PASADENA — When the Burbank High football team played against Muir last season, the teams took part in a thriller that the Bulldogs were finally able to win in two overtimes.
That win helped pave the way for the Bulldogs to share the league championship in 2009.
When the Pacific League foes met Friday in the Pacific League opener for both teams, the Bulldogs were bracing for another dog fight.
And that’s just what they got in a contest at Muir.
After the Mustangs took the lead late in the third quarter, the Bulldogs embarked on a drive with the game on the line. Luckily for the locals, the drive culminated with quarterback Adam Colman stretching across the goal line with 11.8 seconds left to lift Burbank to a 22-19 victory.
“We knew what we were in for in this game,” Burbank Coach Hector Valencia said. “We knew they were going to be out to get us, and especially with what happened last season, they wanted to beat us this time. It’s always tough when you play against Muir; they have some very talented players.”
The game was a battle of ranked teams in the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division, as the Bulldogs (3-1) are No. 2 and Muir (1-3) is No. 7.
The contest was played at a hectic pace, as both squads had their hurry-up, no-huddle offenses clicking.
The Bulldogs received a fine effort from senior running back Ulisies Ochoa, who carried the ball 28 times for 173 yards and a touchdown.
Burbank had trouble containing Muir senior quarterback Jeffrey Davis. Davis passed for 239 yards and two touchdowns.
It was Davis who put the Mustangs ahead, 19-16, on a five-yard keeper as time ran out in the third quarter to give his team the lead.
After two possessions that yielded no points in the fourth quarter — which included a fumble at the Muir 10-yard line — Burbank got the ball back at its own 42 with 3:14 left. Colman orchestrated the drive with a mix of runs and passes, which got the Bulldogs to inside a yard of the goal.
On a third-and-goal play, the Burbank line surged forward, opening a seam for Colman. The 6-foot-4 signal-caller followed his blockers into the endzone, holding the ball out to show he made it in.
“I have to give all the credit to the guys on the line,” Colman said. “They are the reason why we won this game. They were undersized but they never backed down. The guys just played their butts off.”
Colman said his team had confidence going into the final drive.
“When the game is on the line these guts step up,” he said. “We knew that if we could move the ball, we would be able to score. We have a lot of belief in one another.”
The Bulldogs got out to a good start when they drove 80 yards on their opening drive of the game. The drive ended with Ochoa finding paydirt on a two-yard run with 7:57 left in the opening quarter.
Muir trailed, 7-6, after coming right back and scoring with 5:17 remaining in the quarter.
Burbank made it, 13-6, on a 39-yard pass from Colman to Quortney Blazier less than three minutes later.
After a 25-yard Burbank field goal by Varaga Zeinali, Muir cut the lead to 16-13 just before half on a touchdown pass.
Valencia, whose squad defeated the Mustangs, 29-28, in last year’s contest, said a win against a quality program like Muir should give his team a boost in its quest for a second consecutive league championship.
“This is something that is really going to help us,” Valencia said. “When you can start out league with a win like this, it’s something that can really motivate you. We are looking for another championship, and that’s what we’ve got to be focused on.”