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  • José Luis Villegas Burbank wide receiver Calvin Green makes a one-handed catch for a 16-yard gain in the second quarter. Green later ran for the Titans' clinching touchdown.

  • José Luis Villegas /

    Del Oro's Troy Kline (21) blocks the punt of Burbank's Taliauli Finau in the second quarter for a safety. It was one of two blocked punts by Del Oro.

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Splash of the Titans

Published: Saturday, Sep. 15, 2012 - 12:20 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jul. 2, 2013 - 10:00 am

The statement moments continue for the Burbank Titans, suddenly standing pretty tall on the regional high school football scene and vowing to flex some more muscle in the coming weeks.

A week after downing Grant, the winningest area program the last 10 seasons, the upstart No. 7 Titans rallied to take down No. 5 Del Oro – the second-most-successful program in the region over the last decade – with their vaunted triple-option attack and an attacking, swarming defense.

Overcoming early special-teams breakdowns and scoring on long runs with a seemingly downhill path to the end zone, Burbank prevailed 28-23 on Friday night in Loomis, and then the Titans collectively yanked off their helmets and took a knee in an end zone huddle around their beloved coach, John Heffernan.

With all the ingredients in place, the Titans suddenly have the look of a 10-0 team with two of their most daunting challenges behind them before the Metro Conference schedule begins.

Del Oro scored on an electrifying 80-yard kickoff return by Brandon Monroe to open the game, and it blocked two punts, but the Golden Eagles were undone by their rash of injuries and Burbank's burst.

Monroe, the talented senior tailback headed to San Jose State via scholarship, went down in the first half with a leg contusion, one of five starters who limped in and out of the lineup with an assortment of hurts.

Part of those ailments were of the nagging, fluke variety, and some of it was because of the ferocity of the Titans, who hit as hard as any team in the Sac-Joaquin Section.

The Titans (3-0) added some additional pain by blasting through the Del Oro defense, including an Isaiah Williams 60-yard score off a fake punt, a 45-yard touchdown sprint by Ondrai White and the go-ahead 86-yard touchdown by Calvin Green in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Ernest Jenkins ran in for two two-point conversions on the final touchdowns and then expertly engineered the late clock-eating drive put the Golden Eagles away and dropped them to 0-3.

Del Oro came in having lost to national powers from Southern California in Oaks Christian and Westlake.

Burbank was paced on defense by defensive lineman Feau Tapa, a quick and bruising 6-foot-3, 260-pound junior with a shock of hair that spills out of the back of his helmet.

Del Oro coach Casey Taylor implored his charges to remain together with more challenging games ahead, including at Grant next week.

Heffernan reminded his team that complacency can especially doom the Titans now.

"Coach is the reason we're doing so well," said Jenkins, the quarterback. "We believe in him."

So does John Smith, the director of athletics for the Sacramento City Unified School District who marvels at the Titans in general.

"There's something special about coach Heffernan," Smith said. "He just has it. You see him on campus, and it's amazing. Kids love him, will do anything for him. That's leadership. He says jump and they'll jump."

What he's telling his Titans is to compete, and they have.

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