By Joe Torosian
(Covina)—The Burbank Bulldogs out-slugged the South Hills Huskies, 42-30, to advance to the semifinals of the CIF-SS Division 7 Playoffs on Friday night at Covina District Field. It is The Banks third final four appearance in the last five years.
After the Huskies jumped to a 17-10 advantage with eight minutes to play in the second quarter, the Bulldogs ran off the next 25 consecutive points to take a 35-17 lead they’d hold on to for the victory.
“I’m proudest of the kids, it’s always the kids,” said Burbank’s first-year HC, Adam Colman. “I love how the kids fought through adversity. They were behind, but they came right back. They never get frustrated or get down; they just keep fighting.”
And they did get it done.
Quarterback Matt Porras rushed for 66 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed 13 of 24 passes for 252 yards. Three of those passes went to Duncan Smith for 83 yards—including a 50-yard touchdown catch. The rest (10 of them) went to Drew Pendleton for 169 yards. Darnell Williams rushed for 135 yards on 21 carries.
Burbank’s Andrew Rovira gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead on a 41-yard field goal. Thirty-seven seconds later South Hills quarterback, RJ Sterns cut back on a keeper and sprinted 68-yards to paydirt for a 7-3 lead. Then towards the end of the first quarter Huskie kicker, Ramiro Hernandez booted a 38-yard field goal to give his team a 10-3 lead.
Burbank tied the game with 8:43 to play in the half when Kaydon Spens intercepted a Sterns pass and took it 25-yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 10-10.
Sophomore quarterback, Khalil Ali replaced Sterns for the Huskies and connected with Nicholas Lariviere for an 87-yard touchdown. The key to the play was Lariviere bouncing off Spens who moved in to make the hit but was shook off.
The rest of the half and most of the third quarter belonged to the team from “The Land of a Thousand Restaurants.”
First Porras tied the score with a 1-yard at the 6:27 mark. The with 4:44 to play South Hills punter, Zion Naulls was tackled in the end zone following a poor snap. Following the free-kick, Porras connected with Duncan Smith down the center seam of the field, and it was 26-17.
The next three Burbank drives ended with Rovira field goals of 43, 31 and 25-yards.
Ryan Torres interrupted the run with a 40-yard sprint for six, but Porras again answered for the Bulldogs with an 11-yard run.
Justin Armendariz caught a 32-yard bomb from Ali for the game’s final score, but it wasn’t enough.
The win pushed Burbank’s record to 10-2 and set up a date with Don Lugo, also 10-2, for the day after Thanksgiving.
Burbank Offensive Line:
LT: Anthony Lira, LG: Armando De La Cruz, C: Kristopher Cody Azizkhani, RG: Esper Elsayegh, RT: Karo Koshkaryan
South Hills Offensive Line
LT: Bruce Loyola, LG: Jesus Baylon, C: Jorge Salina, RG: Tony Galinda, RT: Ruben Mendez
***Burbank recorded five sacks on defense.
***38 flags were thrown, and 34 penalties were accepted.
***Pendleton’s ten catches all came while in single coverage against South Hills cornerback, Alex Rodriguez. Pendleton 5-11, 195-pounds…Rodriguez 5-6, 140-pounds.
***South Hills had been the number one ranked team in Division 7.