HomeBlocksFront-GridBulldogs Lose Heartbreaker On Opening Game’s Final Play

Bulldogs Lose Heartbreaker On Opening Game’s Final Play

First published in the Aug. 27 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

In a demonstration that the pandemic is not over yet, the Burbank High football team opened its season at home last Friday down several players due to COVID, including their starting all-league quarterback Dylan Robinson and their top two two-way linemen.
However, it was next man up for the Bulldogs as they began this year’s gridiron campaign against visiting Dos Pueblos High from Goleta.
The host Bulldogs and Dos Pueblos went back and forth until the Chargers kicked a field goal that sailed through the uprights as time expired, handing Burbank a 22-19 loss in nonleague action.
“Exciting, a fun way to start the season,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said. “Like I told the kids, I am so upset for them because, man, they earned it.”
Just on the edge of field goal range with nine seconds left and the score tied, the Chargers completed a 10-yard pass and their receiver dove out of bounds with one second left. Dos Pueblos’ Gregory Tripathi then booted a 44-yard field goal on the game’s final play.
“A tribute to them,” Dos Pueblos coach AJ Pateras said of Burbank. “They played a heck of a game. Adam should be really proud of the kids he has because they never quit. They battled and that is what is so fun about high school football, especially early – you don’t know what the heck is going to happen.”
Burbank (0-1 record) had tied the game with 2:21 to go when quarterback Daniel Zacariaz connected with Ben Forster for a seven-yard touchdown. The senior was lined up out wide left before slanting inside at the snap. The ensuing extra point kick was blocked, leaving the score knotted at 19-19.
Dos Pueblos’ ensuing possession started with a 48-yard run, setting the visitors up 10 yards from a go-ahead score. However, the Chargers (1-0 record) fumbled on the next play and it was scooped up by Levon Bakmazian, who returned it to near midfield.
Burbank was then unable to gain a first down and set up to punt. However, the Bulldog punter had a knee on the ground when he received the snap, giving the ball back to Dos Pueblos 26 yards from paydirt, and the drive eventually ended with Tripathi’s walk-off field goal.
“We didn’t make the plays at the end, and they did,” Colman said.

Ben Forster celebrates a seven-yard touchdown reception that tied the game in the fourth quarter.

Zacariaz filled in admirably at quarterback for Burbank. The sophomore was 16 of 25 for 207 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed twice for seven yards. His longest connection was a 38-yard heave over the middle to Evan Miller.
“For my first game on varsity, I really had a lot of fun,” Zacariaz said. “We’re a family, and from now on we are just going to win and win together.”
On both sides of the ball, Bulldog Zakk Estrada was a force. Along with lining up at multiple positions on defense, the senior had a game-high 10 catches for 113 yards and a game-high 68 yards rushing on 25 carries with a touchdown. Junior Jacob Mendieta had 28 yards on 10 carries.
Dos Pueblos started the contest with the ball, but the Burbank defense held the visitors without a first down thanks to a sack on third down by Alex Hossepian, who later in the quarter left with an arm injury. The Chargers intercepted a Zacariaz pass attempt to get the ball back, but the Bulldog defense once again forced a punt without yielding a first down.
The ensuing Burbank possession ended when the long snap back to the punter sailed high and tumbled out the back of the end zone for a safety. The visitors led 2-0 after the first quarter.
In an 80-yard drive that spanned the first and second quarters, Burbank milked 10:40 off the clock to take the lead, culminating with a one-yard touchdown run. Zacariaz faked the handoff inside before giving the ball to Estrada on an end-around for the score.
However, the Chargers answered with a one-yard quarterback sneak by Ryan Marsh and a PAT kick by Tripathi 13 seconds before intermission. The visitors led 9-7 at halftime.
Burbank’s first possession of the second half ended with an interception that the Chargers eventually turned into a 32-yard field goal by Tripathi.
The next drive opened with a 24-yard rush by Estrada, who also converted a fourth down near midfield with a second effort which yielded a seven-yard run. The drive ended with a 20-yard scoring pass. After scooping up the snap off the turf, Zacariaz threw into traffic and the pass was tipped by a Bulldog, continuing downfield into the hands of Michael Martinez, who took it the rest of the way.
Dos Pueblos answered immediately with a touchdown to set up the dramatic final stanza.
“They just stepped up. It was just next man up,” Colman said of his team, which suffered several injuries along with the COVID absences. “They just bought in and they played so hard. My heart just breaks for them because I wanted it so bad for them. They really deserved it with the heart they showed tonight.”

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