SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Although it only led by two points at halftime, the Burbank High football team felt it had found the right approach to beating host Crescenta Valley on Friday night at Moyse Field.
Burbank continued to pound the ball on the ground and tried to pressure the Falcons into turning the ball over. After 24 minutes, the Bulldogs weren’t the only believers.
Running downhill in the second half, the Bulldogs overwhelmed a Falcons team that simply melted down, claiming a 42-14 victory in the Pacific League opener for both teams.
“I think we played our football,” said first-year Burbank Coach Hector Valencia, whose team put up 26 unanswered points after halftime and forced four Falcons turnovers on the night. “We didn’t really make any adjustments at halftime. We believed in what we were doing and I don’t think [the Falcons] did anything to adjust or change our opinion at halftime, so we decided to keep doing what we’re about.”
Ulises Ochoa rushed for a game-high 128 yards and two touchdowns in 15 carries and Leo Rodas added 107 yards on the ground and two more touchdowns in 17 carries, as Burbank ran at will in the second half to the tune of 179 yards.
“They played a very good second half,” said Falcons Coach Tony Zarrillo, whose team is ranked fifth in the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division. “They outplayed us in almost every way you can.”
Burbank (3-1), ranked eighth in the Southeast Division, stopped Crescenta Valley’s opening drive of the second half, which lasted nearly seven minutes. It came to an end on a third-down sack of Crescenta Valley quarterback Kyle Cota (16 for 27 passing for 229 yards and one touchdown).
It then took the Bulldogs just 3:14 to drive 95 yards on nine plays, all but one on the ground, and take a 22-14 lead on a 12-yard run by quarterback Adam Colman.
Crescenta Valley (2-2) couldn’t reply on its next possession, punting from its own 26-yard line after three plays, and subsequently saw Burbank march another 52 yards downfield in six plays to go up, 28-14, on a four-yard sweep to the right by Ochoa at the 9:51 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Falcons came out firing on their next drive, picking up 40 yards on the opening play on a pass from Cota to Dai Dai McFadden (seven catches for 108 yards). Cota then hit Mike Bako (seven catches for 113 yards and a touchdown) for a 20-yard gain, but Bako fumbled and the ball was recovered by Burbank on its 14-yard line and returned to the 32 with 9:08 to play. Burbank took advantage, driving 68 yards for a 35-14 lead on a four-yard run by Rodas.
“We made as many critical mistakes as you could possibly make,” said Zarrillo, whose team had 50 yards in penalties in the second half. “When you turn the ball over and do other things wrong in addition to that, you’re not going to win.”