Tag Archives: Ben Burnham

Burbank Boys Basketball Falls in League Opener to Muir

The Burbank High boys’ basketball opened Pacific League play Tuesday that one could say was similar to the weather we have seen locally over the past few weeks.

At times the Bulldogs were very cold shooting the basketball and at times they did well.
But the end result was not good enough to top visiting Muir High, which came away with a 62-53 victory.

Burbank early on struggled with Muir’s full-court press.

“We have some young guys that haven’t been through it and they were flustered. They’ll get better from it,” Burbank coach Sid Cooke said. “We can play with this team. We just need to hunker down and keep working.”

Burbank (1-6) actually held a 6-3 lead after one quarter as both teams played solid defense and limited each other to few good looks at the basket.

Ben Burnham (Photo by Ross A Benson) Ben Burnham

Muir then started to heat up from long distance, hitting four three-pointers in the second quarter alone.

Burbank had just two field goals in the first half that were not from three-point range and both of those came late in the half.

Muir (2-4) led by as much as 20 points early in the third quarter following a free throw from Khamron Cantrell, who had 11 points.

But Burbank started to get more comfortable with the press and as a result was able to improve its shot selection.

Daniel Contreras finished with 13 points for the Bulldogs, which included a trio of three-point shots.

But every time it looked like Burbank would be making a comeback, Muir’s Assad Muhammad would deliver an answer.

Muhammad had 15 points, all of which came from three-point shots and three of which came in the fourth quarter.

Muir also got 16 points from Joseph Dollaway and 13 points from Aziz Muhammad.

Elmer Reyes, Leo Tahmassian and Kelton Shea each had seven points for Burbank.  Ben Burnham had six points.
Kevin Sarkes and Abiel Pearl each had five points. Vartan Avetisyan had three points.

 

Burbank, Burroughs Boys Hoops Set Sights High

By Rick Assad

The task is a tall one, no doubt, but the Burbank High and Burroughs boys’ basketball teams are each gunning for the top spot when it comes to the Pacific League standings, hoping to unseat Pasadena.

The Bulldogs are athletic with dependable shooters and defenders and will be led Sid Cooke, who has an impressive and deep resume, having coached Renaissance Academy to a pair of CIF Southern Section championships across 16 years.

“We’re trying to build a culture. Commitment and accountability. Do the right thing every time,” said Cooke, a first-year coach at Burbank, who was also an assistant coach at Glendale Community College for three years. “They do play hard, but they’ve got to play different as far as the understanding of the game.”

You can never practice enough as Burroughs goes through some drills. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank played well last season after going 17-12 and 8-6 in league for fourth place.

The Bulldogs fell to La Canada 57-43 in the opening-round of the CIF Division II A playoffs.

Burbank will not have shooting guard Miles D’Agostin, who averaged just over 26 points and was selected All-CIF second team, because of graduation.

Cooke is a tough taskmaster who demands perfection on the court, but knows how to motivate.

Four players were on last year’s squad and they will be asked to lead Burbank on the floor.

Kevin Sarkes is a 6-foot-5 senior center who will rebound, play solid defense and shoot in the paint.

“We have a good group of guys,” he said. “We hope to capture the first league title in a long time, it’s been about 20 years. And then heading to CIF, we’ve been knocked out two years in the first round. Our goal is to capture the first CIF title.”

Senior Ben Burnham (6-0) is a standout wide receiver on the football team and will offer grit, points, hard-nose defense and rebounds from the point guard position.

“Transitioning from football to basketball is not that hard. I’m not in basketball shape,” he said. “We’re looking to do some damage in league. We’re focusing on getting better every week.”

Junior small forward Abiel Pearl (No. 25) will be a key player for the Bulldogs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Senior shooting guard Leo Tahmasian (6-0) is a clutch long-range artist who can score points in a hurry.

“Three coaches in three years. Yes, it’s not easy, but when you have a great coaching staff it’s pretty easy to adjust,” he said. “They have a system in place.”

Sarkes then added: “Coach Sid has won multiple championships at different levels,” he said. “His resume speaks for itself. He’s a great coach. We have a great group of guys. I’m very confident in what we can do this year whether it’s in league or CIF. We’ve got a good core and a good group of guys to build around.”

Junior shooting guard/small forward Abiel Pearl (6-3) is athletic and a leaper who has a soft touch in the paint, is a ball hawk on defense and a splendid rebounder.

There are four other seniors on the team and they include shooting guard Gor Keshishyan (6-2), shooting guard Danny Contreras (5-7), shooting guard A.J. Blake (5-10), small forward/power forward Craig Rushton (6-2) and center Greg Zadikian (6-5).

Up and in the basket. The Indians hope to see more of this during the season. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The juniors include point guard Vartan Avetisyan (5-9), shooting guard Elmer Reyes (5-10), small forward Kelton Shea (6-3) and shooting guard Armen Nazarian (6-3).

Three sophomores are on the team and they are small forward J.G. Lambert (6-3), point guard/shooting guard Phoenix Mosley (5-9) and shooting guard Nigel Dickens (6-1).

The Indians are deep in talent this season and hope to forget last season in which they went 11-16 and 4-10 in league for sixth place while missing the postseason.

Four players return and they include senior swingman Emery Goulet, senior point guard Nicholas Garcia, senior shooting guard Carson Cardenaz and reserve forward Tyler Cantrell.

Goulet is a first-team all-league selection, team captain and one of the floor leaders.

Garcia, who was the quarterback for the Indians, will distribute the basketball and look for his shot when it’s available.

Senior guard Leo Tahmasian (No. 23) should have a solid season for the Bulldogs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Cardenaz played wide receiver and always showed his toughness on the field.

“We are bigger and stronger physically than last year’s team,” Burroughs coach Allan Ellis said. “I think last year’s experience for our starting guards will help us a lot on and off the court for our younger players.”

Ellis knows it’s not going to be easy to capture the league title, but likes what he’s seen.

“We know we are in a tough league, but the majority of these players have been a part of my program for four years,” he said. “We look forward to the challenge and the guys are hungry to show what they are capable of on the basketball court.”

The rest of the backcourt will consist of shooting guard Jase Sadsad, shooting guard Blake Ballard, shooting guard Elijah Duller, shooting guard Evan Zamora and point guard Coleman Chennault.

The frontcourt will be comprised of Jack Nitzsche, Chance Spinks and Corwin Smith, who is 6-6, and will play center.

Burbank Football Eliminated From CIF Playoffs

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

The scoreboard doesn’t always tell the story in a football game and it certainly did not Friday night when Burbank High hosted visiting Serrano High of Phelan at Memorial Field in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 7 playoffs.
Top-seeded and undefeated Serrano may have come up with a 35-13 victory, but it was much closer than the score may indicate.

Trailing 28-13 midway through the fourth quarter, Burbank appeared to be on the verge of cutting the deficit in half when receiver Jack Sapyta was stopped at the 1-yard line after a catch from quarterback Vinny Vang. A late and unexpected flag came in against a Burbank receiver downfield and essentially killed the momentum the Bulldogs had in what essentially would have been a one-touchdown game midway through the final quarter.

“I had never seen that called before. It wasn’t even against the guy who caught the ball,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said. “I just wanted an explanation (from the referees). It is what it is.”
Serrano (12-0) was ahead of the entire game, but it wasn’t a comfortable lead until late in the contest.

“I knew coming in this would be a physical football game,” Serrano coach Casey Maholchic said. “Hats off to Burbank. They gave us pretty much everything we could handle.”

Serrano got on the board with 4:54 left in the first quarter when 6-foot-2, 225-pound fullback Cade Beaujean scored on a 1-yard run.

The Diamondbacks doubled their lead with 8:56 left in the first half when quarterback Parker Chaffee scored from a yard out.
Burbank struggled offensively in the first half but brought some great momentum into the locker room after Vang hooked up with Brandon Pena on a 29-yard touchdown with just six seconds left in the half.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Burbank (5-7) trailed just 14-6 at halftime.

Serrano went up 21-6 with 3:42 left in the third quarter on another 1-yard run from Chaffee.
But Burbank fought back as Vang hooked up with Ben Burnham on a 26-yard touchdown with 11:44 to play, making it 21-13.

“He just gutted it out and did his best and showed a lot of heart. He kept us in the game,” Colman said of Vang.
Serrano later got two fourth-quarter touchdowns from Joseph Zuniga.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Vang, who was making just his second start ever at quarterback, finished 11 of 16 passing for 136 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 96 yards on 13 carries.

For a second consecutive playoff game, Burbank missed five starters due to injury, including starting quarterback Aram Araradian and his backup, Kuba Raymond.

 

 

Burbank Football Overcomes Obstacles in Playoff Win

Luck didn’t appear to be on the side of the Burbank High football team entering the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

Quarterback Vincent Vang. (Photo Courtesy Doug Brown)

Down to third-string quarterback Vinny Vang and playing without several other key starters, the Bulldogs had to change things up.

They did just that defeating host Don Lugo of Chino 40-20 in Division 7 first-round contest.

The win was also nice for Burbank because the two teams met in the playoffs for the third time in four years.

Burbank’s season ended on the Don Lugo field two years ago.

“He didn’t find out until Tuesday. We told him you’re the only option,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said. “The trainer comes and tells me he doesn’t want to tell you, but his thumb is really messed up, he can barely grip a football. So we said we’ll figure this one out. We kept playing for each other, playing for the guys who weren’t playing.”

Burbank (5-6) will now host top-seeded Serrano, a 23-7 winner over Canyon Country Canyon.

Vang’s only experience at quarterback was in youth football. He had attempted a few passes as part of trick plays during the regular season but had not completed a single passing entering his first start.

“I was a bit nervous,” Vang admitted.

But after being intercepted on his first pass, Burbank went back to the basics and stuck with the ground game. It worked.

Isaac Glover. (Photo Courtesy Doug Brown)

Isaac Glover carried the ball 25 times for 244 yards and three touchdowns.

Glover scored his first touchdown, a 4-yard run at the 10:35 mark of the first quarter to give Burbank a 6-0 advantage.

After Don Lugo (4-7) tied things at 6, Burbank took the lead as Glover scored on a 60-yard run with 9:59 left in the second quarter to make 13-6.

Don Lugo added its second touchdown with 4:59 left in the half. But Kaze Gibbs came up big in blocking the extra point, as the Bulldogs were able to keep the advantage.

A key momentum changer happened just 4 seconds before halftime when the Bulldogs surprised everyone by giving the ball on a reverse on the ground to receiver Ben Burnham. He scored from 3 yards out.

Leading 20-12 at halftime, Burbank continued to roll in the third quarter.

Glover scored on a 1-yard run with 7:21 left in the quarter to make it 26-12.
Vang even got in on the scoring, by running the ball in from 12 yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Don Lugo scored another touchdown. Burbank finished things up with 12-yard run from Devin Householder with 2:09 to play.

Coach Adam Coleman. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

Colman praised his kids for pulling through.
“We talked about it at practice and then at walkthroughs yesterday. It was a superstar in your role. I think the guys really embraced it. I can’t say enough. I’m so proud of them,” he said.

Burbank is hoping to have its group of injured players back next week.

Starting quarterback Aram Araradian, backup quarterback/linebacker, Kuba Raymond, linebacker Max Mendieta, and linebacker Lucas Sheppe all missed the game with injuries.

To make matters worse, Burbank lost linebacker Austin Blacano to an ankle injury early in Friday’s contest.

 

Burbank Football Stops Glendale, 27-0

The Burbank High football team didn’t come out looking like its usual self Friday night when the Bulldogs hosted Glendale High on their home field.

But eventually the Bulldogs got things together and it was enough to earn a 27-0 Pacific League victory.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

The second half was played with a running clock as Glendale has struggled with keeping enough healthy bodies this season.

“I think we came out thinking we were way too good, too cocky. We turned it around in the second quarter,” said Burbank running back Isaac Glover, who finished with three touchdowns.

Burbank (4-5, 3-2 in the league) played without star quarterback Aram Araradian, who is nursing a shoulder injury and is hoping to be able to return for the regular-season finale against Burroughs.

Burbank turned the ball over twice in the first quarter and didn’t seem to be fully focused.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

“They came out ready to play. Their coach did an amazing job getting them fired up to play,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said of Glendale. “Being at home and it was senior night, (our) kids were a little distracted. We need to fix that.”

Burbank was held scoreless in the first quarter. But Glover’s 39-yard touchdown with 10:33 left in the first half broke the deadlock.

Glover added a 29-yard touchdown run with 7:25 left in the first half.

The Bulldogs scored for a third time in the quarter at the 5:44 mark as quarterback Kuba Raymond hooked up with Ben Burnham on a 33-yard pass.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Glover added his third touchdown of the game with 3:35 left in the first half, scoring from one-yard out. He finished with 10 carries for 172 yards.

The Bulldogs will now enjoy a bye week before taking on rival Burroughs Nov. 1 at Memorial Field. Burbank is seeking to win its fourth consecutive game over the Indians, something the Bulldogs have never done before.

 

 

Burbank Football Starts Quick And Prevails 39-21 Over Pasadena

Rick Assad

When a quarterback has multiple targets at his fingertips, he’s likely going to rack up significant yardage and score multiple touchdowns.

Aram Araradian has that luxury as the left-handed throwing junior piled up 256 yards through the air in a 39-21 victory over Pasadena in a Pacific League matchup at Memorial Field on Thursday night.

Aram Araradian hands off to Isaac Glover, who had 150 yards and one score. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Araradian ended his night by completing 14 of 25 pass attempts with one interception and launched two touchdowns.

For good measure, Araradian also tacked on a five-yard rushing score that came with 1:49 left in the third quarter and shoved Burbank ahead 33-7, which finalized a 48-yard, five-play march.

“We knew we were playing a talented team, so we knew we had to come out strong,” Araradian said. “All our skill guys have trust in the line and faith in the line that they can get their stuff done and then we do our stuff, run, pass, whatever it is.”

Araradian, who carried the ball five times for no yards, said having so many exceptional players around him does make his job that much easier.

Aram Araradian gets tackled on a running play. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I put the ball in the spot and they go and get it,” he said. “They’re guys that get yards after catch. It could be like a 10-yard pass and it goes 25, 30 yards.”

On this evening, Araradian’s favorite target was junior wide receiver Brandon Pena, who hauled in nine receptions for 188 yards.

Pena’s 19-yard catch on Burbank’s first possession made it 7-0 with 8:51 left in the initial period and it capped a seven-play, 40-yard drive.

Senior wide receiver Ben Burnham, who is another favorite target, chipped in with four receptions and 61 yards.

Burnham’s 25-yard scoring grab with 50 seconds left before halftime from Araradian, saw Burbank (3-3 and 2-0 in league) slide ahead 27-7.

Aram Araradian passed for two touchdowns in a 39-21 win over Pasadena. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“We came out and ready to go. But we executed and kept the drive alive,” Burbank coach Adam Colman explained. “The offense grinded it out. Stayed on the field.”

Colman then added: “We’ve got a lot of weapons,” he said. “When our ground game is working like it was tonight, you just kind of pick your poison. It’s really tough to stop. It puts a lot of pressure on the opponents. They’re all unselfish and about the team.”

Burbank’s ground attack was highly effective as senior running back Isaac Glover accounted for 150 yards on 29 carries, that included a pair of first-half touchdowns.

“Just overall team-work,” Glover explained on why Burbank prevailed over a much-improved Pasadena team. “We just executed on every single level. Moving the ball and executing. Everyone doing their job.”

Isaac Glover gets free on the right side and runs for yards. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

What’s Glover’s approach each and every week?

“Watching film and seeing what they do,” he said. “Learning a new game every week.”

Glover’s six-yard romp into the end zone with 1:57 left in the opening frame made it 14-0 as Burbank drove 80 yards on 13 plays.

Glover’s second scoring tally was a four-yard blast with 7:11 remaining in the second quarter as the hosts pulled ahead 20-7.

On this drive, Araradian calmly and confidently marched the home team 92 yards which consumed 10 plays.

Araradian then positioned Burbank (414 total net yards) down the field after getting the football at the Pasadena 31-yard line and used six plays with senior running back Tyler Murphy (eight yards on five carries) scampering in from two yards and 8:21 left in the game that made it 39-14.

Pasadena (3-2 and 0-2 in league) has skilled players up and down its lineup and trimmed Burbank’s advantage to 14-7 when senior running back Au’dante Bailey (51 yards on seven carries) scored on an eight-yard run that ended the first quarter and finished a five-play, 58-yard excursion.

Bailey’s 68-yard kickoff return for a score for Pasadena (245 total yards) with 1:38 remaining in the third quarter sliced Burbank’s lead to 33-14.

When Pasadena sophomore wide receiver Mekhi Fox (92 yards on six rushes) raced 60 yards with eight minutes remaining in the contest, Burbank’s lead was reduced to 18 points.

Burbank, which began the season with losses to Moorpark at home and Golden Valley on the road, has now won three of its next four games.

Burbank’s next game will be Friday at Moyse Field on the campus of Glendale High when it plays Crescenta Valley.

Burnham Leads Burbank Football Past Arcadia

Burbank High senior wide receiver Ben Burnham has played well of late and scored a pair of touchdowns last week in a loss to Hart High.

Thursday night he became the first receiver in school history to gain more than 300 yards in a single game, as he scored three touchdowns in leading the Bulldogs to a 48-7 road win over defending Pacific League champion Arcadia in the league opener.

“I’ve been locked in mentally and I’ve been focused on running my routes. Everything after I catch it just comes naturally,” Burnham said.  “I can’t say enough about my quarterback. He’s a great player, a great teammate, a great leader.”

Junior quarterback Aram Araradian finished 11 of 16 passing for 351 yards with three touchdowns.

Having played a tougher schedule in the first half of the season, Araradian has now passed for 1,387 yards in five games.

Burbank (2-3) jumped on Arcadia quickly and was never under any serious threat.

Araradian and Burnham hooked up on a 32-yard touchdown at the 9:58 mark of the first quarter.

An interception by Austin Blacano helped set up Burbank’s second touchdown, a 1-yard run by Isaac Glover with 5:54 left in the first quarter to make it 14-0.

Tyler Murphy scored on a 1-yard run later in the quarter to make it 20-0.

Araradian and Burnham hooked up on an 89-yard touchdown at the 9:11 mark of the second quarter to make it 27-0. Burnham’s single game record broke the previous school record of Cody Cardenaz, who had 209 yards against Pasadena in 2008.

Arcadia (1-3) took advantage of great field position following a Burbank turnover to help score its lone touchdown.

Glover scored on a 15-yard run with 2:22 left in the first half to make it 34-7.

Araradian and Burnham hooked up again with 58 seconds left in the quarter for their third touchdown. Burnham did not play in the fourth quarter.

Burbank’s lone touchdown in the second half came with 7:14 left in the third quarter as Murphy scored on a 9-yard run.

Bulldog coach Adam Colman was pleased with how his team responded from a tough nonleague schedule in which saw some ups and downs.

“It was nice to get on the board quick and to get to play with a lead. We’ve looked back and some of our losses and we said if we get a lead early it’s a whole different complexion. We really emphasized starting strong,” Colman said. “The defense was awesome and helped give us great field position. It’s nice to start off league with a win, especially against the defending league champs.”
Burbank will host Pasadena High next Thursday at Memorial Field.

Hart Still Too Much for Burbank Football

It has been more than three decades since the Burbank High football team last defeated Hart High.

The Bulldogs will have to wait to attempt the feat against one of the top programs in California history.

Friday night Burbank showed it has improved vastly from the days of the Foothill League when it was frequently dominated by Hart.

But the host Indians still had too much in a 31-13 win over the Bulldogs at College of the Canyons.

“A couple of crucial mistakes got us down at half but we battled,’’ Burbank coach Adam Colman said. “A lot of mental mistakes cost us. We just didn’t execute in crucial spots. That’s a good team and you can’t make mistakes against Hart.”

Hart (1-2) didn’t get on the board until 15 seconds remained in the first half when running back Taden Littleford scored on a 3-yard run.

Hart took advantage of a Burbank turnover to set up its second touchdown. Littleford added a 12-yard touchdown run with 6:17 left in the first half to double the Indians’ lead to 14-0.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Burbank (1-3) did answer back, however. Junior quarterback Aram Araradian hooked up with Ben Burnham on 49-yard touchdown with 4:29 left in the first half. Araradian finished 14 of 29 for 234 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Hart got a break  in the closing seconds of the first half when Burbank appeared to have tackled Littleford, who spun away and gained 52 yards. That set up a field goal with 4 seconds left and Hart kicker Cruz Lopez did not miss from 30 yards out.

Hart quarterback Zach Johnson, who is committed to UC Berkeley, scored on a 26-yard run early in the third quarter to help give his team a 24-7 cushion.

Araradian and Burnham hooked up on another long touchdown with 25 seconds left in the third quarter, helping cut the deficit to 24-13 going into the final quarter.

Littleford scored on a 2-yard run with 2:45 to play to cap the scoring for the Indians.

“We knew what we were getting ourselves into. That’s why we schedule these games,” Colman said. “We’d love to win and felt like we left an opportunity out there. With our nonleague schedule the whole point was to schedule up and go play some top quality opponents. We wanted to win them all, but no matter what happens it prepares you.  Now we’re ready for league. Hopefully we go on a run and get in the playoffs again and be battle tested come playoff time.”

 

Burbank Football Falls Short Against Golden Valley

The Burbank High football team may be on the short end of the scoreboard, but coach Adam Colman is trying to get his team ready for the tough challenges that lie ahead.

Friday night Burbank ran into another tough challenge, as it faced Golden Valley at Canyon High in Canyon Country.
For the second week in a row, Burbank fell short in a 43-28 defeat.

“We played well against Moorpark, but football is not a do it once and you’ve done it. You have to prove it every week. I think we got rolled into a sense of complacency,” Colman said. “Both with our performance and them not having had a game, what we have to go off of the kids look at their record and think oh that’s great. They were playing in the Foothill League. That’s not a (typical) 2-8 team. They were young last year. We know the Foothill League is a battle, no matter what place you finish.”

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Burbank had a difficult time stopping Golden Valley’s 6-foot-4, 210-pound running back Johnathan Kaelin. Kaelin rushed for 289 yards in just 13 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns.

“On film he stands out more as a receiver,” Colman said. “He was tough to tackle.”

Burbank got a fine performance from junior quarterback Aram Araradian, who finished the game 28 of 40 for 365 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Golden Valley led 15-0 before Burbank got on the board with 8:07 left in the first half as Araradian and Isaac Glover hooked up on a 32-yard touchdown pass.

Down 21-7 late in the first half, the Bulldogs missed two great opportunities to make things interesting as Golden Valley was twice called for roughing the passer that gave the Bulldogs automatic first downs in the red zone.

Burbank got as close as the 4-yard line with 12 seconds left in the half, but fumbled to ball away, allowing the host Grizzlies to go into the intermission up by a pair of touchdowns.

Glover scored on a 7-yard run with 9:46 left in the third quarter to make it 28-14.

The Bulldogs actually scored a touchdown on the one play that Araradian had to sit out after limping off the field.

Kuba Raymond threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Pena. Araradian immediately returned for the two-point conversion as he hooked up with Vincent Vang.

Burbank added another touchdown with 6:35 to play as Araradian hooked up with Ben Burnham on a 15-yard touchdown.

Burbank Football in a Good Position Again

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

A pattern has developed for the Burbank High football program and that’s a good thing.

The team is generally young and talented in odd years and championship ready in even years.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Things don’t figure to change in 2019 as Burbank looks like it has more than enough talent to qualify for the CIF Southern Section playoffs for an eighth consecutive year.

Burbank once again has a number of solid underclassmen to go along with a solid but not as spectacular senior class.

“(There’s) a lot of guys that played important roles on last year’s team. They weren’t the guys getting their names in the paper or scoring the touchdowns necessarily, but they know what it takes, which is nice,” third-year head coach Adam Colman said. “Varsity isn’t a new experience for them. It is something that they are used to. They have a little chip on their shoulder to show now that we belong. It’s a fun group to coach. There’s a lot of competition. We’ve got a lot of positions that are two deep, two to three deep at most.”

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Most notably gone from last season’s 7-4 squad are quarterback Matthew Porras (Whitworth University) and two-way stars Erik Harutyunyan (UC Berkley) and Duncan Smith (Fresno State).

They won’t easily be replaced.

Junior left-handed quarterback Aram Araradian (6-foot, 175 pounds) takes over for Porras but is hardly new to the role as he has seen game action on the varsity each of the last two seasons.

Senior running back Issac Glover (5-9, 195) who missed part of last season due to injury is back at full strength and will be the main threat out of the backfield. Junior Max Mendieta (5-7, 165) could also see time carrying the ball.

Araradian’s passing options are solid with senior Ben Burnham (6-1, 175), junior Brandon Pena (5-10, 165) and sophomore Jack Sapyta (5-10, 155) all returning.

Senior Vincent Vang (5-3, 125) is a slotback who will replace older brother Chadz Vang, who graduated.
Senior Devin Householder (6-3, 200) will take over the tight end position that was held down by Smith for the last two years.

The offensive line returns two starters in senior center Armando De La Cruz (5-7, 250), who will be a three-year starter, and senior Craig Rushton (6-2, 265).

Senior Seth Jones (6-2, 270) , who spent time at tight end last year, will also fill a role on the line. Juniors Rene Amirian (6-1, 235) and Danny Akopyan (5-9, 220) figure to also see significant playing time on the line. Another name to look for is sophomore Jakob Zuniga (6-2, 275), who transferred from Hoover since the Tornadoes will not play varsity football the next two seasons.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

The defensive line will boast many of the same players who are also on the offensive line along with senior Thomas Chiaravalle (5-8, 205) and sophomore Steilen Varga (5-10, 265).

The linebacker core is led by senior Tyler Murphy (5-8, 185). Mendieta, Glover, and Householder also figure to see time as linebackers.

Others to watch for are juniors Austin Blacano (6-3, 225), Kube Raymond (5-10, 185) and Lucas Sheppe (6-1, 205).

In the defensive secondary, senior Ian Miller (5-10, 165) leads the way. Juniors Owen Cusumano (5-10, 165) and Jarren Flowers (6-0, 175) are also both very talented. Vang, senior Oaklee Spens (5-6, 150), senior Shawn Wilson (6-1, 170) and junior Kaze Gibbs (5-5, 145) figure to add depth.

Colman said there is no clear favorite for the Pacific League title.

“It is going to be very competitive across the board. Pretty much every team has improved since last year,” he said. “Top to bottom there are no sleepers. Everyone is going to be competitive. I could see it shaking out four or five different ways.”