Burbank stuns Sam Houston to keep playoff hopes alive
Sam Houston was a win away from clinching a playoff berth, while Burbank wouldn’t make the playoffs if it absorbed another loss.
One of two truisms could apply to Burbank (5-4, 4-3). Choose between the old saw about cornered animals being the most dangerous or what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Regardless, the Bulldogs persevered for a 20-14 win over the Hurricanes (5-4, 5-2) Nov. 2 at the SAISD Sports Complex.
“It was the seniors’ last home game, so we fought through the adversity,” said Burbank sophomore back Matthew Salazar, who ran for 161 yards and a touchdown on 28 attempts. “We needed the win to get in the playoffs. It really helped us to have the crowd behind us.”
The outcome left Brackenridge (5-4, 4-3), Burbank and Sam Houston battling for the last two playoff positions in District 13-5A Division I with a game remaining.
“My hat’s off to Burbank,” Sam Houston coach Melton Schultz said. “They could have given up after being down 14-0. It’s something we have to get over and get ready for Veterans Memorial.”
District coaches have come to refer to playing Wagner (9-1, 8-0) and Vets Memorial (6-3, 6-1) back-to-back as running the gauntlet. Burbank had done that in the previous two games.
“We gave up 14 points on offense because of turnovers,” first-year Burbank coach Phil Barron said. “Our defense was super strong all night.”
Salazar scored the winning touchdown on a 21-yard run with 7:28 remaining. The Bulldogs drove 65 yards in 13 plays and added a two-point conversion on a pass from Julian Basaldua to Marcus Bolden.
“I got the ball and my left tackle, Isaiah Gonzalez, made a great block,” Salazar said. “I cut up field and saw the end zone. I didn’t want to stop until I got in.”
The Hurricanes, who had a four-game winning streak at kickoff, scored all of their points in the first quarter.
On the third play after an interception by Magnus Kirby, Austen Ashworth floated a 25-yard pass to Jonathan Franklin-Ross for the first touchdown. Following a short punt, Faiszon Reese broke a 43-yard touchdown run with 3:25 left in the quarter.
“I’m not very happy right now,” Schultz said after the game. “We jumped out to a 14-0 lead, then we got complacent. But our defense played lights out.”
The Bulldogs’ fortunes seemed to turn when Salazar recovered a bad Hurricanes snap at the Sam Houston 37 with 9:37 until halftime.
Burbank drove 63 yards after the turnover to score on a three-yard run by Tobi Korrodi. After missing a field goal at the end of the half, the Bulldogs closed the gap to two points on a 31-yard touchdown catch by Bolden with a defender guarding closely enough to draw a penalty flag.
Basaldua was masterful on that drive and the game-winner after replacing Korrodi.
“We decided to go with another quarterback,” Barron said. “Julian is one of our captains and one of our leaders.”
As a second-year starter, Salazar also has shown leadership qualities.
“Matthew has been great for us this season,” Barron said. “Early in the game, he carried the ball a lot and we were able to come back because of it. I’ve said it since he was a freshman. Matthew is special.”