Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal Staff
Burlingame linebacker Sam Buckingham sacks King's Academy quarterback Dominic Sabel for the second time in the Panthers' 58-0 win over the Knights in a non-league game Friday night.
Another week, another blowout win for the Burlingame football team.
The casual observer may see Friday night’s 58-0 win over visiting King’s Academy and assume the Panthers must be firing on all cylinder.
Big wins like the Panthers have experienced this season can gloss over mistakes and areas on which the team needs to work and Burlingame coach John Philipopoulos is keenly aware of that.
“It’s hard to be mad winning 58-zero,” Philipopoulos said. “But there are a lot of things we have to work on. We weren’t doing the job up front (offensively Friday night).”
It may see like the coach is nitpicking, considering Burlingame (5-0 overall) racked up 284 yards rushing and 344 yards of total offense. But take away three big runs that accounted for 133 of those rushing yards and suddenly it’s not as impressive.
Philipopoulos admitted its hard for both the coaching staff and the team to stay focused on the task at hand when they are averaging 50 points per game — this is the third week in a row the Panthers have eclipsed the 50-point mark.
“It has been a challenge,” Philipopoulos said. “Most our plays on offense (Friday) were either big plays or on a short field. But when had to start at our 20 or 30 and put a drive together, we couldn’t do it.”
Despite all these perceived woes, however, the Burlingame offense did manage to score six touchdowns on offense. The Panthers took a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game with quarterback Avery Gindraux hooking up with Keone Keahi for a 12-yard scoring pass.
A Gindraux 1-yard run put the Panthers up 23-0 five seconds into the second quarter and less than three minutes later, Manase Palu ripped off a 47-yard scoring scamper for a 30-0 Burlingame lead. He later added a 38-yard scoring run to put the Panthers up 51-0 at halftime.
Palu finished with 102 yards rushing and two scores on just nine carries.
Philipopoulos called off the dogs in the second half but not before Griffin Intrieri scored on a 10-yard run to account for the only score in the second half.
While Philipopoulos may have some concerns about his offense, he’s much more comfortable with the Panthers’ defense and special teams, which is where they really left their mark Friday. Not only did the Burlingame defense hold King’s Academy to just 118 yards of offense, the Panthers also forced five Knights turnovers, turning a Robby Baumgarten interception into a 10-yard touchdown.
Baumgarten had two picks on the night.
They also recorded five sacks, two from Sam Buckingham, the first of which resulted in a safety.
“Defensively we’ve been playing real well,” Philipopoulos said.
Friday’s win was the third shutout of the season for the Panthers.
The Burlingame special teams even got into the act, with Baumgarten returning King’s Academy’s kickoff following the safety for a 64-yard kickoff return, to cap a nine-point spree over 12 seconds.
Normally, a coach wouldn’t be too concerned about his team coming off a non-league schedule like the Panthers have, but Philipopoulos knows next week is his team’s first real test of the season — a road game against Aragon to open their Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division schedule.
“Our starters haven’t played a four-quarter game. In five games, our starters have played, maybe, 10, 11 quarters,” Philipopoulos said. “The biggest concern is (playing against) big, heavy teams. Next Friday is the real deal. Next Friday we find out what kind of team Burlingame is.”