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.
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.
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.