The Burbank High football team might not have accomplished everything it set out to do during the 2019 season.
However, the Bulldogs did earn some quality victories and a host of players enjoyed impressive accomplishments and put up big numbers during the campaign.
Two of those players, seniors Ben Burnham and Vincent Vang, were singled out for their accomplishments. The Bulldogs pair was bestowed with All-CIF Southern Section Division VII honors Monday, when the CIF office released the list of first-team honorees for all 14 divisions.
“It’s really cool that we’re at a place with our program that now it’s that kind of the expectation,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said about the All-CIF recognition. “Our year wasn’t to our expectations as a program, but we were third place in league and we won a playoff game and we competed against some of the top teams in the area.
“The other coaches spoke highly about our kids and how they battled. It’s nice to have that reputation that we have good players who play hard.”
Burnham and Vang played crucial roles in helping Burbank be successful. While Burnham earned All-Pacific League first-team honors on offense, Vang was an all-league first-team pick on defense.
“Both of those guys came up big for us last season,” Colman said. “They were definitely two key guys for us.
Ben and Vinny really stood out for us, and I think other teams saw that.”
Burnham enjoyed an impressive campaign as a senior receiver. He caught 43 passes for 1,015 yards and nine touchdowns in 12 games. He broke a Burbank record for receiving yards in a game with 308 in a league game against Arcadia. On defense, he tallied 12 total tackles.
“Ben was a kid who came in his sophomore year never having played football before because he was a basketball player,” Colman said. “But as a sophomore, he learned the game and as a junior he was surrounded by some pretty good players and he really learned a lot from them.
“As a senior, he became a blend of all the good things he learned from those players as a junior and he used that as a jumping-off point for his success. He just watched a ton of film and he asked a lot of questions and that’s what made him better.”
Vang, who proved to be a versatile all-around player for the Bulldogs, notched 54 tackles and two interceptions in 12 games as a senior defensive back. On offense, Vang, who played a variety of positions because of Burbank injuries — including at quarterback — had 28 carries for 276 yards and two touchdowns, as well as throwing for two touchdowns. In addition, Vang had 353 kick-return yards.
“With Vinny, it wasn’t a tough sell at all getting him All-CIF,” Colman said. “Anyone who saw him play could tell you what a great player he is.
“He just had the ability to do it all for us in really a utility role. We could put him anywhere and he was able to do the job for us. He was everything, and I think that spoke volumes to the other coaches ... He just really stood out because of all that he could do.”
Burbank went 5-7 and placed third in the Pacific League (3-3) behind champion Crescenta Valley and runner-up Muir. The Bulldogs won their Division VII playoff opener against Don Lugo, 40-20, before falling in the second round to Serrano, 35-13.