MEMORIAL FIELD — Most of the seniors on this season’s Burbank High football team had never beaten cross-town rival Burroughs in the annual Big Game.
That same group also missed competing in the playoffs last year as juniors, as the Bulldogs failed to qualify for the postseason.
After Friday’s effort against the Indians at Memorial Field, that senior contingent will be able to enjoy both accomplishments this season.
Paced by a defense that kept Burroughs scoreless for more than three quarters, Burbank jumped out to an early lead and attacked the Indians will a solid running game. The end result was a 37-14 Pacific League victory by the Bulldogs in the 64th installment of the storied rivalry.
With the win, Burbank (7-3, 6-1 in league) finishes in second place in league behind champion Muir (7-3, 7-0). The Bulldogs will begin the playoffs with a CIF Southern Section Southeast Division first-round game next week.
For Burroughs (4-6, 4-3), it misses automatically qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2005, when it finished fifth in the Foothill League. Although Arcadia (4-6, 4-3) — which lost to Crescenta Valley Friday, 23-7 — finished tied for third with the Indians, the Apaches were awarded the third and final automatic postseason spot via an 18-8 win against the Indians.
“It’s a good thing for our seniors to be able to be going to the playoffs after missing out last season,” Burbank Coach Hector Valencia said. “They’ve worked hard and they deserve to be going.”
The win for the Bulldogs is the first over their rival since 2009, when they notched a 28-21 victory.
The Indians had a chance to make the postseason with a win Friday night. However, it was apparent early on that the Bulldogs were in control of the game, as they took advantage of Burroughs miscues to jump out to a 37-0 advantage.
“Burbank has been where we’re at now their share of times in the past,” Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop said. “We told our guys how good they were and if you gave them any opportunity they were going to punch you in the mouth. They are physical, they are aggressive and they came to play.”
While its defensive was shutting down the Indians, Burbank’s running game rolled along. The ground attack was led by sophomore running back James Williams, who had 14 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown, which came on a splendid 89-yard run. Teammate Teddy Arlington had 11 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown and Joseph Pendleton carried the ball 13 times for 42 yards and a touchdown
The Bulldogs scoring began modestly when they had to settle for a field goal on their first possession of the game. Senior Yervand Umrikyan made good on a 33-yard attempt with 6:48 remaining in the first.
When Burroughs’ first possession stalled on its own 39, it was forced to punt. However, the punter shanked the effort, which ended up going just three yards.
The Bulldogs took over and drove the ball down the field, as the march ended with Pendleton punching it in for a one-yard touchdown.
With a 10-0 lead after one quarter, the Bulldogs mounted a scoring drive in the second quarter following an interception by Joshua Nersissian. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Meredith took the ball on a keeper from three yards out with 3:48 remaining before the half.
The Bulldogs were able to pad their lead just 24 seconds later on another Burroughs miscue. After an intentional grounding call backed the Indians up to their four-yard line, the Burroughs quarterback bobbled the snap in the end zone and the ball was recovered by defensive end Kyle Hunter for a touchdown.
Burbank went into halftime with a 24-0 lead.
“Our guys know what was at stake in this game, and they wanted to play well and get ready for the playoffs,” Valencia said. “The way they came out just demonstrated how tough they can play. We have come out flat in some games this year, but that didn’t happen tonight.”
The Bulldogs defense limited the Burroughs offense to just 50 total yards in the first half.
In the third quarter, Williams showed why he has gained more than 1,400 yards this season when he broke loose on an 89-yard touchdown scamper with 8:56 left in the third quarter. It was Williams’ 17th rushing touchdown this season.
Burbank made it 37-0 with 10:38 left on a one-yard scoring run by Arlington.
With a running clock in the fourth quarter, Burroughs — which ran the Wildcat on several occasions — finally had success moving the ball on offense. The Indians were able to end the shutout with 8:12 remaining in the contest. Senior Josh Storer found pay dirt on a 17-yard run up the middle to finally give the Burroughs fans something to cheer about.
“We were really banged up at a few positions,” Knoop said. “But late in the game the guys were fired up to score. I put my three best running backs in to see what they could do.”
Storer had 13 carries for 52 yards.
The Indians made it 37-14 with 42.4 seconds remaining when junior quarterback Andrew Williams found Storer on a 16-yard scoring pass. The touchdown was set up by an interception by Garrett Manoukian.