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Bulldogs football prepares for Pacific League foes

Football: Burbank loads nonleague schedule with tough squads similar to league foes.

July 24, 2012|By Edgar Melik-Stepanyan, Special to the Leader
(Libby Cline )

One nonleague opponent will resemble possibly its fastest foe in the Pacific League.

Another nonleague team will feature athletes who will remind it of another league rival.

And a third team will have been playing with shoulder pads and helmets long before Burbank suits up for the first time at practice.

The Burbank High football team has loaded its nonleague schedule with tough teams that feature resemblances to league tests.

"Some [nonleague] teams are fast, some teams are big. It will definitely get us ready for league," said Burbank Coach Hector Valencia, whose team missed out on the playoffs after finishing 4-6, 3-4 in league last year.

Burbank will open its season with a zero week game against Chatsworth on Aug. 23 at Burroughs' new Memorial Field. The game will be the first football game on the renovated field.

"It's tough playing a zero game, but it's exciting," Valencia said. "It's a new stadium. We're excited to be there. If Burroughs was the first one there, it wouldn't matter. We love the place. The grass is good quality turf.

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"It's good for the kids to try out the new place. It's special because it's a new stadium, but it's still just a football game."

Chatsworth, a City Section football team, has already started practicing, Valencia said.

"They have a three-week advantage on us," said Valencia, whose team will begin practicing on Aug. 6.

Burbank will remain home for its next nonleague contest when it plays a physical West Ranch team, similar to league opponent Crescenta Valley, at Memorial Field on Aug. 30. West Ranch defeated Burbank, 41-7, in 2011.

Burbank will enjoy a bye week after West Ranch before ending its nonleague schedule with a road game against Inglewood on Sept. 14.

"Inglewood has a fast team, similar to Muir in league," Valencia said. "It will get us ready for league. They are definitely a well-coached team. We have a tough preseason with West Ranch, Inglewood and Chatsworth."

Burbank will begin league play with a home contest against Hoover at Memorial Field. Burbank upended Hoover, 48-0, in 2011.

The Bulldogs' following four contests – against Arcadia, Pasadena, Crescenta Valley, and Muir – will be "no joke," according to Valencia.

"That will decide the character of the team," Valencia said.

The four games will also likely decide whether Burbank returns to the postseason. Burbank lost to three of those teams — it defeated Muir — a year ago.

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