The Bulldogs (8-2) received the second-place spot from the Pacific League after tying for second with Burroughs and Crescenta Valley by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Indians and a coin flip with the Falcons.
Hence, Valencia was correct about winning out, as a loss on Friday to Burroughs would have left the Bulldogs at 7-3 and 4-3 in league. Crescenta Valley was forced to apply for an at-large bid, but lost out to West Covina for the division’s only at-large spot via a 3-1 score in the CIF office’s formula. Going by the same criteria, in which West Covina (5-5) got one point for playing in a stronger league and two points for strength of schedule (the combined record of its opponents) and the Falcons got one point for a better record, the exact same score would have seen West Covina beat out Burbank for the at-large spot.
But Burbank didn’t let it come to that, running away with a 47-21 win in the Big Game over Burroughs.
“I think the main this was focusing on us,” said Valencia of his team ending the regular season on a three-game winning streak. “We started executing thing a lot better since those two losses [to Crescenta Valley and Muir]; it woke us up.”
Now it will face a Mayfair squad that finished second in the Suburban League and is 5-5.
“They’re a running team, I think we do well against running teams,” said Valencia, whose team, should it win, would advance to the quarterfinals to play No. 2 seed Diamond Ranch (9-1) or Santa Fe (6-4). “They’re big and strong, they’re definitely gonna try pounding it.
“Anytime you play anyone in the playoffs, they’re a great team. We’re ready to compete; we’re just gonna bring our best.”
Burroughs (6-4) will see one of the division’s best in La Serna (8-2), the Del Rio League champion.
La Serna has won five straight games, all of them by a margin of 21 points or greater. The teams only losses came against Los Osos, 24-20, and Norco, 37-21.
Although his team will face a Lancers team that has suffered just two losses, Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop thinks his team can play with La Serna.
“La Serna is a good team and they are good at what they do,” Knoop said. “But they run a base defense, and they don’t bring a lot of guys on the blitz. They are a little smaller too, so I think that’s to our advantage as well. They have small running backs, but they do have some speed. And they are also very well coached.
“So looking at the draw, I think this is a lot better opponent than playing someone like Diamond Ranch in the first round. I think [La Serna] matches up well with us, so I think that we got the right match.”
The winner will advance to the quarterfinals to play Downey (6-4) or Diamond Bar (5-5).