BURBANK — Ryan Seidler and Ulisies Ochoa have been important players in helping the Burbank High football team enjoy success the past two years.
Seidler, a linebacker, and Ochoa, a running back, were rewarded for their fine efforts during their 2009 junior seasons by being named to the All-CIF Southern Section Southeast Division first team.
As seniors this past season, Seidler and Ochoa stepped up their games, putting up big numbers and breaking school records for the Bulldogs. And for the second year in a row, the two players were honored with All-CIF first-team accolades.
"I looked back and I didn't see anybody at Burbank making the All-CIF first team two years in a row," Burbank Coach Hector Valencia said. "I'm pretty sure this is the first time that two guys won All-CIF back to back."
The two Bulldogs weren't the only area players who were named All-CIF. Burroughs had two recipients in senior linebacker Casey Barbello and senior defensive lineman Nick Brown, who were honored on the Southeast Division first team, and Bellarmine-Jefferson senior Micah Shirley, who made the Northeast Division first team as a defensive back.
Ochoa ended his career at Burbank as the most prolific runner in school history. In his senior season, the first-team all-league and All-Area running back carried the ball 180 times for 1,255 (seven yards a carry) and had 18 touchdowns.
He ended his tenure as the career leader in yards (3,078), breaking Kenny Walker's previous record of 2,410, set in 1972-73. In addition, he has two of the top three marks in rushing yards in a season (1,504 in 2009 and 1,255 in 2010) and is No. 1 in career 100-yard games (15) — among other marks.
"He was pretty much a leader for us out there on the field," Valencia said of Ochoa. "If we needed some short yardage, he is the one we could always count on to get it for us. He is the kind of player who wanted the ball in tough situations like that. He could always get it done."
Seidler also put himself at the top of his share of statistical categories at Burbank. Last season, the Pacific League Defensive Player of the Year and All-Area first-teamer led the league with 151 tackles and averaged nearly 14 a game. In addition, he caused two fumbles and recovered two more.
He leaves the Bulldogs program as the record-holder in career tackles (449), career solo tackles (176) and career assisted tackles (271).
Valencia said Seidler was an invaluable presence in the Burbank defense.
"Ryan was a three-year starter and he just brought so much experience to our defense," Valencia said. "He is very smart about the game and he was willing to study the opponent's offense. He's just a real student of the game and he was more of a vocal leader for us."
Burbank (7-4) placed third in the Pacific League and lost in the first round of the Southeast Division playoffs to Santa Fe, 28-14.
Barbello and Brown were instrumental in helping Burroughs (7-4) to its second straight Pacific League championship in a row. The two also aided the Indians in winning their first CIF Southern Section playoff game in 23 years with a 41-21 first-round playoff??? victory against El??? Rancho.
Barbello, a first-team all-league and All-Area player, led the way on defense, collecting 144 tackles (12 a game) to go along with five sacks and two recovered fumbles.
"He was a natural talent and a guy who just came in and took over being our lead linebacker," said Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop, whose team advanced to the division quarterfinals. "He's just such a coachable kid, he's smart, he's a 4.0 student and he may not look like a big [Division I] kind of guy, but he sure plays like one."
Brown, who also earned all-league and All-Area accolades, had 60 tackles and seven sacks.
"Nick ended up being a really good duel-threat for us," said Knoop about Brown, who also had 17 receptions for 368 yards (21.6 yards a catch) and three touchdowns as a tight end. "As a defense player he was a force to be reckoned with. He just improved so much from the year before — it was amazing."
Shirley was a bright spot for the struggling Guards. Bell-Jeff (2-8) finished last in the five-team Santa Fe League.
"Micah led the league in rushing, in scoring and in tackles," said Bell-Jeff Coach Rolando Aguirre, who played the all-league and All-Area standout at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and defensive back. "Unfortunately, we just didn't have a quarterback that could get him the ball. That was really tough for him."