Burlingame’s football season ends on a high note

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Isaac Bostonmaer

Running back Kyle Sieban (#21) gets pushed out of bounds at the end of an offensive play against Menlo-Atherton. (March 26)

Isaac Bostonmaer, Staff Reporter

Burlingame’s 2020-2021 football season officially came to an end on April 16 after the varsity football team played San Mateo in the Little Big Game. The Panthers finished the game in a blowout victory with a score of 49-14, making their final record for the season 3-3.

 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the start of the season was delayed and players had to overcome obstacles such as practice restrictions. Additionally, having to adapt to new safety guidelines played a role in Burlingame’s rocky start to the season.

 

“One main [obstacle] was the lack of preparation… From February to July we would have been preparing for the upcoming season, but we didn’t have any of that span to use,” athletic director and varsity football head coach John Philipopoulos said.

 

Primarily due to the lack of preparation, Burlingame lost their first three games: the first was a 19-10 loss in a close game against Half Moon Bay High School on March 12, followed by a 17-0 loss to Sacred Heart High School on March 20 and a 21-0 loss to Menlo-Atherton High School on March 26. 

Burlingame Panthers getting ready to snap the ball on an offensive play against Menlo-Atherton. (March 26) (Isaac Bostonmaer)

After starting the first half of the season with a 0-3 record, Burlingame was able to turn the tide. Burlingame finished the season with a three-game win streak as the team improved over the season. On April 2, Burlingame won 21-6 against Terra Nova High School, the team responsible for beating Burlingame in the semi-finals of the Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs last season. The varsity Panthers were able to carry their momentum into the last two games of the season, winning 21-14 as underdogs against The King’s Academy on April 9 and then beating San Mateo High School in their final game.

 

“I am proud [of the team’s performance]. When we saw the first half of our schedule, Half Moon Bay, Sacred Heart, then Menlo, we thought, ‘Ouch. This is going to be tough’… Even though we lost those games, it made us better and helped us finish the season strong,” Philipopoulos said.

 

After this past season’s late start, the team is looking forward to a normal season with a regular off-season practice and conditioning schedule. Coach Philipopoulos and the varsity football team hope to carry this momentum forward as they begin preparing over the summer for next season. 

 

“Next season we’re looking for another CCS run. Hopefully, we can get to the finals and win it. I think we’re looking good for next season,” varsity football player Xavier Bruening said.

Burlingame football and cheer have their senior class posing for pictures at the Senior Night ceremony before The Little Big Game. (April 16) (Jackson Spenner)

Planning for next season though is bittersweet as the team must say goodbye to the 2020-2021 senior class.

 

“It was very emotional [playing the last game with this year’s senior class]. I spent a lot of time with these kids and got to know them really well. I appreciate the time and effort they put into the program and the commitment they made. I see how much it means to them. That’s important to me, and I appreciate them,” Philipopoulos said.

 

Philipopoulos will especially miss the leadership that the senior players were able to bring to the team. However, he believes that next year’s senior class has what it takes to propel the team to a successful season and lead the up-and-coming players.

 

Burlingame football is a special community where athletes and coaches bond, work hard and have fun.

 

“It’s a great team to be a part of. Football is a brotherhood like none other,” Bruening said.