BURBANK — Burbank High's football team kicked off a 2013 season filled with great expectations on Friday night at Memorial Field.
If the performance against Bell Gardens is any indication, the Bulldogs' lofty goals this season are warranted.
Burbank dominated Bell Gardens, 33-14, moving the ball on the ground and through the air.
Bulldog quarterback Ryan Meredith was 10 for 13 for 163 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those strikes went to Burroughs transfer Oharjee Brown, who caught three passes for 34 yards and a pair of scores.
Meredith's third touchdown pass went to running back James Williams, who caught two balls for 61 yards. Williams also rushed 10 times for 90 yards and another score.
"We're very happy about that," said Burbank Coach Hector Valencia when asked about the playmakers on his team. "James had a good game. He did his part. We know we can run or pass the ball if we want to."
Burbank's first score came early in the first quarter after a blocked punt left the ball at its opponent's eight-yard line. Three plays later, Meredith hooked up with Brown from nine yards out.
Meredith was quick to credit his new favorite target.
"He makes everything a lot easier," Meredith, a junior, said. "He's open all the time."
Williams ran the ball in from four yards out midway through the second quarter for his team's second score and Brown caught his second touchdown pass late in the half after a Meredith lob bounced off two Bell Gardens defenders before landing in the senior's hands. The Bulldogs took a 19-0 advantage into the half.
Tony Toledo added a two-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter, and Meredith connected with Williams for an 18-yard score late in the game to seal the contest at 33-14.
Valencia noted Meredith's poise, adding that his playing experience last year prepared him for this season.
"I felt comfortable and confident," Meredith said. "It really helped last year."
Despite the win, penalty flags covered the playing field. Burbank was whistled 17 times for 175 yards. Bell Gardens was cited 13 times for 95 yards. The Lancers also turned the ball over twice.
"I was not expecting to get called for that many things throughout the game," Valencia said. "It killed our tempo. We were trying to go fast. Every time we got something rolling we'd get shut down. It dictated the game."
Bell Gardens quarterback Charles Ontiveros threw for 202 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score.