Rivalry games are special and for many of the participants, alumni and fans, they mean even more. It’s especially exciting when there is something at stake.
Tomorrow night the 67th annual “Big Game” will be played between Burroughs High and Burbank at Memorial Field with the Pacific League championship up for grabs.
The visiting Indians (8-1) are undefeated in league play and a win will give them the title outright, while the Bulldogs (6-3) have one loss [21-20 to Muir], so a victory will give them a share of the crown.
A triumph by Burroughs should ensure a CIF Southern Section Southeast Division first-round home game, and a win by Burbank will strengthen its potential postseason run.
Burroughs, which hasn’t beaten Burbank in three consecutive games, has been impressive with the only setback a 45-25 season-opening loss to Calabasas on the road. It was the fewest points Burroughs scored this campaign.
The Indians have topped 40 points in six games with a high of 65 points versus visiting Glendale.
Though the league isn’t especially strong, Burroughs, which holds a 41-25 edge over Burbank, has beaten Arcadia on the road 39-34, Muir at home 49-9, and Crescenta Valley last week 34-3.
Offensively the Indians are led by senior quarterback Steven Hubbell, who has passed for 1,239 yards with 20 touchdowns and three interceptions. Hubbell, who has hit on 95 of 142 attempts, can take off with the football and has compiled 190 yards with six rushing scores.
Burroughs’ ground-attack is spearheaded by junior tailback Chance Bell, who has 1,211 yards with 22 scores and 157 carries. Bell, who injured his right shoulder in the win over the Falcons, is expected to play, and has caught six passes for 83 yards.
The other running back is junior Sammy Duran, who has 287 yards and has found the end zone two times.
Hubbell’s primary target has been senior wide receiver Erick Hernandez, who was the leading receiver in 2014. Hernandez has snared 28 passes for 387 yards with 11 touchdowns. He has 634 all-purpose yards that include 129 kickoff return yards and 118 punt return yards.
Senior wide receiver Cade Borland is recovering from an injury and has grabbed 21 passes for 258 yards with three scores.
Senior wide receiver Nick Mercado has 14 receptions for 175 yards and four touchdowns, while senior wide receiver Torin Harris has 10 catches for 180 yards with two scores.
Senior wide receiver Robert Awunganyi has 756 all-purpose yards that include 112 yards on seven catches, 397 yards on kickoff returns and 189 yards on punt returns.
The Indians’ defense has given up an average of 11.2 points per game and is paced by many including senior lineman Cole Gurley, who has 11 solo tackles and 35 assists with one fumble recovery.
Senior defensive back Jarret Wrobel has 20 solo tackles, 17 assists, five interceptions and five passes defended, while Awunganyi, a defensive back, has 20 solo tackles, 20 assists, one pick, one fumble recovery and eight passes defended.
Senior linebacker Branden Garcia has collected eight solo tackles with 47 assists, senior linebacker Connor Garden has 12 solo tackles, 26 assists, five sacks, two picks, four passes defended, one fumble recovery and two blocked field goals.
Senior linebacker Jose Chicas Ortiz has picked up 10 solo tackles, 29 assists, two fumble recoveries and three and a half sacks, while senior defensive back Devlin Jimenez has 15 solo tackles, 24 assists with one and a half sacks, three interceptions and two passes defended.
The Bulldogs are on a four-game winning streak after losing to visiting Muir and have averaged 44 points over this span with wins over visiting Pasadena 35-16 last week, at Arcadia 31-8, at home versus Hoover 49-0 and over visiting Glendale 61-7.
The trigger man is junior quarterback Guy Gibbs, who has been quietly impressive while learning on the job. Gibbs has thrown for 1,023 yards and has completed 76 of 169 attempts with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Sophomore running back Darnell Williams leads the Bulldogs in rushing with 548 yards on 111 carries and five scores and has caught 11 passes for 119 yards.
Junior running back Nick Warren has accounted for 307 yards with four scores, while junior running back Andy Reyes has 157 yards with two touchdowns and has compiled 366 all-purpose yards. Sophomore running back Blake Quinteros has accounted for 318 yards and four scores.
Junior wide receiver Forest Fajardo has caught 20 passes for 270 yards with five touchdowns and senior wide receiver Max Weisman has grabbed 18 passes for 280 yards and three scores.
Burbank’s defense has given up an average of 11.2 points per game and is paced by Reyes, a defensive back, who has 73 solo tackles, 27 assists, three sacks, three passes defended, four fumble recoveries and a blocked punt.
Fajardo, a defensive back, has 30 solo tackles, 11 assists, five interceptions and 14 passes defended, while senior defensive back David Medrano has 31 solo tackles, 35 assists, two sacks and two passes defended.
Junior linebacker Jake Kelley has 30 solo tackles, 17 assists, two sacks, two passes defended, two fumble recoveries and one blocked punt, junior defensive back Miguel Vasquez has 31 solo tackles, 24 assists, one pick, 10 passes defended and two fumble recoveries, and senior lineman Jha’rod Horhn has 19 solo tackles, 16 assists and six sacks.
Buckle your chin traps, hold on to your seats and grab your hats, this one could be a classic.