This season’s Burbank High football team has accomplished something
no other squad has done in 15 years.
Opening the season with a 4-1 record, this year’s Bulldogs
accomplished that feat for the first time since the 1988 team blazed its way to a fine start -- and one of the best league finishes in
But it wasn’t an easy task for the 1988 team, as Burbank had to
overcome a disheartening setback the year before to put together a
In 1987, the Bulldogs were off to a 6-2 start before they were
given bad news. Because of the use of an ineligible player, the
Bulldogs were forced to forfeit all of their wins. Devastated by the
turn of events, the team ended the season 0-10.
The next season brought a new Coach in Randy Stage -- former Coach
Dave Carson moved on to Hart to head the rival Foothill League
program -- and a burning desire for the players to make up for the
The Bulldogs were packed with talent, especially on offense. Not
only could they throw the ball with quarterback Anthony Valento and
receivers Dan Shaw, Jim Cafferty and tight end Edmundo Zepeda, but
Burbank could also run the ball with workman-like efficiency behind
fullback Bill Charles and running backs Tarin Cardenaz and Tony
The players were able to take advantage of an offensive line that
was both talented and almost impenetrable. Standouts John Cotti, Cory
Kessinger, David Murphy, Anthony Morelli, Ricky Castillo, Maurice
Randin, Chad Peltier and Berry Stott made the Bulldogs strong on
offense, as well as defense.
On defense, linebackers Mark Kyle, John Lowry, John Youn and Jay
Summers, defensive tackles Anthony Koulax, defensive end Robert
Romero and defensive backs Erin Granata and John Bojorquez gave the
team a great deal of depth.
However, for a team with a lot of talent, many of the players
competed on offense and defense.
Despite the number of standouts, the Bulldogs began the season
terribly, falling to Claremont in a nonleague game, 33-0.
Undaunted, the Bulldogs put together a string of four straight
nonleague victories, which included wins against Bellarmine-Jefferson
(20-3), Crescenta Valley (14-7), La Canada (24-22) and Glendale
It was the best season start for a Burbank team in 10 years.
Coincidently, the Bulldogs also defeated Glendale, 20-0, Friday to
give this year’s team its 4-1 mark.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, their happiness about beginning a
fine season would be short-lived, as they were beaten the next week
by San Gabriel, 14-6, to open league play.
But Burbank wasn’t finished with its accomplishments that season.
The team came up with its biggest win of the campaign when it
upset Hart -- and Coach Carson -- 21-7, in a league game at College
of the Canyons. It was the Indians’ first league loss in five years.
The big play of the game came in the second half, when Granata
intercepted Hart quarterback Rob Westervelt and returned it 22 yards
for a touchdown.
Burbank went 3-2 in league -- its other loss was a 35-15 setback
to Burroughs -- to finish second.
The team made it to the CIF Southern Section III playoffs, where
the Bulldogs were defeated by Placentia El Dorado, 24-14.
Cardenaz was a workhorse for the Bulldogs (7-4), gaining 946 yards
and scoring 10 touchdowns. He also had three interceptions as a
Much like the 1988 team, this season’s Burbank squad has been able
to bounce back from a bad season (2-8 in 2002) to put together a fine
year so far. And as league play begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday against
Hart at College of the Canyons, could this season’s Bulldogs pull off
an upset of their own?