BURBANK — One needed to look no further than the first series from scrimmage for the Burbank High and Glendale football teams to predict how Thursday’s Pacific League game was going to go.
On the Nitros’ first set of downs, they were forced to punt and their offense netted minus three yards.
In contrast, the Bulldogs scored on the first play from scrimmage when quarterback Ryan Meredith completed a shovel pass to James Williams that went for a 50-yard touchdown.
The quick strike by Burbank was only a foreshadowing of what was to come, as it piled up 49 points in the first half and cruised to a 56-14 victory at Memorial Field.
After consecutive losses to Crescenta Valley and defending league champion Muir and their chances at a league championship all but evaporated, the Bulldogs (6-2, 3-2 in league) were in attack mode against Glendale (2-6, 0-5).
“We didn’t want to look past anybody,” Burbank Coach Hector Valencia said. “We know that if we lose any of our final three games that we are out of the playoffs. There is just no ifs, ands or buts about that. If we lose there is no coin flip that is going to save us.
“That’s why we wanted to come out motivated against Glendale because we didn’t want to leave anything to chance.”
While the Bulldogs are still in the hunt for a postseason spot, Glendale has seen its playoff homes already dashed. With two games remaining, the Nitros are just trying to salvage what they can of their season.
“We just have to learn from this game and move on to the next one,” Glendale Coach John Tuttle said. “That’s about all that you can do. The kids were out there trying their best and that’s all we can ask of them.”
It was quick, persistent offensive attack early on by Burbank, coupled with early Nitros errors which set the tone for the game. The Bulldogs made the most of their opportunities in the first half to put Glendale in catch-up mode.
With Meredith working the Bulldogs’ passing game to perfection and Williams shedding his share of Nitros defenders, Burbank jumped out to an early advantage. In fact, Burbank scored five touchdowns in just nine plays from scrimmage to start the game.
Burbank was helped by three early Glendale turnovers (two fumbles and an interception).
“It’s really hard for a team to come back when they’re down by that much that early,” said Meredith, who completed eight of nine passes for 196 yards, four touchdowns (50, 35, 18 and 20 yards) and no interceptions. “But we wanted to come out with a good start and we were able to do that.”
The Nitros finally got on the board with 2:52 remaining in the first half when quarterback Kevin Felix connected with Martin Marin on a 24-yard touchdown. That made the score, 43-7.
In the first half, the Bulldogs tallied seven touchdowns in 19 plays and went into the break with a commanding 49-7 lead. In the first two quarters, the Bulldogs tallied 359 offensive yards, averaging 18.9 yards a play and 28 yards on scoring plays.
Used sparingly in a second half that saw a running clock in the fourth quarter, Williams had nine carries for 124 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 80 yards and one touchdown.
“We just didn’t do a good job at tackling Williams,” Tuttle said.
Joseph Pendleton had seven carries for 69 yards and one touchdown for Burbank. Wide receiver Sabastian Santoro had two receptions for 55 yards and two touchdowns (35 and 20 yards) and Oharjee Brown had an 18-yard scoring reception.
Burbank shut out Glendale in the third quarter and took a 56-7 lead into the final stanza.
The Nitros received a solid effort in the second half from running back Leonardo Flores, who had seven carries for 66 yards and one touchdown. That was all in the second half, as Flores didn’t carry the ball at all in the first half.
“That was a coach’s decision,” Tuttle said.
Flores scored the final touchdown when he found the end zone on a 23-yard run with 23.5 seconds remaining.
“It was a good effort for us and I was happy with the way that we played,” Valencia said. “Now we just have to play hard against Hoover next week and then Burroughs and see if we can get a spot in the playoffs.”