WHITTIER — The Burbank High football team had its share of opportunities in its opening CIF Southern Section playoff game Friday.
Playing against a tough Santa Fe squad, the Bulldogs fell behind early. However, the locals played themselves back into the game in the second half, and were driving to cut a disadvantage that had been 21 points to just a touchdown.
But Burbank was unable to score on the drive late in the fourth quarter, and the Chiefs held on for a 28-14 Southeast Division first-round win at Pioneer High.
“It’s disappointing, because we definitely had our share of opportunities,” said Burbank Coach Hector Valencia, whose team ends the season 7-4. “Our kids battled and they never game up. We just didn’t execute like we were supposed to, and that hurt us.”
Burbank, the No. 3 team from the Pacific League, had its hands full against Santa Fe (7-4), which placed second in the Del Rio League. Bulldogs’ senior quarterback Adam Colman had to operate under constant pressure, and the Chiefs stuffed the box repeatedly, naturalizing the Burbank running game.
“My hat’s off to Santa Fe,” Valencia said. “They are a good team and they were just flying to the ball.”
Despite the pressure, Colman had a fine game. He completed 16 of 28 passes for 282 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Colman got Burbank on the board first when he connected with Ryan Thanaratnam on a four-yard pass with 5:36 left in the first quarter.
However, the Chiefs came right back, scoring 21 unanswered points to take a 21-7 advantage into the half.
Santa Fe increased the lead to 28-7 with a touchdown with 10:09 left in the third quarter.
Undaunted, Burbank’s Quortney Brazier found the end zone on a four-yard run to cut the lead to 14.
With five minutes left in the game, the Bulldogs drove the ball to the Santa Fe 6-yard line. But a dropped pass in the end zone helped the Chiefs take over on downs.
“That play was big,” Valencia said. “If we score there, we are right back in it, and we give ourselves a chance.”
The Burbank offense had a problem stopping the Santa Fe passing attack. Junior receiver Steven Hernandez made the most of his catches, as his six receptions went for 151 yards and a touchdown.
“I feel bad for our seniors,” Valencia said. “They are probably the winningest group ever at Burbank.”