Bulldogs Fall to Simi Valley in Opener

The return of students to school for regular in-person learning also signified the return of high school football with a normal 10-game schedule. So the Friday night lights shined bright at Memorial Field in Burbank High School’s season opener on Aug. 20, but quickly dimmed as the home team was defeated by Simi Valley in a nonleague matchup, 63-19.
Burbank faced adversity before the new campaign even started. The team was supposed take on Newbury Park, but the Panthers had to cancel the game due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. BHS Athletic Director Patrick McMenamin announced the news on Twitter and later said that Newbury Park was replaced by Simi Valley, a much more formidable opponent.
The cancellation served as a reminder that the coronavirus pandemic is still very much present, and that the fluid situation that can affect practices and games in an instant.
“It’s being able to manage adversity. We learned all about that last year with the cancellations and delays,” said Adam Colman, Burbank’s head football coach. “We had a really good summer being able to get back and have daily practices and do team bonding stuff, which was really positive.”
The Bulldogs found plenty of challenges in Simi Valley, which took a 7-0 lead with 6:14 left in the first quarter and never looked back. The Pioneers added two more touchdowns to take a commanding 21-0 lead with 9:08 remaining in the second quarter.
A beautiful pass from Burbank quarterback Dylan Robinson to wide receiver Jagg Richer got the Bulldogs on the board and reenergized Burbank’s crowd. After a missed conversion, the score remained 21-6 with 7:24 to play in the second quarter.
Simi Valley’s lead continued to swell until halftime. Even as Burbank faced a 42-6 deficit against California’s No. 67-ranked team, the Bulldogs never quit.
With 7:46 remaining in the third quarter, Robinson connected with Jaggs for their second touchdown of the contest, with kicker Freddy Cardenas converting the PAT.
About five minutes later, Burbank went on another drive. Robinson threw a perfect 36-yard pass completion to wide receiver Jonathan Powell, which was immediately followed by a one-yard scoring run from Powell for Burbank’s third touchdown.
It was a challenging but instructive matchup for the Bulldogs. Still, after allowing nine touchdowns in three quarters, they can find positives in holding their opponent’s solid offense scoreless in the fourth quarter. Colman said missed tackles and early turnovers let the game get out of hand quickly, especially against a tough opponent like Simi Valley.
“We’ve got a lot to work on obviously, but that’s a great team, great program, there’s a lot to learn from, but that’s really high-level competition,” Colman said. “Last minute, we were just excited to play football, and there’s a lot we will take from this game and build on.”
Robinson completed seven of 15 passes for 199 passing yards with two interceptions and rushed for 78 yards. Richer led the receiving corps with four receptions for 154 yards. Powell added two catches for 36 yards, Gio Saenz finished with one catch for nine yards and Nick Franco caught a six-yard pass.
Burbank running back Jacob Mendieta rushed for 14 yards on five carries. Powell (three rushing yards) and Zakk Estrada (one rushing yard) had two carries each.
Franco led the defensive charge with eight tackles and Brekkan Spens contributed six solo tackles. Luke Santoro and Freddy Vicente each recorded four solo tackles.