By Jim Riggio
Special to MyBurbank
The Burbank High football team overcame many obstacles this season in fighting through a number of injuries to key players.
Friday night those injuries proved to be too much to overcome as the Bulldogs lost 48-27 in a hard-fought battle at Salesian High in Boyle Heights in a second round CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoff contest.
“We played with the cards we were dealt with,” Burbank coach Richard Broussard said. “We came out flat in the third quarter. The kids gave a great effort. We have great kids who love playing this game. We just didn’t get it done. I’m disappointed we didn’t put it all together.”
Burbank (8-4) played much of the season without quarterback Ryan Meredith and running back James Williams. Last year the pair guided the Bulldogs to the semifinal round of the playoffs.
“He felt like he could go,” Broussard said of Meredith, who is suffering from a back injury. “We did our walk through. He tried to throw the ball and he said to me ‘No.’ He tried to throw a carrot Tuesday and he said it was the worst pain in my life.”
Sophomore Guy Gibbs filled in and was 12 of 31 for 202 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Tony Toledo, who became Burbank’s go-to running back after Williams tore the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee, had 17 carries for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
“Honestly, we became a family. We faced adversity all season,” said Toledo, a senior. “A lot of these guys I’ve played with since I was a kid with the Burbank Vikings. I’m grateful we stayed together and became brothers. They never gave up on me and I never gave up on them.”
Salesian (6-6) struck first as Kyahva Tezino scored on a seven-yard run with 9:16 left in the first quarter. Tezino had 13 carries for 152 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs countered right back though as Gibbs hooked up with Dorian Housholder on a 75-yard touchdown pass on their first play from scrimmage.
Salesian went back up when Deommodore Lenoir scored on a 29-yard run with 5:20 left in the first quarter. Lenoir had five carries for 85 yards.
Gibbs and Housholder (five catches for 155 yards) hooked up once again on a 14-yard touchdown to tie things at 14 with 2:42 left in the first half.
Salesian’s Ureal Blackshear scored on a 12-yard run with 42 seconds left in the half to give the Mustangs momentum going into the second half leading 20-14.
After Burbank failed to move the chains to open the second half, Salesian quarterback Damion Wright took advantage on the Mustangs’ offensive play of the half as he faked a handoff before running 62 yards for a touchdown. Wright was also solid through the air completing seven of nine passes for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Another touchdown by Tezino later in the quarter made it 34-14 putting the Bulldogs into a deeper hole.
Toledo added touchdown runs of one and 57 yards to close out his stellar career as well as the Bulldogs’ season.