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Matadors Fall Short On Rally

  • By Freddy Aleman
SanGabrielFootball2SAN GABRIEL - 9/17/10 - It was a frantic finish Friday night to a CIF Southern Section nonleague game as the visiting Bulldogs of Burbank High hung on for a narrow 44-36 victory over San Gabriel High.

A second half explosion by the Matadors (0-3) cut a once 37-point Bulldog lead down to just eight, as a charge led by Matador backup quarterback Andy Guerrero came up just short.

"Andy came in and played great," said Matador coach Jude Oliva. "(Guerrero) is different from Eric (Alvarez). (Alvarez) is more of a thinker, but Andy goes more on instincts. Andy is defiantly a playmaker."

Guerrero went into the game halfway through the second quarter. Guerrero replaced starting quarterback Alvarez, who once again struggled to lead the Matador offense.

The Bulldogs (2-1) were tough from the onset. On their opening drive, the Bulldogs easily marched down the field to score a touchdown. Bulldog quarterback Adam Colman connected on a 20-yard pass with wide receiver Ryan Thanaratnam.

Later on, scores by Quortney Brazier, Thanaratnam and two touchdown runs by Ulisies Ochoa ballooned the Bulldogs lead to, 37-0, halfway through the second quarter.

In a deep hole, Oliva inserted backup quarterback Guerrero. Guerrero brought an aura of confidence, which seemed to have resonated to the rest of his teammates. Two plays into the game, Guerrero scored the Matadors first touchdown, as he scrambled down the left sideline to score on a 31-yard keeper.

With under a minute remaining before halftime, Guerrero managed to connect with wideout Andres Fernandez for a 20-yard score, to cut the Bulldogs lead to 37-14.

To open the second half, the Matadors would get the opportunity to strike first, as they received the ball to start the half. On their ensuing drive, Matador running back Arthur Brown carved his way through a suspect Bulldog defense, to score an 11-yard rushing touchdown.

With their lead cut to 37-21 the Bulldogs would respond to adversity quickly. A 12-yard score by tailback Ochoa put the Bulldogs ahead once again by 23 points.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Matadors would keep clawing away at a once insurmountable Bulldog lead. Matador defender Mark Covarrubias picked off Colman's pass, as he returned the interception for a touchdown.

Trailing 44-28, once gain the Matador defense stepped up and made a crucial game changing play. Colman was stripped of the football as Matador defender Steven Park recovered the loose ball. During the following play, Guerrero continued his impressive play, as he connected on a 41-yard touchdown pass with wide receiver Park.

Although the Matadors would have one last opportunity to tie the game with three minutes remaining, they were unable to continue their tremendous momentum. The Bulldog defense stepped up and prevented catastrophe.

"You can't spot a team like Burbank a 37-point lead," said Oliva. "We need to play the way we did in the second half for four quarters."

Although the Matadors found their swagger, the team has several questions heading into next week's game. Oliva said that the quarterback position is now an open competition. Another concern for Oliva's team will be the condition of tailback Brown. Brown left the game early in the fourth quarter with an injury to his left leg. Brown's condition remains unknown, as he is schedule to have an X-ray soon.

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