BURBANK — It was a goal the Burbank High football team was not about to fall short of accomplishing.
Having already secured a share of the Pacific League championship, the Bulldogs could secure an outright title with a win Friday evening in the 69th rendition of the Big Game crosstown clash.
Although the Indians trailed by just a touchdown early in the third quarter, the Bulldogs stepped on the gas and left their rivals in their rearview mirror, defeating Burroughs, 41-14, at Memorial Field.
It is the first league title for Burbank since it shared the championship with Burroughs in 2009. It is also the first undisputed crown for the Bulldogs in 45 years, when they were in the Foothill League.
“This is really special,” said Burbank coach Adam Colman, who is in his first year. “Some people picked us to finish fourth in the league this year. This is just a special group and they really worked for this.
“This just shows what hard work and loving each other and just buying in can do. ...When you believe in something and everyone buys in, you can accomplish great things.”
The Indians (4-5, 3-4) came into the game hobbled by injuries and undermanned. But, despite the setbacks, Burroughs trailed by just seven points, 21-14, with 10:31 left in the third quarter.
“I couldn’t be more proud right now of our guys," said Burroughs coach Mike Reily, whose team finished fifth in league. “With the injuries that we’ve had the last couple weeks and the dudes we had playing, our guys could have very easily caved and given up, but they battled and they were warriors tonight.”
Burbank (8-2, 7-0 in league), ranked No. 8 in CIF Southern Section Division VII, was led by four touchdown passes from junior quarterback Matthew Porras, who completed 20 of 33 passes for 239 yards and scores of seven, 21, 18 and 10 yards. He also had three interceptions.
Catching three of those touchdowns was junior Duncan Smith, who hauled in eight passes for 130 yards.
On the ground, senior Darnell Williams had 30 carries for 151 yards and touchdowns of two and three yards.
Porras and Smith hooked up on two scoring strikes to put Burbank in front, 14-0, with 8:35 left in the second quarter. Porras hit senior Kaydon Spens for an 18-yard touchdown to make it 21-0 with 4:14 remaining before half.
But Burroughs senior Charlie Rodriguez took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 96 yards to put the Indians on the board.
Burbank went into halftime leading, 21-7, after holding Burroughs to just 47 yards of total offense in the first half.
The Indians narrowed the deficit to 21-14 when junior quarterback Nathan Piper (nine of 16 for 160 yards) threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to senior Gavin Aguilar (two catches for 84 yards).
But the Burbank defense stiffened thereafter and the Indians had trouble moving the ball.
“It’s great to have the kind of defense that we have knowing that they are going to get the ball back for us,” Porras said. “Tonight we just tried to do some different things on offense and a lot of it worked.”
Burbank, which has won seven straight, increased its lead to 28-14 after three quarters.
The Bulldogs, who advanced to the Division VIII championship in 2016, will find out their playoff fate when the pairings are released by the CIF office Sunday morning.