The Burbank High football team entered its nonleague road game against Orange Vista with a two-game skid to start the season.
A four-hour bus ride and a 30-minute delay didn’t help the Bulldogs’ cause.
Though it was a rough start, Burbank gathered itself down the stretch and came away with its first win of the season in a 35-21 victory against Orange Vista on Friday.
“Winning is a lot more fun than losing,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said. “I’m proud of the kids. We talk about adversity all the time — bus is late, bus breaks down on the road, running late to the game — it’s easy to get distracted. ... We came out flat, they jumped on us and we bounced back.”
After eight incomplete passes to start the game, Burbank quarterback Aram Araradian finished 13 of 30 passing for 209 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while Bulldogs receiver Brandon Pena caught five passes for two touchdowns and 111 yards.
The offense struggled to gain footing for much of the game largely due to Orange Vista lineman Ethan Saunders, last year’s division defensive player of the year.
“It was a bit of a feat, but it’s football,” said Araradian of Saunders’ constant pressure. “I get hit for a living. I know I’m going to get hit, so you just have to be tough through it. It’s part of the game. You get hit, you bounce back up.
A key component to the Burbank defense was Vincent Vang, who intercepted two passes and returned one for a touchdown, while Jarren Flowers got the Bulldogs on board with an interception returned for a 55-yard score.
“We showed them it doesn’t matter that their line is that big,” Vang said. “Size doesn’t matter. Right now, our defense is nice and we’ve been training hard, doing all these drills that people don’t do. By doing that, this is what happens. We showed them tonight that our defense can do things that they can’t.”
Orange Vista, a CIF Southern Section Division XIII finalist in 2018, started the game completing six straight passes and scored first on a 21-yard pass at 8:49 in the first quarter.
While the Bulldogs struggled on offense, they succeeded on defense as Flowers evened the score at 7 with an interception returned for a 45-yard score with 2:57 remaining in the first.
The scoreline lasted just 33 seconds as Coyotes receiver Isiah Jones returned the ensuing kickoff for an 84-yard touchdown to take a 14-7 lead.
Scoreless in the second quarter, but with multiple opportunities, the Bulldogs finally reached the end zone when Araradian found Pena for a 53-yard touchdown to tie it at 14 with 4:31 remaining in the third.
With 6:19 left in the game, Araradian floated a 12-yard pass to Pena to give Burbank its first lead of the game, 21-14.
Vang picked off his second interception with 1:42 left and returned it for a touchdown to give Burbank a 28-14 lead.
Orange Vista (2-1) tallied a three-yard touchdown with 39 seconds left to cut the Burbank lead to 28-21. But Ian Miller recovered the onside kick to score on the 54-yard return to restore the Bulldogs’ two-score lead.