TORRANCE — It appeared the Burbank High football team had a tough struggle awaiting it Friday evening in a nonleague game at host South Torrance.
The Spartans not only came into the contest ranked No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Northwest Division, but the program is coming off a 2010 season in which it advanced to the division championship game.
The Bulldogs braced for a challenging fight in their final nonleague game of the season and were up for the task, keeping step with South Torrance and even holding a lead late in the fourth quarter.
But the Spartans mounted a late 99-yard scoring drive and tacked on an additional touchdown in the waning moments to turn back the Burbank threat, 32-21.
"They are very well-coached team and they have talent," Burbank Coach Hector Valencia said of the Spartans. "But we were able to stay right up with them, and if we don't make dumb mistakes late in that fourth quarter we could have won the game."
Burbank (1-2) looked to have grabbed control of the game in the second half, as quarterback Austin Mowatt plunged into the end zone on a two-yard keeper with 6:57 remaining in the third quarter to give the Bulldogs a 21-18 advantage.
With 10 minutes left in the game, Burbank got the ball back after a fumble recovery by Mitch Camacho. The takeaway was one of four by the Bulldogs on the night. With the gift, Mowatt orchestrated a drive that got the Bulldogs a first down at the Spartans' seven. However, on second down Mowatt threw a ball that was intercepted and downed at the one-yard line.
"Austin had a good game overall," Valencia said. "But he made that throw that maybe he shouldn't have and that gave them the ball back."
Mowatt finished the night 11 of 19 for 170 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
South Torrance (1-1) made the most its opportunity, mounting a back-breaking 18-play, 99-yard drive that culminated with Colton Glandoff scoring from three yards out with 2:23 remaining.
On the drive, Burbank was flagged on two pass interference falls.
"Those are the kind of mistakes that really hurt us," Valencia said. "We just can't give them that many opportunities over and over."
With a 25-21 lead, the Spartans scored the final touchdown with 1:13 remaining.
South Torrance received a solid game from running back Brandon Loera, who rushed 16 times for 150 yards and two touchdowns. He also found paydirt on an 88-yard kickoff return.
Mowatt threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Francis Nicks and scored on a one-yard keeper to give Burbank a 14-7 lead in the first quarter.
Burbank will have some time off to rest, getting a bye next week. The Bulldogs will return to action Sept. 29 for their Pacific League opener against host Glendale.