It is fourth doan and long for the Burbank football team. Longshot, that is.
"It was all a longshot from the start," Burbank tailback Gabe Jimenez said. "The coach told us not to get our hopes up too high."
Burbank was forced last week to forfeit its six victories because it used an academically ineligible player. But Coach Dave Carson and the Bulldogs have one more chance to capture a Southern Section playoff berth.
At a hearing today in Burbank Municipal Court, school officials and parents will ask to have overturned a Southern Section bylaw that rendered the Bulldogs 0-9 because of what Burbank administrators call a "clerical error."
Burbank's finest season in nine years was ruined when a misplaced transcript surfaced among school records, revealing that junior Anthony Koulax, a starting defensive lineman, was ineligible. Koulax, who failed four classes while at Hoover High, played in six games for the Bulldogs.
"It's just not fair to these kids," said Burbank Councilwoman Mary Lou Howard, whose son, Brett, is a wide receiver for Burbank. "It's all because of the school's mistake and the kids are being blamed."
Burbank was 3-1 in league play before the ruling and would be competing for second place in its Foothill League finale tonight against Burroughs. The loser would advance to the playoffs as the league's third-place team.
The booster club approached the City Council for help but was told the situation was a school matter. The Council, however, voted unanimously to grant the boosters $1,000 in legal aid.
On Thursday, the Southern Section office rejected an appeal by Burbank Principal William Bertrand.
Rivalry remains: Notre Dame, which bids farewell to Del Rey League football with tonight's game at Alemany, has tentatively agreed to a two-year contract to play league rival Crespi. No contract has been signed, but athletic directors Kevin Rooney at Notre Dame and Paul Muff at Crespi have struck an agreement for a Sept. 23 game next season at Notre Dame with a game at Crespi a year later in the third week of the season.
"We'd like to make this an annual event and play them in other sports, too," Muff said. "We'd like to keep the rivalry alive."
Notre Dame moves to the newly formed San Fernando Valley League next season, leaving the Del Rey with a five-team alignment. The Del Rey reached an agreement with the Angelus League, another Big Five Conference league with five members, to match bye weeks for the next two seasons.
Next season, Crespi will play at Mater Dei on Oct. 28. and Alemany plays Bishop Montgomery on Nov. 11 at a site to be determined. The other matchups are St. John Bosco vs. St. Paul; St. Francis vs. Bishop Amat; and Loyola vs. Servite.
Quick start: Montclair Prep has won two consecutive Alpha League games by a combined 55-6 score after starting league play with a 1-1 record. The Mounties (5-4, 3-1) are tied with Western Christian (5-4) and Village Christian (5-4) atop the league standings.
Last week's 21-6 win over Western Christian began the same way as the previous week's 34-0 victory over Maranatha, with Tyler Robuck returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown.
Robuck, a 5-10, 165-pound junior, took the opening kickoff 85 yards for a score against Western Christian and his return against Maranatha went for 87 yards.
"He's really ignited our offense the last two weeks," Coach Pat Blackburn said. "Against Maranatha the field was a mess and Tyler's quick score gave us a big advantage."
Robuck shoots for a hat trick tonight against Marshall Fundamental and history sides with him. A year ago, he returned a kick for a touchdown against Marshall Fundamental.
No passing, no problem: Agoura's offensive woes are no longer a passing phase, but Coach Frank Greminger won't panic as long as his team continues to win.
In last week's 14-12 win against Santa Paula, Agoura completed only one pass for two yards. "It's not a crime if we complete only one pass," Greminger said. "We probably have completed more passes to our opponents' players than we have to our own players. There's no set formula for winning that says you have to pass or run for so many yards."
Greminger knew all along that the passing game would be Agoura's biggest weakness. Matters grew worse when starter Scott Heflin suffered a rotator cuff injury in the first game.
Backup Sean McCune replaced Heflin in the starting lineup and led Agoura to four wins in six games. He proved a capable runner, gaining 167 yards and 4 touchdowns in 6 carries against Calabasas. But he was also an inconsistent passer, completing less than than 40% of his attempts.
Heflin returned to the lineup but has completed only one of 13 passes the past two games. But Heflin will start for Agoura (6-3, 3-0) in tonight's game against Santa Clara (7-2, 3-0) that will decide the Frontier League title.
Needs a brighter pen: It was underlined in red pen. Circled with three stars next to it.