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Bulldogs football prepares for Pacific League foes

Bulldogs football prepares for Pacific League foes
(Libby Cline)

One nonleague opponent will resemble possibly its fastest foe in the Pacific League.

Another nonleague team will feature athletes who will remind it of another league rival.

And a third team will have been playing with shoulder pads and helmets long before Burbank suits up for the first time at practice.

The Burbank High football team has loaded its nonleague schedule with tough teams that feature resemblances to league tests.

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“Some [nonleague] teams are fast, some teams are big. It will definitely get us ready for league,” said Burbank Coach Hector Valencia, whose team missed out on the playoffs after finishing 4-6, 3-4 in league last year.

Burbank will open its season with a zero week game against Chatsworth on Aug. 23 at Burroughs’ new Memorial Field. The game will be the first football game on the renovated field.

“It’s tough playing a zero game, but it’s exciting,” Valencia said. “It’s a new stadium. We’re excited to be there. If Burroughs was the first one there, it wouldn’t matter. We love the place. The grass is good quality turf.

“It’s good for the kids to try out the new place. It’s special because it’s a new stadium, but it’s still just a football game.”

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Chatsworth, a City Section football team, has already started practicing, Valencia said.

“They have a three-week advantage on us,” said Valencia, whose team will begin practicing on Aug. 6.

Burbank will remain home for its next nonleague contest when it plays a physical West Ranch team, similar to league opponent Crescenta Valley, at Memorial Field on Aug. 30. West Ranch defeated Burbank, 41-7, in 2011.

Burbank will enjoy a bye week after West Ranch before ending its nonleague schedule with a road game against Inglewood on Sept. 14.

“Inglewood has a fast team, similar to Muir in league,” Valencia said. “It will get us ready for league. They are definitely a well-coached team. We have a tough preseason with West Ranch, Inglewood and Chatsworth.”

Burbank will begin league play with a home contest against Hoover at Memorial Field. Burbank upended Hoover, 48-0, in 2011.

The Bulldogs’ following four contests – against Arcadia, Pasadena, Crescenta Valley, and Muir – will be “no joke,” according to Valencia.

“That will decide the character of the team,” Valencia said.

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The four games will also likely decide whether Burbank returns to the postseason. Burbank lost to three of those teams — it defeated Muir — a year ago.

“That can be stressful,” Valencia said. “There is no way you can back down. That’s why we schedule a tough preseason schedule. That’s why you play the game. If everything looks easy, everyone will be doing it. We need to get ready.

“There is no mystery. We know what to expect. We know how fast Muir is. We know how big CV is. We know Arcadia is a quality team and we know that Pasadena has a great quarterback.”

Valencia believes his team is good as any other in league.

“We’ve faced those teams in the past,” he said. “We’ve beat them and we’ve lost to them. Anything can happen. Nobody expected us to defeat Muir last year and we did. That’s the great thing about this league. Everyone knows what each team runs; it’s just a matter of executing what you’re doing.”

Burbank will play Glendale on Oct. 25 before ending its regular season with its top rival, Burroughs on Nov. 2.

Burroughs knocked Burbank out of the playoff chase with a 34-7 win in 2011. A year later, Burbank hopes to be in position not only for a playoff spot, but for a league championship.

Said Valencia: “We want to be in the position we were in before when we’re battling Burroughs for a league title.”

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