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1988 team found its way

Jeff Tully

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

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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

decades.

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

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winning campaign.

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

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previous season.

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

Spatola.

The players were able to take advantage of an offensive line that

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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

(34-2).

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

defensive back.

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?


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