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Burbank football gets surprise in Santa Fe for CIF playoffs

Football: After a big win in their opener, Bulldogs hit the road and will take on a Chiefs team that is fresh from a huge upset.

November 19, 2013|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(Roger Wilson Staff…)

After rolling to a an CIF Southern Section Southeast Division first-round playoff win last week, the Burbank High football players and coaches figured they had earned a date with No. 2 Diamond Ranch in the next round.

But they were surprised to learn that Diamond Ranch, the champion of the Hacienda League, had suffered a 31-28 upset loss last Friday — at home — against Santa Fe, the No. 3 team from the Del Rio League.

"We were definitely shocked when we heard the news that Santa Fe had won," Burbank Coach Hector Valencia said. "We were fully expecting to play Diamond Ranch in the next round. That was a very big upset."

Not shocked by the result was Santa Fe and its head coach, Dave Pierson.

"Our guys weren't surprised at all," he said. "For us, we felt like we had a really good game plan and the guys executed what we wanted them to do. Our kids come to play every week, and sometimes things go our way and other times they haven't gone our way this season. But I was really proud of our kids' effort."

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The Bulldogs will take on those upstart Chiefs in a quarterfinal contest at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Downey High.

Burbank (9-2), which finished tied for second in the Pacific League and earned the league's No. 2 seed, heads into the second round after playing well in its opener last week. The Bulldogs had no problem handling Mayfair to the tune of a 49-14 victory at Memorial Field.

Burbank has a history with Santa Fe over the past few years in the postseason. In the first round of the 2010 playoffs, the Bulldogs suffered a 28-14 loss on the road. In 2008, the Bulldogs defeated the host Chiefs, 20-14, in a quarterfinal contest, also on the road.

"Santa Fe seems to always be around in the playoffs," Valencia said. "They have a good program and they usually have some good teams."

The Bulldogs are in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2009, when they fell to host California, 24-21. In that game, California scored the winning touchdown on a pass play with 26.4 seconds left.

A win Friday would put the Bulldogs into the semifinals against either La Serna (9-2) or Diamond Bar (7-4). La Serna is fresh from a first-round thumping of Burroughs, 55-7, and Diamond Bar defeated Downey, 63-29, in its opener.

With his team's effort last week, and what he's seen with Santa Fe, Valencia said he likes his team's chances to earn a victory.

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