They have seen the Burbank-Burroughs Big Game cross-town football
contest from all sides.
From battling on the field as players, guiding the action from the
sidelines as coaches, or organizing the festivities as
administrators, thousands have donned the Bulldog blue and white and
the Indian red and white to be a part of one of the most storied high
For the lucky individuals who have been entrenched in the annual
battle, memories of their time involved with the rivalry are vivid
and almost always long lasting.
Even when they are five decades removed from their respective
schools, pictures and intimate details of the Big Game are as fresh
as if they happened yesterday.
Some of the former local standouts share their recollections about
the 54-year rivalry.
LEO ORANGE (Burbank player)
Playing on the last Foothill League champion Bulldog team in 1972,
Orange was the quarterback on the squad that defeated Burroughs,
14-0, that year. The team also featured future UCLA standout Kenny
“I remember that game very well,” said Orange, who is head of the
disabled students department at Oxnard College. “We had Kenny at
running back and Kirk Roberts at fullback, and we just ran all over
Burroughs. They really opened it up for me and I was able to run as
Orange said he also has another fond memory of his time as a
“I was so excited when [the Burbank Daily Review] ran my picture
on the front page with my then girlfriend after a game,” he said. “I
was holding my helmet and I had my arm around my girlfriend. I will
never forget it.”
GINO BARRAGAN (Burroughs
player, assistant coach)
As a junior in 1992, his Indian team went 0-10 and lost to
Burbank, 21-17, in the Big Game.
The Indians brought in Coach Gary Bernardi -- who had been an
assistant at USC -- in 1993, and the team not only went 5-6, but
defeated the Bulldogs, 31-6 -- and Burbank hasn’t won since.
“On that team in 1993, we had some pretty good players: Mike Reily
(Burroughs assistant coach), Eddie Melgar and Jimmy Thompson,”
Barragan said. “The great thing is I still see these guys around and
they even come to some of the football games.
“This rivalry is something you never forget. I’m just happy I have
been able to be a part of it for a few years.”
HAM LLOYD (Burbank coach)
Making his debut as Bulldogs’ coach in 1955, Steve Searock and
Bill Reed helped give Lloyd his first win in the Big Game, a 20-14
He coached Burbank until 1966, and was also the school’s vice
“What I remember most about the annual game between Burbank and
Burroughs was the excitement it used to generate,” Lloyd said.
“Burbank wasn’t that big of a city back then, and the downtown was
nothing like it is now. But the game was so big back in the [1950s],
that most of the stores in downtown would close down because so many
people were at the game.
“We had some pretty good games back then. It was always a good,
spirited rivalry between the two teams.”
One of the most prolific Indian receivers of all time, Frishette
caught 82 passes for 1,221 yards (a 14.9 yards-per- catch average)
and 11 touchdowns in two seasons.
Frishette still recalls the 1974 Big Game and the excitement
surrounding the contest.
“In 1974, we were coming off a huge and tough win against Blair
High on Halloween night that clinched at least a tie for the Foothill
League [championship],” he said. “we were undefeated, and as it
turned out, I feel the greatest team in Burroughs history.
“That night, Burroughs was totally filled and we beat a really
good Burbank High team, 36-0. We went on to finish 11-1, barely
losing to eventual CIF champions Santa Ana Valley. SAV won the
championship game the week after beating us by a score of 49-0.
“The next year in ’75, we beat [Burbank], 49-0. That year they
were a damaged team, but winning two years in a row by a combined
score of 85-0 is pretty sweet.”
DAVE KEMP (Burbank coach,
Kemp has been around the rivalry since the early 1960s, and has
seen his share of exciting moments and outstanding players. However,
there is one aspect of the Big Game that always amazes him.
“So many times during the games, you have a player come out of the
woodwork to come up with a big play or a big performance that makes
him a hero of the game,” said Kemp, a member of the Burbank school
board. “I’ve seen that so many times.
“The rivalry brings out the best in players, and you see things in
that game you might not see in any other games.
MARTY GARRISON (Burroughs
player, coach, athletic
director; Burbank coach)
Garrison has the distinction of having coached for both the
cross-town schools, and rarely misses a Big Game.
“I started going to the games when I was in junior high in 1958,”
he said. “And I’ve only missed a few since then.
“The thing about this game is, no matter what the records of the
teams, you never know who’s going to win.”
Friday night, another chapter will be written, and more memories
* JEFF TULLY is the sports editor of the Burbank Leader. He can be
reached at 637-3245, or by e-mail at email@example.com.