Tag Archives: Brandon Pena

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 Can’t Keep Pace With Crescenta Valley, Lose 45-14

By Rick Assad

For the Burbank High football team, it was about time for its offense and angles for its defense when it faced Crescenta Valley.

Seemingly from the start, the Falcons were all over junior quarterback Aram Araradian, who had roughly three seconds to get rid of the football.

This is how it went on Burbank’s first series, which began at the Bulldog 29-yard line: senior running back Isaac Glover had a two-yard run. On second down, Araradian’s pass to junior wide receiver Brandon Pena went for no yards and on third down, Araradian was sacked for a six-yard loss.

The two defensive linemen chasing and harassing and causing nightmares for Araradian (13 of 26 for 250 yards with two interceptions) were 6-foot-7 senior Chuck Meyer and 6-6 Logan Tourville.

 

Quarterback Aram Araradian, shown in a win over Pasadena, had an off night against Crescenta Valley. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank’s defense needed to tackle better in open space and not allow Falcon receivers room to roam.

Neither occurred and as a result, Crescenta Valley remained unbeaten and coasted to a 45-14 Pacific League win over the Bulldogs at Glendale High’s Moyse Field on Friday night.

“Every phase of the game, mentally, physically, emotionally, they took it to us,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said. “They were hungrier than we were and that was evident.”

Colman added: “A lot of those seniors were sophomores and we’ve gotten them the last couple of years and they came out mad about that. They wanted to get back and be a championship team and set themselves up for a playoff run.”

There were two bright spots for the Bulldogs (242 total net yards) and the first was Araradian’s 56-yard scoring pass to Pena (122 yards on eight catches) with 1:52 left in the opening quarter that evened the game at 7-7 and closed a 75-yard, five-play trek.

The other was a one-yard carry from Glover (29 yards on 10 rushes) with 3:08 left in the fourth period that ended a 50-yard, two-play march as the Bulldogs (3-4 and 2-1 in league) cut the Falcons’ lead to 31 points.

For much of the evening, Araradian was running away from the Crescenta Valley defense which sacked him five times for minus-forty yards.

Crescenta Valley (6-0 and 3-0 in league) proved too good from the start as it moved ahead 7-0 when junior running back Sebastian DeLeon capped a 60-yard, five-play excursion with a one-yard run and 8:03 left in the first quarter.

Senior runnning back Isaac Glover, pictured in a recent Pacific League game, had a rushing score for the Bulldogs against the Falcons. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Falcons were knocking on the door two possessions later, but senior running back Maximus Grant (109 yards on 22 carries and 65 yards on two receptions) fumbled at the Burbank two-yard line as the ball squirted into the end zone.

On its next series, Crescenta Valley, the CIF Southern Section Division X No. 1 ranked team, did score to make it 14-7 as senior quarterback Chase Center (13 of 18 for 252 yards) located senior wide receiver Angel Ochoa with a short pass which resulted in a 47-yard touchdown as 8:17 remained before halftime.

Ochoa, a defensive back, would add an interception and a 65-yard return with 4:21 left in the contest that made it 45-7.

“We’re talking about a team, in terms of Burbank, that was scary offensively, that highly-touted quarterback [Araradian], and he is good, I’m not saying he’s not, but once again you saw what our defense can do,” Crescenta Valley coach Hudson Gossard said of his stifling defense. “Late score at the end. We held them to seven points basically the entire game.”

With 2:51 showing before the intermission, Center (59 rushing yards on 12 carries) had the ball at the Crescenta Valley 47-yard line and six plays later hooked up with senior wide receiver Colby Rees (87 yards on four receptions) on a 20-yard strike as the Falcons’ extended their lead to 21-7.

The next time Crescenta Valley, which only punted once, had the football, it marched 61 yards on six plays and ended when Center drilled Rees with a 24-yard laser for a 28-7 edge as 45 seconds remained.

The Falcons (418 total yards) took the second half kickoff and made it 35-7 when Center hit Rees with a 22-yard scoring pass as 6:49 was left in the third quarter and finalized an 11-play, 67-yard drive.

When sophomore kicker Anthony Sharlakian converted a 30-yard field goal with 2:01 on the clock in the third period, the Falcons zoomed ahead 38-7.

Burbank’s next league match will be play on Friday at 7 p.m. when it hosts Muir at Memorial Field.

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.

Burbank Football Has No Break Down in Win Over Orange Vista

By Damaris Duran

The Burbank High football team didn’t have the best of times getting to its football game Friday night in Perris against Orange Vista High.

The Bulldogs’ bus broke down en route to the Riverside County school, causing the contest to start late.

But the Bulldogs didn’t let a minor setback before the whistle interfere with the plans they had for on the field.

With elevated spirit and energy that the team brought with them onto the field, the Bulldogs pulled off a surprising 35-21 come-from-behind victory to earn their first victory of the season.

“Control what you can control. Just lock in mentally, start visualizing and you’re ready to go,” Coach Adam Colman said about what he told his team.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

The night started in Orange Vista’s favor when junior Randy Wilkins scored the game’s first touchdown in the first quarter.

But Bulldog junior Jarren Flowers helped even things up as his 45-yard interception return with 2:57 left made it 7-7.

By the end of the first quarter, Orange Vista had scored again to take a 14-7 lead.

Both teams demonstrated strong defenses that the scoreboard remained intact throughout the second quarter.

Burbank drew even again late in the third quarter as quarterback Aram Araradian completed a 57-yard touchdown pass to junior Brandon Pena.

It was anybody’s game at that point going into the fourth quarter before Burbank stepped up and took over.

With less than seven minutes remaining, once again, Araradian completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Pena to give Burbank a 21-14 lead.

On Orange Vista’s ensuing drive, senior Vincent Vang intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown, the Bulldogs’ second pick-six of the night.

Orange Vista was not finished, however, as it rallied quickly to score, cutting the difference to 28-21.

To finish the night off, senior Ian Miller scored returned an onsides kick attempt by Orange Vista all the way with just 31 seconds left to play.

“[We’ll] get home, get some sleep, wake up tomorrow, watch some film and get back to work,” said Coach Colman. “We got Hart next week and it’s a great program, great team, so we’ve got to get back to work.”

 

 

 

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 Gets Another ‘Moral Victory’ in Loss

Burbank High football coach Adam Colman is tired of playing great, but coming up short on the scoreboard.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Friday night Colman got a great effort from his young Bulldogs against a Moorpark High team loaded with players who will be playing their trade on Saturdays in future years.
In the end, the Bulldogs fell just short, losing the season opener 14-7 at Memorial Field.

“Downey a couple of years ago, Hart last year, the CIF championship, We’ve been really close in a lot of big-time time games. I just want to get one,” Colman said. “I’m tired of moral victories. That’s the frustrating part. But those kids played with a lot of heart. I think it took them a quarter to really believe.”
Colman said he schedules difficult opponents like Moorpark, which will be in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs this year should it qualify for the postseason.

“We’re a young team. There’s a lot of returners from last year, but they’re still young. For them to believe,” Colman said of his players. “There are some legit football players on that team. When you can line up with those guys and go toe to toe you probably should have won if you did a couple of things differently, you can never walk into a game scared.”

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Burbank junior quarterback Aram Araradian, who has spent some time on the varsity the last two seasons, grew up quickly. He completed 13 of 27 passes for 227 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Running back Isaac Glover was solid, carrying the ball 18 times for 72 yards.

The Bulldogs hurt themselves on offense by being called for a false start 14 times. They had just two more penalties the rest of the game.
Burbank had a chance to strike in the second quarter after getting the ball on the Moorpark 3-yard line following a snap on a punt that went over the head of Blake Sturgill, who is also Moorpark’s quarterback.
But penalties prevented the Bulldogs from getting on the board.

The game remained scoreless until late in the first half when Sturgill scored on a 1-yard keeper. Moorpark surprisingly didn’t move the ball as well as one might expect given that it has a massive offensive line. Moorpark left tackle Jonah Monheim, who is 6-foot-5 and is 290 pounds hold offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, and USC among others. The Muskateers have three more linemen at more than 250 pounds as well as 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end Lucas Egurbide.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Burbank tied things with 7:08 left in the third quarter as Araradian found Brandon Pena on a 31-yard touchdown.

Moorpark scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown with 4:09 left, as Sturgill hooked up with Ashton Benner on a 17-yard touchdown.

Burbank put together a nice drive to nearly tie things. But Moorpark sacked Araradian at the 25-yard line in the final minute of the game.

The Bulldogs go on the road next week against Golden Valley at Canyon High School in Canyon Country.

 

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.”

 

 

 

Burbank Can’t Keep Pace With Hart, Falls 49-28

By Rick Assad

For a second, if you closed your eyes and went back in time you may have thought Friday’s football game between Burbank High and Hart was a battle in the Foothill League.

It wasn’t and when it was over the Bulldogs didn’t have enough gas in the tank and lost to the Indians 49-28 in a nonleague match at Memorial Field.

Senior quarterback Matthew Porras had two scoring passes in a 49-28 loss to Hart. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Each team is gunning for the CIF Southern Section playoffs, but on this warm night the Indians made more big plays than the Bulldogs, who last met Hart in 2005.

Burbank (1-2) started strong and led 14-0 in the first quarter as sophomore wide receiver Brandon Pena raced 95 yards on the initial kickoff to make it 7-0.

Burbank’s lead became 14-0 with 4:38 left as senior quarterback Matthew Porras (10 of 24 for 126 yards with three interceptions) and senior running back Chadz Vang (26 yards on three catches) hooked up on an 11-yard scoring pass that made it 14-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, senior wide receiver Michael Colangelo went 97 yards that sliced the lead in half.

Hart’s offense accounted for six touchdowns against Burbank, including Ethan Blair, who had one. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Indians (2-1) evened it at 14-14 when junior quarterback Zach Johnson, who was playing in only his third varsity game, threw the first of five scoring passes, this time hitting senior wide receiver Jacob Montes (87 yards on six receptions) with a five-yard bullet as 9:12 remained in the second quarter.

From this point, Hart outscored Burbank 35-14 including 14-0 in the fourth period.

“They made the momentum plays. They made critical plays at big moments and we didn’t,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said. “They executed in the big moments and we didn’t. That wins football games.”

The Indians (372 total net yards) then moved ahead 21-14 on a two-yard scurry by senior running back Ethan Blair (106 yards on 24 carries) as 5:07 remained before the half.

The Bulldogs had a tough time running the ball against the Indians. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The teams then exchanged turnovers which led to Burbank tying the contest at 21-21 when Vang located the end zone on a 15-yard scamper and 1:51 left before the break.

“It was a dog fight and that’s what we expected,” Colman said. “We knew we were going to play a really good team. A really well coached team. It was a test for us to get ready for the playoffs. We have to learn from this so when we’re in the playoffs, we have to be ready for it.”

Hart’s opening drive of the second half ended with a seven-yard toss from Johnson (18 of 29 for 252 yards) to Colangelo (46 yards on four catches) as 6:55 remained as the Indians led 28-21.

Matthew Porras ran for 55 yards on 17 carries. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

On Hart’s next series, Johnson capped the drive that began at the Hart 31-yard line with a 34-yard strike to junior wide receiver Drew Munoz and came with 2:24 left that gave the Indians a 35-21 edge.

“They’re a very talented team. They’re very good,” said Hart coach Mike Herrington, who is in his 30th season of the Bulldogs. “We had a hard time containing their quarterback.”

The Bulldogs (213 total yards) came within 35-28 when Porras (55 yards on 17 carries) and senior tight end Duncan Smith (73 yards on three catches) hooked up on a 52-yard play as 58.8 seconds remained in the third.

Hart’s lead became 42-28 with eight minutes on the clock in the fourth as Johnson hit Munoz (96 yards on four receptions) with a 23-yard strike and it became 49-28 with 5:32 left when Johnson found Munoz with a 25-yard toss.

Burbank’s next game is a Pacific League encounter against Hoover at home on Friday with a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Burbank Football Looking for a Ring

The last two seasons have been arguably the best in school history for the Burbank High football team.
The Bulldogs still have a nice core intact from last season’s Pacific League championship team that went on to the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 7 playoffs. A few players remain from the 2016 team that played for the Division 8 CIF title game.
So the level of expectation is quite high once again for Burbank, under second-year head coach Adam Colman.
The Bulldogs moved up two divisions and will now play in Division 5.
“Whatever division we got put in goes without saying we want to win a ring. We’ve gotten really close the last two years. When you get that close you can taste it,” Colman said. “(Winning) League is obviously a goal, but that’s a stepping stone to bigger things. We all want to win a ring. Whatever division we are in we can’t control that. All we can control is what we do on the field.”

Matthew Porras will lead the Burbank offense once again in 2018. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Quarterback Matthew Porras was the co-Pacific League Player of the Year a season ago. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound quarterback who threw 30 touchdowns and over 2,600 yards a year ago, lost a few passing targets, but will still have a great one in senior Erik Harutyunyan (6-2, 190). Harutyunyan has been a star on both offense and defense the past two seasons. An outstanding student and a three-sport athlete, Harutyunyan should be on the radar of every Ivy League school.

Erik Harutyunyan is a three-year starter on both sides of the ball. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

The other big target Porras will have is senior tight end Duncan Smith (6-4, 240) who has offers from many major colleges, many of which are in the Mountain West Conference. Junior Ben Burnham (6-1, 175) is another receiver who could shine.
Colman said sophomore Brandon Pena (5-10, 165) could be a star if he continues to work hard.
Running the ball, Burbank returns senior Chadz Vang (5-5, 140) who is extremely quick and changes direction very easily. Junior Issac Glover (5-9, 195) will give Burbank a back who can pick up yards in short yardage situations.
Freshman star running back Jack Sapyta (5-10, 140), who is also an accomplished sprinter in track and field, is expected to begin the season on the junior varsity team along with sophomore quarterback Aram Araradian (5-11, 170). Araradian saw time on varsity last season and is ready to go if needed.

Duncan Smith gives Burbank a huge target at tight end. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Burbank’s offensive line will be led seniors Kris Azizkhani (6-2, 300) and Esper Alsayegh (6-0, 260). Seniors Matthew Sanchez (5-11, 240), Oscar De La Cruz (5-10, 220) and junior Armando De La Cruz (5-9, 225) figure to fill out the rest of the group that will look to push the Bulldogs down the field.
Burbank’s defense line will be strong again, despite the loss of star Anthony Lira to graduation.
Karo Koshkaryan (6-3, 235) is a returning all league pick. Joining him will be Smith and Azizkhani. Also in the mix are juniors Seth Jones (6-2, 240) and Devin Housholder (6-1, 190).
Burbank is a little younger, but still very talented in the linebacker position.
Sophomore Max Mendieta (5-8, 185) is an excellent student and Colman said he has a “Nose for the ball.”
Sophomore Austin Blacano (6-2, 210), junior Tyler Murphy (5-9, 190) and senior Alejandro Martinez (6-1, 190) also figure to help out as linebackers.

Kris Azizkhani figures to play a key role on both sides of the ball for the Bulldogs. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Harutyunyan clearly leads the secondary and will be looking forward to matching up against Moorpark star and USC commit Drake London, when the teams meet in a nonleague contest in Burbank’s second game.
Junior Vincent Vang (5-6, 150), junior Ian Miller (5-10, 170), Burnham, Pena and sophomores Owen Cusumano (5-10, 155) and Jarren Flowers (6-0, 165) are all fighting for playing time in the secondary.