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Burbank High football ready to challenge in Pacific League, beyond

Bulldogs looking to capture first league title and first-round playoff win since 2009.

August 31, 2013|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com

BURBANK — Those loud shouts bouncing off the walls and that extra crackling of their helmets represents a certain confidence the Burbank High football team has developed all summer long.

There’s a feeling in Bulldogs camp that 2013 is destined to be a special season, much like 2009.

That year, Burbank captured its first-ever Pacific League championship, while advancing to quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs.

Since then, Burbank has yet to reclaim a title over the last three years and has gone 0-2 in the first round of the playoffs.

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Last season, the Bulldogs finished 7-4 overall and 6-1 in league.

While the team defeated Burroughs for the first time in three years, much of last season’s exploits brought up this season include the squad’s 24-17 loss to league champion Muir and a 49-14 first-round playoff exit last year at the hands of visiting Suburban League runner-up Norwalk.

“I’m going to take that memory and I’m going to keep it until our next playoff game, because I don’t want to forget it,” Burbank junior running back James Williams said. “We don’t ever want to lose like that again.”

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Williams is Burbank’s undisputed top prospect and has received much attention after being named the Pacific League Offensive Player of the Year, thanks to his rushing for a team-leading 1,443 yards and 17 touchdowns in 133 carries (10.85 yards-per-rush average). Those numbers came in a season in which the All-Area first-teamer split duties with graduated back Teddy Arlington (920 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns) and Joseph Pendleton (507 yards and seven touchdowns).

Yet, what might be more impressive than the stats was the effort of Williams, who actively took part in the first-team defensive drills as a member of the offensive scout team.

“I know some guys don’t like to do it, but I feel this is how you get better,” Williams said. “If you get a chance to work against your first-team defense, probably the best defense in league, you’re only going to get better.”

Although Williams will get the bulk of the carries in 2013, he’ll be aided by Martin Caro (senior), juniors Tony Toledo and Kyle Alvarez and fullback Pendleton.

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