Even with the season a number of weeks away, one particular game on the 2017 Burbank High football schedule is creating a buzz and anticipation among the Bulldogs coaches and players.
The excitement has nothing to do with the opponent for that game, or the fact that it will be the Pacific League opener for Burbank. Instead, it is the venue that is commanding interest.
For only the second time in 70 years, the Bulldogs will host a football game on campus. That league game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 21 against Glendale.
“It’s pretty exciting to be able to play a game on our home field,” said Burbank first-year coach Adam Colman, whose program plays its home games at Burroughs’ Memorial Field. “It’s very rare for us to be able to play at home and there are not too many players who have had that opportunity to do that for a number of years.
“It’s something that was brought up last year with [former] coach [Richard Broussard] and we thought it would be a great idea if we could coordinate it. When I first got go the job, one of the things I brought up was playing a game on campus. We are getting a lot of help to be able to host the game here.”
Colman said the plan is to bring in auxiliary stands and place them on the east side of the field on the Glenoaks Blvd. side. Burbank will use portable stands provided by the Burbank Vikings Youth Tackle Football program, which plays its home games at Burbank, and there are other stands on campus that could be utilized. Colman added if more stands are needed, the Bulldogs football booster club has volunteered to chip in with the cost.
The game will be the first on campus since 2008, when Burbank hosted a Saturday day game against Torrance in conjunction with the school’s centennial celebration. The Bulldogs lost, 35-0. Prior to that contest, it had been 60 years since the Bulldogs hosted at game at home.
“I was at that game that year for the centennial celebration and the excitement and atmosphere was just amazing,” said Colman, a former Bulldogs quarterback. “It was just such a cool environment and we just wanted to bring that kind of thing back. Just the school spirit and the pride it brings will make it all worth it. ... It’s just different playing at home.”
Building up to Pacific League competition, Burbank will play the same three nonleague opponents as it did in 20162006. A year ago, the Bulldogs (10-4, 6-1 in league) placed second in league behind champion Crescenta Valley and embarked on the most successful postseason run in program history, culminating with a first-ever berth in the CIF Southern Section Division VIII championship.
The Bulldogs, which who have moved up to CIF Division VII, will open 2017 on Aug. 25 with a nonleague game at Monrovia. Last season, Burbank defeated the Wildcats (6-5, 5-0), the Rio Hondo League champion, 33-7.
“When I was playing, that’s when Monrovia was winning CIF championships,” Colman said. “So we know they that have a good program and will be a well-run team. It’s been fun playing them the last couple of years and we know we will be in for a good, competitive game. ... It will be a good test for us.
“Plus, Monrovia is in the same division in CIF that we are.”
Burbank will continue nonleague play with a Sept. 1 game at Canyon Country Canyon, a team it lost to in 2016, 34-27. The Cowboys (4-6, 0-5) are coming off a season in which they placed last in the six-team Foothill League.
“Playing a team from the Foothill League is always going to be good for you to improve as a team,” Colman said. “We know their staff fairly well and they have a great staff. We played at their place a couple of years ago and they are always tough at home.”
That will springboard the Bulldogs into their home opener Sept. 8 against Downey (10-2, 5-0), the defending San Gabriel Valley champions.
“Last year, that was a game that we thought we should have won,” said Colman about the 7-6 loss. “That was a great game for us last year, although we lost. They were just so big on film and just the fact that we were able to play with them was a real confidence booster for us. That really showed us that we can play with anyone.”
Following a bye week, the league opener will be against the a Nitros (1-9, 0-7 for eighth place), a team the Bulldogs easily handled last season, 63-7.
The Bulldogs will follow with Hoover (4-6, 1-6 for seventh place) at Moyse Field on Sept. 29, travel to Arcadia (9-3, 5-2 for third place) for an Oct. 6 contest and host Pasadena (2-8, 2-5 for sixth place) on Oct. 12 at Memorial Field.
The lone league team Burbank lost to in 2016 (35-21) was Crescenta Valley. The Bulldogs play the Falcons (9-2, 7-0) on Oct. 20 at Moyse Field. After playing Muir (6-5, 4-3 for fourth place) Oct. 27 at Memorial Field, Burbank will conclude league play Nov. 3 with its annual cross-town rivalry contest against Burroughs (4-6, 3-4 for fifth place) at Memorial Field.
“Anyone would be foolish not to pick Crescenta Valley as the favorite, coming off a league championship,” Colman said. “They have a returning all-league quarterback who’s looked sharp this summer. You know they are going to be well-coached and you know they are going to have their stuff together.
“But I think over the last 10 years four teams have won a title in our league, so you never know. I expect Burroughs to bounce back, I think Muir will be on its way up from last year and Arcadia should be better as well.”