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Record Is Black Mark to Burbank

Years from now, perhaps few will remember which school was victimized in a record-setting game by Jason Falitz of Burroughs High.

But the wounds are still fresh for Burbank players, coaches and administration a week after Falitz scored a state-high 26 goals in a 38-1 rout.

“I’m glad that they broke the record, but I think a score of 38-1 and him in [the game] the whole time to do it is just ridiculous,” said Frank Kallem, Burbank’s athletic director.

“I don’t think it shows very good sportsmanship.”

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A day before playing Burbank, Burroughs players unanimously voted to support the high-scoring Falitz in a quest to break a 20-year mark held by Kevin Parkes of Colton, who scored 24 in a game in 1979.

Coach Rey Rivera was against the idea initially, but pleading seniors helped change his mind.

“The team voted to do it, to stand behind Jason and help him do it, and I stand behind this team,” Rivera said.

“Remember these are kids whose only chance of being on a team and being a part of something really special is in high school.”

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Rivera said the team chose to go for the record against Burbank because of the cross-town rivalry, not because Burbank was 2-15 and an easy mark.

The game, which was hosted by Burroughs, was a big production, according to Rivera. The school band, cheerleaders and five times as many fans filled the bleachers to support the record-setting quest.

“The mentality here is that Burbank would have done the same thing to us if they could have,” Rivera said.

But Burbank, a fledgling program which has had five coaches in five years, appears years from payback, which Coach Melissa Simmons would never endorse.

“I congratulate them and Jason on his accomplishment, but I think the means that he took were extreme and unnecessary,” Simmons said.

“I would like to see the cross-town rivalry be more respectful than disrespectful.”

Rivera said Burroughs has suffered backlash from other coaches and athletic directors over the record-setting game and how it was approached.

But Rivera is not remorseful.

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“I definitely stand behind my decision,” he said.

“It’s one thing to run up the score. It’s another to go for a record.”

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Coach Steve Snyder of Royal saw it coming. He nearly predicted it.

Not 24 hours after Royal beat Crescenta Valley, 13-5, in a nonleague game, the Highlanders lost to Mira Costa, 8-7, in double overtime after rallying from a five-goal deficit.

Crescenta Valley is ranked No. 2 and Mira Costa No. 4 in Division III.

“We did have a letdown, there’s no doubt about it,” Snyder said.

Snyder warned of a possible letdown against Mira Costa immediately following the Highlanders’ win over Crescenta Valley.

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How did he know?

“My 25 years around adolescence,” he quipped.

“The whole thing was to our advantage,” Snyder said.

“We wanted to expose some of our weaknesses, which is what we did.”

Royal is ranked No. 3 in Division IV.

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Snyder isn’t the only coach finding something positive in defeat.

Coach Pete Loporchio of Crescenta Valley was preaching the same thing after Royal ended the Falcons’ 16-game winning streak.

“In the big picture, this may be the best thing that could have happened,” Loporchio said.

Loporchio likened the loss to one suffered by the boys’ swimming team last season.

The Falcons, also coached by Loporchio, lost to Hart, snapping a 69-dual meet winning streak. Crescenta Valley defeated Hart in the Southern Section Division II finals later that season.

“This may be very similar to that situation,” Loporchio said. “The kids have really gone back to the drawing board and we’ve had some great practices.”

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Carlos Pelayo, Crescenta Valley’s two-meter player, is closing in on a school record.

Pelayo has scored 116 goals in 22 games and needs 24 to break the school single-season record of 139 set by Fred Axelgard in 1970.

Crescenta Valley could have as many as six games left if the Falcons advance to the section final.

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Royal clinched its 18th Marmonte League title in 19 years with victories over Agoura and Thousand Oaks this week.

And the streak begins again. One and counting. Agoura ended Royal’s 17-year league title streak last year.

“It’s nice to be back in the winner’s circle,” Coach Snyder said.

Still, Snyder harbors no illusions of seeing Royal build another monster streak.

“There’s going to be a lot more parity in the years to come,” he said. “Everybody has basically copied what we’ve done, so we’ll take that as a complement.”

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In the final week of regular season, the Almont, Foothill, Pacific and Rio Hondo league titles will be determined this week by four-team league tournaments.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

The Top 5

Rankings of region water polo teams

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RK School Rec. 1 Harvard-Westlake 16-5 2 La Canada 20-3 3 Royal 19-6 4 Crescenta Valley 20-2 5T Burroughs 20-3 5T Ventura 16-2

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