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Burbank football dominates in CIF quarterfinal win

Burbank football dominates in CIF quarterfinal win
(Mike Mullen)

DOWNEY — It took all of one half of action for the Burbank High football team to achieve what was once considered unattainable.

For a second straight week, the Bulldogs were flat out dominant in the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs.

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Yet, this time that excellence advanced Burbank to the school's first-ever semifinal appearance in the modern era after the Bulldogs dispatched of divisional darling Santa Fe, 42-0, in the quarterfinals at Allan Layne Stadium at Downey High on Friday evening.

With the victory, Pacific League runner-up Burbank (10-2) will face third-seeded Del Rio League champion La Serna (10-2) on the road.

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The Lancers punched their ticket to the final four with a 51-7 win over Diamond Bar.

"We spent a lot of time dissecting film this week to see what Santa Fe would and could do," Burbank Coach Hector Valencia said. "We had a three-hour practice yesterday, which is unheard of. Everything this week was to get to the semifinals for the first time ever and we did it."

Burbank owned both sides of the line of scrimmage and, subsequently, was in control on offense and defense.

The Bulldogs won the first down battle, 30-9, with Santa Fe's last four first downs coming on a meaningless last-minute drive in the fourth quarter. Also, outside of 62 yards on the last drive for the Del Rio League third-place Chiefs (7-5), the home team was held to 51 yards of total offense.

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Burbank nearly could do no wrong in a first half in which the visitors lead, 28-0.

The Bulldogs racked up 21 first downs versus four for the Chiefs and scored on their first three possessions.

Burbank's opening score, a three-yard scamper from senior running back Joseph Pendleton, wouldn't have happened without a clutch fourth-and-11 pass from quarterback Ryan Meredith (15 for 18 for 187 yards and one touchdown) to wide receiver Oharjee Brown (seven catches for 63 yards and one touchdown) good for 13 yards, which moved the ball the Chiefs' 18.

The touchdown was the first of two for Pendleton, who also punched in a four-yard score with 10:30 remaining in the second quarter that put Burbank up, 21-0.

"We came out thinking we were the underdogs today and that we had something to prove and we proved it," said Pendleton, who rushed 19 times for 101 yards. "We watched film on Saturday, after homework, basically all week and the coaches had us ready."

Burbank's remaining two scores of the first half also came on the ground, the first a one-yard plunge from Meredith with 4:06 remaining in the first quarter and the last another one-yard score on a carry from Tony Toledo (10 carries for 51 yards and two touchdowns and seven catches for 92 yards) with 1:40 left in the second quarter, which gave Burbank a 28-0 advantage.

Not lost in Burbank's offensive prowess was an equally impressive effort for the defense, which included a fumble recovery from Andy Park off a bad exchange from Chiefs quarterback Christian Lara (seven for 16 for 58 yards and one interception) to running back Andrew Doria at the 6:43 mark in the first.

"We were motivated because people all year have been saying this defense is going to let up and that the offense had to carry us," Park said. "We wanted to show what we could do. We had a good week of practice and that showed."

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Burbank defensive back Sabastian Santorro also broke up an intended pass from Lara to receiver Daniel Alvarado on a fourth and four with 52 seconds left on the Santa Fe 43.

Last, but equally important, was an interception by Aki Arlington on a wayward pass from Lara with 2:07 left in the first half.

Immediately after the interception, Burbank hammered a staggering Santa Fe when Meredith connected on a 41-yard pass to Dorian Householder that put the Bulldogs on the Chiefs' 2.

Both turnovers and the turnover on downs resulted in 21 of Burbank's 28 points.

Burbank also added two scores in the second half, first on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Mederith to Brown with 7:23 remaining in the third.

The last touchdown came via an eight-yard score from Toledo with 3:34 remaining in the third as neither team scored in the fourth quarter.

One of the more impressive aspects of Friday's win was Valencia's ability to rest star running back James Williams.

The senior rushed eight times for 35 yards by halftime and sat out the second half with a sore ankle.

"He'll be ready to go by next week. James was a little banged up after the Mayfair game and it was good we were able to give him some rest," said Valencia in reference to Burbank's 49-14 first-round victory last weekend. "This was the sort of game we needed. We can't wait for next week."

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