Three individuals were instrumental in helping the Burbank High football team set records and enjoy success last season.
On offense, quarterback Adam Colman ran the show, giving the Bulldogs a high-octane attack. Also on offense, running back Ulises Ochoa racked up the yardage to help the team thrive.
On defense, Ryan Seidler was a tackling machine at linebacker, as he kept opposing teams in check.
Those three helped the Bulldogs gain a share of the Pacific League championship, the program’s first title in 37 years. The team also went 9-2 and advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs for the second straight year.
Luckily for Burbank, all three return for their senior seasons. However, the Bulldogs have some spots to fill and are already dealing with injuries.
“We lost a few key guys [to graduation],” Burbank Coach Hector Valencia said. “We have some positions to fill, especially on our offensive line. We have also had some guys go down with different ailments.
“But overall we have a good group and we’re looking forward to the season.”
Burbank opens the season at 7 p.m. Friday with a nonleague Zero Week game at Warren in Downey.
Ochoa (5-feet-10, 185 pounds) was an offensive force for Burbank in 2009, earning All-CIF and All-Area accolades. He set the school record for rushing yardage in a season with 1,504, breaking Marcus Hoods’ 2006 mark of 1,268. Along with 179 carries and an 8.4-yards-per-carry average, he also scored 15 touchdowns.
“Chuy has been working very hard and we’re going to rely on him more this season,” Valencia said of the running back. “We want to give him the ball more, and hopefully he’ll be able to get at least 20 carries a game.”
Also seeing time at running back will be junior transfer Quortney Brazier (5-9, 170) and sophomore transfer Teddy Arlington (5-8, 170).
Colman (6-4, 205) also put up big numbers a year ago, completing 110 of 198 passes for 1,796 yards, 24 touchdowns and five interceptions. His passing total put him at the No. 3 spot on the all-time single-season list.
“Adam just understands the offense so well,” Valencia said. “He has been through it with us and he knows what’s expected of him.”
Colman was proven to be a fine all-around athlete at Burbank. Last fall, he was a starter on the Bulldogs’ boys’ basketball team that advanced to the CIF semifinals and the state playoffs.
Providing targets for Colman will be receivers Ryan Thanaratham (6-1, 190), a senior, and fellow seniors Jose Rodriguez (5-10, 170) and Brian Savino (5-9, 175).
Zack Tomlinson, a promising sophomore wide receiver, dislocated his ankle and Valencia said he will be lost for the season.
Anchoring the offensive line will be senior returning All-Area and all-league center Spencer Lee (6-0, 260). He will be joined by senior Elias Salgado (5-10, 265), senior Kyle Bradford (6-1, 270) and senior Christian Jayasinghe (6-3, 247).
“There is competition for the left guard spot on the line,” Valencia said. “Also, we have a huge competition for spots on our defensive line as well. We are trying to see who will earn spots.”
The defensive end will be Thanaratham and senior Steven Rivera (5-9, 198) will be one of the tackles.
Seidler (6-0, 205) earned All-CIF and All-Area honors after a fine 2009 season. He led the Southeast Division with 159 tackles.
Valencia said Seidler’s abilities on the field, as well as his leadership, will be needed this season.
“He is going to have to be one of our leaders, especially on defense,” he said. “He has a lot of athletic ability and he should be even better than last season.”
The linebackers will also include senior Brian Carrillo (5-10, 220) and senior David Smith (6-3, 205).
Along with his running back duties, Ochoa will also see time at defensive back. He will be joined by junior Herman Castro (5-11, 165), Brazier and Rodriguez.
Rodriguez will also handle the kicking duties.
In their attempt to win their second straight league crown, Valencia fears his Bulldogs will go up against some stiff competition.
“Obviously, Muir is always going to be there,” he said. “They are going to have a lot of talent. But also Arcadia has a lot of their players back, and they should be good. With Burroughs, they have [senior quarterback Lucas] Yanez and they have a lot of size.
“Our goal every year is to try and win a league championship. And that will again be our goal this season.”