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Burbank has 27-23 comeback win over Highlands

October 2, 2018

Matthew Salazar scored on a 28-yard touchdown run with 57 seconds left in lifting the Burbank Bulldogs to a 27-23 comeback win over the Highlands Owls Friday at SAISD Sports Complex.

Salazar rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns, including the game winner, as Burbank (3-2, 2-1 in District 13-5A-Division 1) moved up in the District 13-5A-1 standings to stay in the playoff hunt at the midpoint of the season. Highlands dropped to 1-3 overall, 1-1 in district, one game behind Burbank and Brackenridge (3-2, 2-1 in district), who are both tied for third place in District 13-5A-1.

With Burbank trailing 23-14 in the fourth quarter, Salazar got the Bulldogs back in the game on a 3-yard touchdown run with 4:55 left. After Burbank got the ball back, Salazar found a hole off the right side of the line in sprinting 28 yards to the end zone for the deciding score.

But Burbank did not seal the win until defensive back Alex Ariaza intercepted a pass by Highlands’ Gabriel Saenz at the goal line in the closing seconds, thwarting a late Owls’ drive that ended at the Burbank 22-yard line.

Burbank coach Phil Barron said he was proud of the way his team rebounded a week after losing to Brackenridge, 41-34, a game in which the Bulldogs let a 20-point lead slip away.

“I thought our kids had a good week of practice and I thought they responded well,” Barron said. “We faced adversity all night against Highlands. Our kids fought all night to the very end.”

Highland needed only two plays to score the first touchdown of the game. On the game’s first play, Highlands’ Nigel Cervantes ran 29 yards to the Burbank 31-yardline. On the next play, Cervantes went left and then cutback for a 31-yard touchdown run at the 11:15 mark of the first quarter. A run for two points failed, leaving the score at 6-0 for Highlands.

On their next possession, the Owls boosted their lead to 9-0 on a 27-yard field goal by Johnathon Moore with five seconds remaining in the first quarter. Moore’s field goal capped a 17 play, 58-yard drive that over seven minutes off the clock.

In the second quarter, things started to go Burbank’s way. It started with a heads up play by Bulldog linebacker Roman Salazar, who scooped up a fumble off a lateral errant pass from Saenz to Cervantes and ran it in for a 24-yard score at 1:54 left in the first half.

The Bulldogs did an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, which was recovered by Nick Settles at the Highlands 42. Three plays later, Salazar ran for a four-yard touchdown to put Burbank on top 14-9 with 33 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

“Roman (Salazar) making a heads up play and picking that (lateral fumble) up and going in for six was the momentum swing for us in the first half,” Barron said.

Highlands regained the lead early in the third quarter on a 16-yard touchdown run by D’Marrion Gonzales and went up 23-14 with 1:34 in the third quarter on a 5-yard scoring pass from Saenz to Eric Ramirez. Saenz then passed to Dre’Chan Moody for the two-point conversion.

Cervantes rushed for 119 yards on 18 carries to lead the Owls’ offense. Highlands totaled 266 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, Burbank had 288 yards of total offense, including the 144 yards rushing from Matthew Salazar.

One big play that made a difference in the game was from Burbank’s Marcus Bolden, whose 30-yard diving catch at the Highlands 3-yardline set up Matthew Salazar’s 3-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Defensively, the Bulldogs won the turnover battle by recovering three fumbles and intercepting two passes, with three of those Highlands miscues leading to Burbank scores.

On summing up the win, Barron said, “I think what we got out of this game was that we’re never out of the fight. We faced a ton of adversity and came through. We preach to our kids all the time, football is a direct correlation of life, there’s going to be ups and downs. How are you going to respond to it? I think they’re buying into it and getting it, and they responded tonight.”

Burbank will go up against Jefferson (1-3, 0-2 in District 13-5A-1) Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Alamo Stadium. Meanwhile, Highlands will look to bounce back against Veterans Memorial (3-2, 3-0), who is tied for first place in District 13-5A-1 with Wagner, in a Friday clash at Rutledge Stadium in Converse at 7:30 p.m.

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