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Football teams use spring as measuring stick

Football: Burbank, Burroughs coaches impressed with their talent, while Bell-Jeff still organizing under new coach.

June 06, 2013|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(Cheryl A. Guerrero…)

Spring football is all about filling spots, assessing talent and beginning to build the makings of a team.

At least that's what spring football provided this year for the Burroughs High and Burbank football teams, as spring practices concluded last week. With returning coaches and established systems, the Indians and Bulldogs picked up just where they left off when the season concluded in the fall.

PHOTOS: Burroughs vs. Burbank spring football

However, there was no spring football at Bellarmine-Jefferson. With new coach Lance Fauria at the helm for less than a month before spring ball got underway, there was just no time to assemble a workout regimen or get the Guards players organized.

Coming off seasons in which two of the three teams qualified for the CIF Southern Section playoffs in 2012, Burroughs, Burbank and Bell-Jeff did lose their share of talented players. However, all three coaches are optimistic about the 2013 campaign and expect to have their share of standout players.

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Here is a look at each team.

BURBANK

The Bulldogs accomplished something in 2012 they hadn't done the previous season — advancing to the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs.

The Bulldogs played well in the Pacific League, finishing second behind champion Muir. Burbank went 7-4, 6-1 in league and fell in the first round of the playoffs to Norwalk, 49-14.

Two of the leaders from last season were lineman Steven Kim and running back James Williams, both of whom earned All-CIF honors. Unfortunately for Burbank, Kim graduated. Kim was a stalwart on the Burbank defense, earning the Pacific League Defensive Player of the Year honor, along with an All-Area first-team accolade. He had 65 tackles and 12 sacks.

But Williams will be back and will only be a junior.

"James is really looking good and he should be a force next season," Burbank Coach Hector Valencia said. "He has been working on his speed and he should be even better than he was last season."

Williams had 133 carries for 1,443 yards (10.8 yards a carry) and 17 touchdowns last season. He was named the All-Pacific League Offensive Player of the year."

Another player who impressed Valencia during the spring was quarterback Ryan Meredith, who will be a junior. He earned the starting quarterback job midway through last season and seemed to spark the Bulldogs.

Valencia said Williams and Meredith have been gaining experience playing in seven-on-seven passing leagues.

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