BURBANK — There are memorable efforts and then there’s what the Burbank High defense accomplished versus Pacific League rival Crescenta Valley on Friday evening at Memorial Field.
The defending league champion Bulldogs conducted a turnovers clinic led by senior safety Vincent Vang, who intercepted three passes, returned two for touchdowns, and finished with four of his team’s overall six takeaways in Burbank’s 45-23 victory over the Falcons.
With the win, Burbank improved to 4-3 and 3-1 in league in knocking off CIF Southern Section Division VII No. 2-ranked Crescenta Valley, which dropped to 6-1 and 3-1.
Both squads are tied with Muir (6-1, 3-1) for second place in league behind Division VIII No. 7-ranked Arcadia (5-2, 4-0).
“This team has a lot of heart and we’re a family,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said. “We’ve played some really good teams and we were in those games...our whole thing is we have to finish, we have to finish games.”
Burbank’s six takeaways helped the Bulldogs overcome a terrible effort in penalties as the squad was flagged 21 times for 196 yards with nine personal fouls.
While Burbank never trailed, the Bulldogs also never held a comfortable lead until late.
Crescenta Valley quarterback Cole Doyle struggled in finishing with five giveaways, while completing 11 of 22 passes for 120 yards, four interceptions and one touchdown. He also rushed 23 times for 183 yards and two touchdowns with one fumble.
Doyle’s one touchdown toss came on a seven-yard connection with Sebastian Deleon with 5:30 left that brought the Falcons within 31-23.
The Falcons then attempted an onside kick recovered by the Bulldogs at midfield.
Burbank turned the short field into points when Chadz Vang, brother of Vincent Vang, punched in a six-yard score to give the Bulldogs an insurmountable 38-23 lead with 1:55 left.
Crescenta Valley saw its last rally attempt fizzle when Doyle was intercepted by Vincent Vang, who returned the ball 23 yards for a touchdown to seal the game, 45-23.
“It was a great game and we play as a family and I love it,” Vincent Vang said. “I wanted to do this for my brothers.”
Vang was part of Burbank’s fast start as his 70-yard interception return for a touchdown came after a five-yard score from Bulldogs quarterback Matthew Porras as Burbank raced to a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
Porras played well too, completing 10 of 20 passes for 216 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His fleet feet translated into 16 carries for 71 yards and one score.
Crescenta Valley got on the board with 2:56 in the first quarter on a 13-yard rushing touchdown by Doyle, while the only score of the second quarter was a 23-yard field goal from Andy Cardenas as Burbank led, 17-7, at the half.
Vincent Vang helped keep Crescenta Valley’s offense in neutral with a fumble recovery and an second interception in the second quarter.
Burbank added a three-yard touchdown run from running back Isaac Glover, who finished with 19 carries for 100 yards and one score, and a four-yard touchdown pass from Porras to Max Mendieta to account for its scoring.
Crescenta Valley added a safety and a 44-yard touchdown run from Doyle to cap its scoring.
Crescenta Valley also had an interception from PJ Weinmann, while Burbank’s Erik Harutyunyan also added a pick.
“It’s hard to win a football game when you commit six turnovers,” Crescenta Valley coach Paul Schilling said. “Burbank brought a physicality that we didn’t play well against.”