PASADENA — If ever the Burbank High football team needed a bounce-back game, it was Friday.
The Bulldogs were knocked from the ranks of the Pacific League’s unbeaten — and knocked around on the field — last week against Arcadia, as the locals suffered a 28-point loss at home.
Burbank was hoping to get back on track, and looking to stay in the race for a league championship, with a game at host Pasadena.
The Bulldogs did just that.
Behind an offensive push in the second half and a defense that came up with some big stops, Burbank got back to winning with a 45-26 triumph.
“With what happened last week, it was crucial for us to come back and have a big game tonight,” said Burbank Coach Hector Valencia, whose team shared the league title last season. “Our offense played very well and our defense was able to step up.”
Burbank (6-2, 4-1 in league) held just a 24-20 lead at the half, thanks largely to the efforts of running back Ulisies Ochoa. The senior had 154 yards in the first half and ended the game with 211 yards in 27 carries for two touchdowns.
Also stepping up on offense was senior quarterback Adam Colman, who threw for 213 yards and four touchdowns. Three of those scoring passes were caught by senior Jose Rodriguez. The other was hauled in by Teddy Arlington.
“I thought we really cut down on our mistakes in this game, compared to last week,” Valencia said. “We got back to playing our kind of game.”
The turning point of the game came with 5:57 remaining in the third quarter. Pasadena (3-5, 2-3) had fourth and goal from the Burbank 1-yard line. On the play, Pasadena’s Andreece Brown got the handoff, but before he could make a move, Burbank senior linebacker Ryan Seidler shot through a gap on the line and dropped the ball carrier for a one-yard loss.
Burbank took possession of the ball and proceeded to march 98 yards on 11 plays. The drive ended with Colman hooking up with Arlington on a five-yard pass play.
“That was a very big play,” Valencia said. “Our defense came to play and they were all over the field.”
Burbank had some trouble with Pasadena sophomore quarterback Brandon Cox. Cox paced his squad on the ground as well as the air, as he ended the night passing for 225 yards and three touchdowns.
Burbank jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first half on a 28-yard field goal by Varaga Zeinali.
But Pasadena responded by coming back and scoring to take a 7-3 advantage.
The teams took turns holding the lead in the second quarter, with Burbank scoring with 31.9 seconds left in the half to take a 24-20 lead into the locker room.
Burbank had 11 first downs in the first half and didn’t punt all game.