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Stadium still standing

Memorial Field project pushed back to winter, causing problems for area football teams.

June 02, 2010|By Jeff Tully

Believing that their field would be inoperative for the upcoming season, Burbank and Burroughs signed contracts with nonleague schools to play three games on the road.

The Indians will play games away against former Foothill League rivals Saugus, Canyon and Hart. Knoop said he tried to get the schools to switch and play at Memorial Field, but to no avail.

"You think that being old league teams they would do that for us," he said. "But they said they already signed contracts and they have things planned for those home games."

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If the construction does get underway later this year, that would force Burroughs and Burbank to be displaced for two seasons — at the least.

The Indians have the added headache of finding a place to practice during the construction.

But for many — like Valencia — who have been waiting for a new venue to finally be constructed, they are bracing for another delay. They aren't convinced in the least that work will be started in November or December.

"Who knows," Valencia said. "We just want it to get done and we're hoping that they are going to do a good job when they do finally build it."

The district estimates the construction to take 12-14 months to complete. The project consists of a new football field with artificial turf, rubberized track surface and new stadium seating. In addition, new lighting, landscaping, ticket booths, fencing, signage, restrooms and concession stands under the bleachers will also be a part of the project.

There will also be two new plaza entrances that will be built on both sides of the stadium.

The estimated cost of the project is more than $12 million, with the majority of funds coming from the city of Burbank.

Since the 1940s, Memorial Field has served as the home venue for the Indians, as well as Burbank High. In recent years, even Bellarmine-Jefferson has called its cozy confines home.

The field has been the home of the Big Game rivalry between Burroughs and Burbank for more than 60 years.

The rivalry began in 1949, when All-American Paul Cameron and Pere LiPera — who would later become the Burbank coach — led the Bulldogs to a 12-7 win against Burroughs, which had been converted from a junior high.

The Indians got revenge the next year, however, as Louis Elias waded through "Lake Memorial" on a 41-yard carry for the game's only score, as the Indians won, 6-0.

When the Bulldogs defeated the Indians, 28-21, last year, it was supposed to be the final Big Game rivalry game at the old stadium. However, with the current delays, the teams will go at again in November at Memorial Field.

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