Indians edge Burbank with late-game stops
AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Burbank, Harlandale.
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Burbank seemed to be controlling the ball in the second half, right up to the point that Harlandale’s defense put its foot down.
The Indians (5-4, 4-3) stopped Burbank on fourth-and-one each of its last two fourth-quarter drives. The final stop, with 26 seconds remaining, sealed a 28-27 District 28-5A win for Harlandale Friday at Harlandale Memorial Stadium.
“Those last two drives, we kept them from getting a first down,” Harlandale coach Isaac Martinez said. “I thought it was big that, when Burbank tied it 21-21, we came right back and answered. That could have been a momentum shift.
“I’m proud of the kids. We haven’t been in a game like this since Brackenridge (Sept. 20).”
The victory kept Harlandale tied for third with Edison (4-5, 4-3) heading into the final week of the season. Burbank (4-5, 3-4) dropped into a fifth-place deadlock with Jefferson (3-6, 3-4).
Harlandale finishes the regular season with the Frontier Bowl next Friday against rival McCollum (2-7, 2-5) at Harlandale Memorial Stadium (7:30 p.m.). A victory will qualify the Indians for the postseason for the third time in five years.
The Bulldogs will play Lanier (2-7, 2-5) next Friday in a 7:30 p.m. at the SAISD Sports Complex. Burbank will need a win and help from Jefferson to return to the playoffs for the second-consecutive season.
“It was a difficult loss,” Burbank coach Mark Perez said. “My hat’s off to Isaac and his staff. This was a good game.
“We’re still in the hunt. After losing by two points (to Edison) last week and one this week, my kids are going to be ready to come back with a win.”
Burbank tied the score with an 18-yard pass from senior quarterback Daniel Tello to Jordan Santos. Tello (241 yards, 29 carries) had a hand in every touchdown, running for the other three.
“He’s a smart, crafty runner,” the Indians coach said. “You can’t stop him. We tried to contain him as much as we could.”
The Bulldogs drove 78 yards in 12 plays off the second-half kickoff to notch the tie.
Tello’s 11-yard touchdown run with 10:33 remaining accounted for the final score. Burbank missed the extra point.
Harlandale led 21-14 at halftime and only scored once thereafter. Quarterback Jacob Delgado (7 of 11, 129 yards) floated a pass over a Bulldogs defender for an 11-yard touchdown to Noah Avina with 2:43 left in the third quarter.
Burbank stopped the Indians on a fourth-and-2 near midfield on their next drive.
“A loss would have meant we (might not) be in the playoffs,” said Harlandale senior receiver Ian Martinez, who caught a 38-yard touchdown pass that kept the Indians ahead 28-21 at halftime. “Even the sophomores and juniors said they were going to do it for us.”
Almost miraculously, Burbank was able to overcome three lost first-half fumbles to close within a touchdown at the half. The teams combined for three touchdowns in the last 2:30 of the half.
Harlandale led 14-0 going into that stretch. The Indians scored on a 21-yard pass from Delgado to Vincent Hernandez in the first quarter and a 36-yard run by John Aguirre in the second.
Tello scored on runs of 34 and 14 yards, with Martinez’s reception between – capping a two-play, 56-yard drive.
On Burbank’s first touchdown, with 2:30 until halftime, Tello was unable to find an open receiver. From the Indians 34, he headed toward the right sideline, eluded two tacklers and went in to cut Harlandale’s lead to 14-7.
Martinez turned a simple screen pass into the 38-yard score just 26 seconds later.
Down 14 points, the Bulldogs manufactured a drive that spanned 57 yards and ate up most of the available clock time. Following a five-yard run from Jordan Santos, Tello completed short passes on three consecutive plays. That left Burbank 26 yards from the end zone. The quarterback covered the distance in two running plays.