MEMORIAL FIELD — The Burbank High and Crescenta Valley football teams expected nothing less that a tough, physical battle Friday.
With the Falcons clinging to hopes of making the postseason and the Bulldogs trying to stay in the hunt for a Pacific League championship, both teams had a great deal to battle for.
In a game in which two Crescenta Valley running backs were knocked out of the game and one of Burbank's top players was also sidelined, the Bulldogs made a second-quarter push that allowed them to come away with a 39-26 win at Burroughs' Memorial Field.
Falcons' Coach Paul Shilling said the loss dashes his squad's hopes of making the postseason.
"We know we're out of it now," he said. "We had to win tonight and win next week [against Arcadia] to hopefully get in. We knew this was going to be a physical game, and that's just what we got."
The Falcons (4-5, 2-4 in league) suffered through the loss of two offensive players. Sophomore Sean Johnson suffered a knee injury in the first half and had to be carried off the field. Schilling said the injury was severe and his player will likely be lost for next week.
Wes Berg also hobbled off the field in the second half.
That left the Falcons depleted, because running back Marro Lee was already injured and Mark Sereno, another ball-carrier, was too ill to play.
"We were just trying to shuffle some things around at running back," Schilling said.
The win was important for the Bulldogs (7-2, 5-1). The victory, coupled with Burroughs' loss to Muir and Arcadia's win against Glendale, puts Burbank, the Indians and Apaches all in a tie for first place in league with one loss.
Burbank received a solid game from senior running back/defensive back Ulisies Ochoa, who proved his worth on both sides of the ball. Along with gaining 105 yards in 11 carries with two touchdowns, he also had two interceptions.
"We expected this game to be physical," said Burbank Coach Hector Valencia, whose team shared the league title a year ago with Burroughs. "CV hit us hard, and they had bodies flying all over the place. I'm just glad were able to win it in the end."
Falcons' quarterback Paul Perugini passed for 142 yards and one touchdown — a 10-yard strike to Zac Wilkerson — and also ran for a 25-yard score.
Berg had 58 yards in nine carries before he was injured.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 27-6 lead in the first half, with the Falcons' lone points coming off two field goals by Pavle Atanackovic.