The Burbank High football team saw three quarterback changes, a stellar defensive performance and a fourth-quarter comeback fall short on Monday in a 20-15 loss against Muir in Pacific League play at Memorial Field.
The Bulldogs’ defense was the saving grace in a game where their offensive sputtered at times.
Burbank (3-5, 2-2 in league) put itself in a position to score a late touchdown with time winding down in the fourth quarter and trailing, 20-15. But a failed two-minute drill would give the Bulldogs their second league loss of the season.
The game was originally scheduled for last Friday but had to be rescheduled for Monday after poor air quality from a nearby brush fired prompted the postponement.
The Burbank defense led the scoring against Muir with eight points, while backup quarterback Kuba Raymond added a rushing touchdown.
“Our kids battled all game, especially the defense,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said. “They basically put up all 15 points and they showed heart to keep us in it until the last whistle.”
Burbank got what it wanted on the first drive of the game. Starting quarterback Aram Araradian found Ben Burnham for a 26-yard gain, and with the help of Issac Glover’s 22 rushing yards, the Bulldogs were in the red zone.
The Muir defense locked down the Burbank’s offense, forcing a field goal attempt that was blocked.
That backed up the Mustangs (6-1, 3-0) — No. 1 in CIF Southern Section Division XI — up at their own 15-yard line and the Burbank defense forced a fumble into the end zone. Linebacker Lucas Sheppe recovered the ball to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
Muir’s offense recovered well, however, driving down the field and ending the drive with a quarterback sneak to tie the game up at 7.
Araradian struggled move the ball in the second quarter as the Muir secondary covered the receivers well. Glover also couldn’t find a rhythm, only rushing for two yards in six carries.
Things got even worse for the Bulldogs when Araradian was hit late and helped off the field, holding his left arm. He came back out on the field with his arm in a sling to support his teammates, but didn’t return to play. Araradian finished with 42 yards on six-of-11 passing.
“Initial thoughts is that it’s a sprained AC joint, the pain is going away but I’m still getting it checked out again,” Araradian said.
Muir got the ball back and Tyrikk Lawson rushed into the end zone to stake the Mustangs to a14-7 lead, while backup quarterback Raymond warmed up on the sideline.
“Coach told me to just do whatever I could on the field,” Raymond said.
Burbank’s offense relied on Glover to pick up the slack, but he couldn’t find holes through the Muir defense. Kuba’s first throw he was intercepted, as he finished the first half with no completions in three attempts.
“He stepped up in a tough spot, but he was sick all week and didn’t really practice,” Colman said.
The Bulldogs’ defense held back Muir heading into halftime, going into the locker room down, 14-7.
Colman replaced Raymond for Vincent Vang to start the second half. Vang completed one pass for four yards before Raymond eventually came back in. The offense continued to struggle and Muir would extend its lead to 20-7.
Raymond continued to struggle, but started to use his legs. He rushed for 22 yards to get into the red zone. However, the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs after receiver Brandon Pena just missed a reception near the goal line.
On Muir’s first play after the turnover on downs, Burbank’s Ian Miller intercepted a pass and brought it down to the 2-yard line. Raymond ran for a two-yard score get the Bulldogs their first offensive touchdown of the game. Following a two-point conversion, the lead was whittled down to five points.
“He had a couple big runs that got the team energized again and I was proud of him,” Colman said.
With 2:15 left, Burbank had the ball, but failed to get a first down. Muir took over and ran out the clock.
Burbank will have a short turnaround before its next game, as it is scheduled to host Glendale in a Pacific League game at 7 p.m. Friday at its on-campus field.
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