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Game is a right of spring for Burbank

Jim Riggio

It isn’t something the Burbank High football team likes to remember,

but deep down everyone knows the Bulldogs have not won a Foothill

League game since 1992.

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However, after a productive spring, the 2003 Bulldogs are looking

to end more than a decade of futility in the Foothill League, one of

the toughest leagues in Southern California.

On Wednesday night, the Bulldogs looked revved up and ready to

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make an impact in their annual Blue-White intrasquad scrimmage.

“Our kids are small, and we’re not as strong as every team in the

conference, " second-year Burbank Coach Greg Sobiech said. “We can’t

make mistakes if we expect to win. These kids have worked extremely

hard [this offseason], but we still have a long way to go.”

While Burbank showed tremendous progress last season by going 3-7,

the Bulldogs figure to only get better as quarterback Mike McDonald

-- who passed for more than 1,800 yards as a sophomore in 2002 -- is

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a year older and has grown both physically and mentally.

“He’s much calmer now,” Sobiech said of McDonald. “He did an

outstanding job last year, but now you’re starting to see his

maturity. I have him for two more years, so it’s exciting.”

Sobiech said he should have a fine supporting cast to surrounding

the quarterback.

“We’ve had two excellent freshmen classes [the past two years],

and the new freshman class, based on the ones who have came to

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orientation, should be even better,” Sobiech said.

Sobiech is expecting big things from senior Robert Nichols, who

missed last season with shin splints. The Bulldog coach said the

6-foot-1, 190-pound receiver/defensive back has received interest

from several four-year schools including Fresno State, Boise State

and San Diego State.

Two other seniors who will be expected to contribute are

linebacker Jonathon Suarez and offensive guard Paul Hernandez.

The league doesn’t figure to get any easier this fall, as CIF

Southern Section power Hart returns its quarterback Sean Norton, and

Canyon has one of the nation’s best throwers in 6-5, 220-pound Nate

Longshore.

But with the improvements Burbank has made, few should expect the

Bulldogs to be an easy opponent.


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