a touchdown on a 35-yard run in the first quarter. Skyler Bercini ran for the 2-point conversion. The Viking defense took over from there and held their opponent scoreless through the first half.
Duran struck again in the third quarter with another touchdown run and the Vikings took a 14-0 lead. Lancaster answered with a touchdown on their next possession and a successful 2-point conversion to narrow the lead to 14-8.
The see-saw battle continued as quarterback Jarrett Malone connected with Miguel Vasquez for a 22-yard touchdown to take a 20-8 lead. However, Lancaster answered right back with a quick touchdown to make the score 20-14. To make matters worse, Lancaster recovered an onside kick and threatened to take the lead.
Lancaster drove the ball to the Viking’s five yard line where they were met by linebackers Franco Alonso, Truehart Corona, Bercini and Duran. Lancaster was eventually pushed back to the 15-yard line by the stingy Viking defense and the ball was turned over on downs. Duran put the nail in the coffin with a 65-yard touchdown run.
The 5th seeded Vikings will face #1 Valley on Saturday at Granada Hills High School. The Vikings, who were beaten by Valley 47-18 in week seven, will need to avenge another regular season loss in order to continue in the playoffs.
Santa Clarita Chiefs 44 Junior Black 20
Junior Black (3-6) suffered numerous injuries over the course of the regular season and they were unable to prevail in a first round playoff loss to #2 ranked Santa Clarita Chiefs at Valencia High School.
Nathen Cruz scored twice for the Vikings with a 75-yard touchdown run and a kick-off return for a touchdown. Maxi Weschler rushed for a touchdown as well and Connor Boulais and Jamie Rangel were the defensive stars of the game.
Highland 34 Pee Wee 6
A young and predominately inexperienced Pee Wee (3-6) squad suffered a first round playoff loss to the #2 seeded Highland Eagles at Highland High School. Christian Elizalde was the defensive star of the game with seven tackles and two forced fumbles and recoveries. Ian Gandara scored the Vikings only touchdown with a 45-yard run.
Santa Clarita Warriors 42 Senior Gold 6 (5-4)
(5-5) Bantam Black 32 Ventura Black 6
(8-2) Bantam Green 36 Santa Clarita Seminoles 14