BURBANK — In Burbank, the “Big Game” are the only words required to describe what happens when Burbank and Burroughs highs collide in a matchup of cross-town football rivals.
And Friday’s rendition saw plenty of aerial fireworks.
In the 70th installment of the “Big Game,” Burbank senior quarterback Matthew Porras had a historic night through the air, leading to a 54-20 victory at Memorial Field in both teams’ regular and Pacific League season finales.
“Matthew Porras tonight set the single game, season and career records [for touchdown passes at Burbank],” Bulldog coach Adam Colman said. “In front of the whole city, that’s cool.”
Porras finished with seven touchdown pases, while going 21 of 31 for 323 yards and one interception.
“The O-line did amazing. I don’t think I was pressured once,” Porras said. “The receivers and slots did amazing as well catching the ball and getting away from defenders.”
The senior signal-caller played the whole game chasing the touchdown records. With 1:58 left, he threw his historic seventh touchdown with Ben Burnham making the 13-yard grab.
“That last one was for him,” Colman said. “He is such a warrior doing everything as a leader. To have his name in the record books at the top of everything, he deserves it.”
The Bulldogs’ leading receiver was Erik Harutyunyan, who caught eight passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Burnham had five catches for 76 yards and the two scores. Duncan Smith made five catches for 41 yards and two scores. Running back Isaac Glover had one catch going for 11 yards and a touchdown.
Glover also had a game-high 66 yards on the ground in 16 carries with one rushing touchdown.
The contest started with a bang as Indians Aiden Forrester received the opening kickoff and took it back 94 yards for the first points of the game 15 seconds in.
Burbank (7-3, 6-1 in league) fired right back on its first possession, going 69 yards in four plays. The score came on an 11-yard pass from Porras to Glover, who came out of the backfield to make the grab. The extra point kick was missed and the hosts kept the lead at 7-6.
Burbank would go on to score a touchdown each of the first four times it had the ball, with all the scores coming on passes from Porras.
Burbank took the lead for good with 3:25 left in the first quarter. Porras rolled to his right and threw a strike to Harutyunyan in the right near corner of the end zone from 19 yards out.
The Bulldogs scored one more touchdown in the first quarter. In the final minute, Burnham caught a pass from Porras just outside the end zone with one Indian to beat. He juked right, then left, blowing by the defender and eluding his grasp. The 16-yard scoring pass, plus the ensuing kick, made it 21-7 at the end of the first.
In the second quarter, Burroughs (2-8, 2-5) had its second shotgun snap of the evening sail over the quarterback’s head. This time, Vincent Vang covered the ball to set up the Bulldogs with a short field at the 27. Burbank soon cashed in on the Indians’ error when Porras threw his fourth touchdown pass of the first half, covering 10 yards to tight end Smith, who caught the ball sandwiched between two Indians.
Burroughs stopped the 27-point scoring streak with 3:22 left before halftime. Quarterback Nathan Piper threw a play-action pass to Nicholas Garcia for an eight-yard score before the half ended to make it 27-13.
The second half opened with Porras throwing an interception directly to Forrester, but the Indians promptly fumbled the ball back with Lucas Ojeil making the recovery. Soon after, Porras connected with a 25-yard scoring strike to Harutyunyan.
On the next possession, Burroughs made it a two-score game when Piper hit Nicholas Garcia from 31 yards out for a touchdown.
Piper finished 15 of 30 for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Garcia finished with five catches for 48 yards and two touchdowns.
However, on the ensuing drive, Porras struck for his sixth touchdown. Smith used all of his 6-foot-4 frame to reach up and snare the pass in the back of the zone for a 13-yard score.
Burbank tacked on two more touchdowns in the fourth, including Porras’ seventh touchdown.
Burbank finished second in league behind champion Arcadia. Burroughs took sixth and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive season.
“For this team, the growth they did over the year, they got better,” Burroughs first-year coach Rand Holden said. “That’s the goal of this, high school football, you try to improve as a team and these kids did that. They started believing at the end. If we started over with the way we feel now the record would have been very different.”