Turning on the AC: Homecoming takes on different theme

Turning on the AC: Homecoming takes on different theme
Burbank High football enjoyed a rare home victory Friday on campus. ((Photo Miguel Vasconcellos))

There were no kings, queens, Harry Potter-themed courts nor extra-long halftime shows, but this past weekend the area enjoyed a pair of very successful homecomings.

On Friday evening, the Burbank High football team returned "home" to its campus and routed Glendale, 59-0, in the Pacific League opener.


Two days later, former Glendale Community College star Andy Reid guided his Kansas City Chiefs to a 24-10 victory over the host Los Angeles Chargers at Carson's StubHub Center.

Now, neither game was an actual homecoming on the schedule, but the emotions and memories made for special events.


Perhaps part of the fun of both games was the intimacy.

Burbank had an overflow crowd at 6:30 p.m., half an hour before the contest's start time. Fans were elbow-to-elbow sandwiched in between the band and cheerleaders in the only eight-row deep bleachers.

The contest was a far cry from the team's "home" opener at Memorial Field on Sept. 8, a game the Bulldogs lost to Downey, 35-7.

Only three sections of the 16-row deep bleachers were filled and shouts from the crowd, let alone the pomp and circumstance of the band, dissipated into the crisp night air.

A bye and a change of venue later and the atmosphere was completely different on campus.

Burbank players entered to a roar from the crowd that could be heard past Glendale's sideline on N. Glenoaks Blvd.

At the 3:46 mark in the second quarter, an unknown player entered the game at quarterback for Burbank High, replacing starter Matthew Porras. Neither this player's name nor number were on the game-day roster. Fortunately, it only took a few minutes to figure out who he was.

A small, but boisterous part of the student section cheered his name and his father could be heard on the other side of the field calling out "Rambo," a nickname for freshman Aram Araradian.

Even in a rout, the energy did not die down for Burbank.

Almost 45 minutes after the game's conclusion, all of Burbank's players and fans finally left the field. It had been nine years since the team last played on campus, so no one was sure when they would be back.

It took a big effort from Burbank school administrators and coaches to bring in extra benches, coordinate arraignments and make sure Friday's game was fun and safe.

Burbank coach Adam Colman hinted that perhaps this would be a yearly occurrence for the team, where the squad would schedule one game on campus.

Now, it wasn't all puppy dogs and sunshine, especially for the Glendale fans that largely had to stand and were blocked out by their own team on plays in the middle of the field.

I can't imagine Crescenta Valley or Burroughs backers accepting that.

However, for one night, it was nearly perfect.

Speaking of perfection, Reid remained so Sunday.

Thanks to a strong start, Kansas City blitzed Los Angeles for in front of 25, 386 people at the also cozy StubHub Center to improve to 3-0.

In a highly successful coaching career that includes a Super Bowl berth and numerous postseason appearances, Reid had never won in the Los Angeles area as an NFL assistant or head coach.

Now to be fair, he didn't have a chance between 1995 and 2015, when the NFL took its talent to Oakland and St. Louis.

With the move of Kansas City's AFC West rival San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles earlier this year, Reid can now go home at least once a year.

Though Reid's exploits with Glendale took place in the mid-70s, his mark is all over the campus, whether that's the scoreboard he paid for, the hall of fame he's a part of or the coaches and players he's directly affected.

Maybe in the future GCC can organize a ticket day to watch its greatest NFL success build more local memories.

Yup, it's always nice to win at home.