As soon as Burlingame defensive tackle Dylan Neely threw the Alvarez quarterback to the ground 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage, the fate of the season opener was sealed. Although it was early in the first quarter and Burlingame was only winning by six points at the time of the sack, any spectator could see that this was the big play the Panthers had been waiting for to open the floodgates in an eventual 34-7 victory.
“I was reading the offensive line, they looked like they were leaning back a little bit so I knew I could just go, get the sack and do my thing,” said Neely, who ended with 3.5 sacks in the game.
In the following Burlingame drive, the Panthers quickly doubled their lead with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Malashus to his brother, Devin Malashus. The Eagles showed a hint of life when defensive lineman Daniel De La Cruz recovered a fumble at the Burlingame eight-yard line, but the opportunity ultimately amounted to nothing when the Eagles' offense failed to score.
From then on, the Burlingame offense seemed to be slicing through the Alvarez defense almost effortlessly. Running back Curtis Lauti scored two touchdowns, including a huge 60-yard scoring run on the first drive of the third quarter.
“One of the strengths of our team is our running backs, so we keep feeding them the ball and eventually we feel like [getting big plays downfield] will be a consistent thing for us,” said Burlingame coach John Philipopoulos.
Although Lauti had a breakout game, the contribution of the rest of the running back committee was definitely significant. Despite problems with fumbles in the first half, running back Lucas Meredith contributed nearly 75 all purpose yards and Devin Malashus contributed a large chunk, highlighted by his 31-yard touchdown catch.
Alvarez did not strike back until the end of the game when running back Corey Beck ran it into the end zone from eight yards out.
In the end, the players for Burlingame were very pleased with their performance in the season opener, despite a couple mishaps at the beginning.
“When we made plays, when we were operating, we did really well. We looked real good on both sides of the ball,” said Panthers' linebacker Leo Bashaw.
Next week, Burlingame looks to continue its undefeated season against formidable Sacred Heart Prep, who beat Carlmont in its opener, while the Eagles look to turn their young season around with a victory against rival Alisal.