HomeBlocksFront-GridBulldogs’ Late Rally Yields 34-30 Victory

Bulldogs’ Late Rally Yields 34-30 Victory

First published in the Sept. 3 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Burbank High School got senior starting quarterback Dylan Robinson back after he missed the season opener due to COVID, and the Bulldogs were ready to go against visiting Santa Fe for game two of the season.
“It’s great to be back,” Robinson said. “I was scratching at the door for them to let me back in and play football.”
In a topsy-turvy affair that saw the teams combine for four touchdowns in the final 6:46 of the contest, the Bulldogs fought back to escape with a thrilling 34-30 nonleague victory over the visiting Chiefs last Thursday night at Memorial Field.
“We played hard. I don’t know how smart we played or how well we played, but we played hard and never gave up,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said.
With less than seven minutes remaining in the final quarter, Robinson faked a handoff before running up the middle, spinning off contact and ending up in the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown. The PAT gave Burbank (1-1 record) a comfortable 27-16 lead with the game seemingly well in hand … until it was not.
Santa Fe High of Santa Fe Springs (0-2 record) answered right back with a 46-yard aerial strike from Adam Huguez to Imanuel Flores. On the play, the ball was thrown over the middle, where the Bulldog defender cut in front of the receiver and tried to play the ball. However, he missed and Flores sprinted into the end zone. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful and the score stood at 27-22 with 4:46 to play.
Bulldog Jake Reyes recovered the ensuing onside kick at midfield. However, soon after, Robinson threw into the flat and his pass went off the receiver into the hands of Santa Fe’s Evan Melendrez, who returned it 54 yards for a touchdown. Adding injury to insult, Robinson tweaked his knee trying to make the tackle on the play. The Chiefs were successful on the two-point conversion and the visitors now led, 30-27, with 3:47 to play.
With Robinson relegated to the sideline, running back Zakk Estrada took over at quarterback. Soon after, the senior tore off a 20-yard run to midfield. The next play he handed off to Jacob Mendieta for a 41-yard gain up the middle. Mendieta then capped off the drive with a nine-yard rushing touchdown, recapturing the lead. The PAT kick by Chris Aguirre pushed the advantage to four with 2:13 to go.
“It was definitely one of those dreams you think of,” Estrada said of the chance to quarterback the game-winning drive. “Honestly, I wasn’t that scared at all. Colman has been putting me at QB at practice, so I was ready to be in there.”
The Burbank defense iced the win when Bulldog Evan Miller intercepted a deep pass over the middle. Burbank then ran out the final 1:01 and secured this season’s first win.
Robinson finished with a game-high 148 yards rushing with three touchdowns on 17 carries. Estrada contributed 84 yards on the ground on 13 carries. Mendieta, a junior, finished with seven carries for 66 yards and two scores.
“My O-line, I can’t thank them enough. Those guys are great,” Robinson said.
Burbank had trailed 16-6 at halftime, but the second half was a different story. The defense held Santa Fe without a first down before forcing a punt to get it started. On the ensuing drive, facing a fourth down and seven yards to go at on the Chiefs’ 31-yard line, Robinson connected with Estrada for a 23-yard pass. Burbank quickly got to the line and Mendieta powered his way into the end zone for an eight-yard score.
The Bulldogs’ defense then held the visitors without a first down again and got the ball back near midfield. However, on the first play of the drive two Chiefs crushed Robinson for a sack and he fumbled the ball, which Santa Fe recovered.
The Chiefs’ ensuing drive ended with a turnover on downs. On the next play, Robinson carried the ball to the left, streaking down the sideline before picking up a block from Ben Forster downfield, paving the way for a 76-yard touchdown to take the lead for the first time in the second half.
“We played a lot better the second half, then almost gave it away again, but then the resilience of the team and their heart to keep battling [came through],” Colman said.
Robinson finished by completing 3 of 8 with two interceptions. The only other Bulldog to catch a pass was Michael Martinez with two grabs for 31 yards.
Huguez finished 19 of 35 for 225 yards with three touchdowns and the one interception. Melendrez finished with nine catches for 116 yards, both game highs, and two touchdowns.

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