The Burbank High football team has had recent success playing against teams from the San Gabriel Valley in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
The past two seasons, the Bulldogs have notched impressive postseason wins against ranked teams from the region. That helped the squad advance to the CIF semifinals in 2017 and make it to a championship contest in 2016.
For this season’s playoffs, Burbank is back in the San Gabriel Valley, and will face off against another highly-ranked team. The Bulldogs will open the Division V tournament with a first-round game at 7 p.m. Friday against No. 4-seeded Glendora at Citrus College.
“We’re back out in the San Gabriel Valley, and we’re getting used to that trek,” said second-year Bulldogs coach Adam Colman, whose program has moved up in CIF divisions for three straight seasons. “We are used to being in that direction, so really, it’s nothing new to us.
“The mentally of having been successful the last two years is big. They haven’t just been there deep in the playoffs, but they’ve been there and they have succeeded, in tough games against tough opponents. They beat Northview, a No. 2 seed, a few years ago and they were loaded and South Hills, the No, 1 seed, last year and they were loaded. We have played well against good teams and we’ve been successful.”
In 2017, the Bulldogs advanced to the Division VII semifinals after making the Division VIII championship game in 2016.
Burbank (7-2, 6-1 in league) placed second in the Pacific League this season, with its only league setback coming against champion Arcadia.
Making the transition from league play to the playoffs is a jump Colman said his squad embraces.
“The playoffs are a different beast,” Colman said. “The culture that has developed here at Burbank, really over the last 10 years, is we win playoff games. Our goal is to make deep runs in the playoffs and to chase a ring.
“We go into our season already talking about the playoffs. We don’t talk about if we will make the playoffs, but what we have to do to be successful once we make the playoffs. That helps us a lot.”
The Bulldogs have excelled on both sides of the ball this season, and particularly in their last few league games. Burbank comes into the playoffs having won its last five games.
The offense had been spearheaded by senior quarterback Matthew Porras, who has set Burbank single game, single season and career records for passing. In his last game Friday against rival Burroughs, Porras threw seven touchdown passes.
On the season, Porras has thrown for nearly 2,300 yards with 33 touchdowns.
The Bulldogs have benefited from the efforts of two senior receivers, Erik Harutyunyan and Duncan Smith. Harutyunyan has 750 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns and Duncan has amassed nearly 800 yards and has 11 touchdowns.
Burbank will take on a Glendora (9-1, 5-0) team that captured the Palomares League championship and is on an eight-game winning streak. The league also includes Bonita, Colony, Ayala, Alta Loma and Claremont.
The only blemish on the Tartans’ record was a 48-21 nonleague lose to Eastvale Roosevelt on Aug. 24.
“It is a decent draw for us, but everyone in this division is pretty darn good,” Colman said. “We knew no matter who we drew it was going to be a good team.
“They are a solid team, a solid bunch, and historically it’s a great program. So we’re expecting a fun game.”
Glendora has a solid quarterback in junior Jacob Gonzalez, who has thrown for 1,520 yards and 20 touchdowns. The lion’s share of those throws have gone to junior Cade Marshman, who has 949 yards and nine touchdowns. Junior running back Xzavier Ford has rushed for 1,461 yards and has 17 of the team’s 19 touchdowns on the ground.
“We are on a nice little win streak now and since that loss to Arcadia we have seen a lot of improvement, especially from our younger guys,” Colman said. “We are playing with confidence now, and that’s the key … They are not thinking any more they are just playing and being the athletes and the football players we know they are.”