By Rick Assad
Shoving aside the notion that there was nothing to play for because Friday night’s game would be the last of the football season, Burbank High quarterback Dylan Robinson and running back Zakk Estrada found enough motivation to play at a high level versus Burroughs at Memorial Field.
Behind 64 yards on 21 carries and 51 yards passing on five of eight attempts for Robinson and 142 yards on 15 rushes from Estrada, the Bulldogs handed the Bears a stunning 30-27 Pacific League setback.
Robinson scored two rushing touchdowns in the first half and two in the second half.
Estrada, who had two receptions for 17 yards, was sensational running the ball and at times was impossible to stop after taking inside handoffs from Robinson.
“What they would do is stuff the box and if they pushed through in the middle, I’d bounce it out or if they played outside, I’d cut back and I was one on one with the safety and corner would just come by,” Estrada, a senior explained. “That was basically it, an easy 15 yards each time.”
Six carries gained double figures for Estrada, including his second of the evening that picked up 36 yards and put the ball on the Burroughs 15-yard line. This jaunt set up Robinson’s one-yard scoring run midway through the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.
This drive seemed to set the tone for the evening, as it consumed nearly six minutes, covered 60 yards and 11 plays, and was helped after Robinson’s 26-yard kick return gave the Bulldogs good field position.
The Bulldogs, who entered the 74th meeting between these two rivals with a 3-6 record and 1-3 in league, pulled ahead 13-0 on their second possession as Robinson scored on a one-yard sneak with 7:46 left in the first half.
On the 12-play, 81-yard march, Estrada had three runs and they included a 19-yard dash, a five-yard run and a 14-yarder.
Burbank led 16-7 on junior Chris Aguirre’s 35-yard field goal just before halftime after Estrada’s 19-yard kickoff return and three runs that netted 16 yards.
Another time consuming, nine-play, 75-yard trek drive handed Burbank a 23-13 lead late in the third quarter as Robinson barreled in from one yard.
The march was assisted by Estrada’s interception of junior quarterback Chris Kulikov’s toss as it placed the ball at the Bulldogs 25-yard line.
“The play calling all came down from Coach Adam Colman. We talked about it at practice, and we got comfortable with it,” said Robinson, a senior. “I just put in my little requests about what works here and there.”
Though the season ended without a CIF Southern Section playoff opportunity for Burbank, there was still reason to play with intensity and spirit because the opponent was Burroughs.
“I think we had motivation, especially that it was rivalry week and I’m not saying we weren’t motivated the rest of the season,” Robinson said. “We had a goal that we were striving for, and we promised them [the seniors] last year, we were going to come back and win it. This is the last time we’ll play together. We’re going to put everything out on the line. This is the last time we’re going to play with the seniors this year.”
The key plays on the drive that gave Burbank a 10-point lead included Robinson’s 28-yard scamper on third down and seven from the Bulldogs 28, a 15-yard penalty on the Bears and Estrada’s 12-yard burst on second and eight from the Burroughs 27.
Burbank wanted to change plays to keep Burroughs off balance.
“We want to give me the ball and we really want to do something with it and go down and score,” Estrada said. “I really feel that we just pound the rock, pound the rock, pound the rock and we just air it out. Just try to get the corners to bite and then fake it and then throw it at me and Ben [Forster].”
Burbank’s final touchdown came courtesy of a high snap on a punt from the Bears 30-yard line.
With the football resting on the one-yard line, a five-yard penalty set the ball back to the six-yard line and this was erased when Estrada had a five-yard run that moved the ball back to the one and Robinson’s run late in the third period increased the advantage to 17 points.
Estrada takes the season as a whole and is pleased knowing his team battles hard each and every game.
“We do have those games that we knew we should have won but we didn’t execute correctly. I’m not disappointed with how it went. I’m glad the season went how it went. It made us who we are. This is what made us a team and we really bonded throughout it,” he said. “We know how to deal with it. When they scored two touchdowns, they started to come back. We’ve been in this situation before. We just kept our heads down and really drove through those plays at the end that really helped us out.”