Claremont 25, Burbank 7--Because two inexperienced quarterbacks were going to split playing time, Burbank Coach Dave Carson reckoned the team's biggest problem early in the season would be the passing game.
The Bulldogs' biggest problem in their nonleague season opener turned out to be fumbles, however. Burbank fumbled four times at Citrus College, including twice in the fourth quarter when Claremont scored 19 points.
"You can't expect to win when you're playing a good team like that and fumble four times," Carson said. "We have an inexperienced team and they're going to have to learn."
Burbank took a 7-6 lead into the fourth quarter behind the strong running of Gabe Jimenez, but Claremont rallied with a pair of field goals and two touchdowns. Claremont quarterback Baraka Harper had a 40-yard touchdown run with 2:58 to play and Keith Hadley ran 80 yards for a touchdown on the game's final play.
Burbank running back Tarin Cardenaz fumbled twice in the final period, setting up field goals of 34 and 41 yards by Claremont kicker Ken Allen.
Jimenez, who also lost two fumbles, carried the ball 26 times for 169 yards and scored Burbank's only touchdown on a one-yard run with 2:14 left in the third quarter. Eugene Saldana's PAT gave Burbank a 7-0 lead.
Jimenez, a senior tailback, had 118 yards in the first half.
"His cutbacks hurt us all night and he got good gains on the draw plays, too," Claremont Coach Bob Diaz said.
At quarterback, the position about which Carson had expressed concern, Fred Castillo completed 3 of 6 passes for 35 yards and Anthony Valento hit 2 of 3 for 1 yard.
Neither team scored in the first half although Burbank outgained Claremont, 139-9. The Bulldogs nearly scored late in the half when Jimenez ran 59 yards to the Claremont 13-yard line. But on the next play, Valento was sacked to end the half.