BURBANK - Burbank's Coyotes didn't have a gentle welcome into South Central Conference East Division league play Friday night.
Instead, Burbank (1-2) was handed a 32-7 loss by the Royal Knights (2-1).
"It didn't go how we hoped," said Burbank coach Rich Harris. "We had high expectations coming in. But I thought we competed."
It didn't open easily for the Coyotes, who received the kickoff. On his second possession, Burbank quarterback Heath Lawrence threw to Angel Garcia, but the pass bounced off a shoulder pad and into Royal's Alex Ramirez's hands.
"That's the grind," Harris said of the interception, Lawrence's only missed throw of the game. "But these kids have gotten better. Last year, their chins would've dropped after that. But I thought they played really well."
From that point, Royal needed just 1:50 to put its first points on the board, when Dylan Delay rushed one yard into the end zone. Knights kicker Shaq Ledezma posted his first of two conversions.
The Knights scored again five minutes later when Royals quarterback Alex Myrick followed up a 35-yard rush with a 1-yard dash into the end zone.
The Coyotes managed to march up the field once - but couldn't get past the 29 yard line and were forced to punt.
The Coyotes opened the second with possession but - in a pattern that became familiar - couldn't pass the 25 yard line.
Burbank's Brandon McBride sacked Myrick on Burbank's 15 yard line, forcing a fumble and recovering the ball for the Coyotes.
Again, the Coyotes pushed up the field - but couldn't get past Royal's 28 and punted.
The possession - beginning with 2:10 left in the quarter - led to another 1-yard Myrick touchdown rush with 12 seconds to play.
Royal closed the half up 19-0.
And the Knights exploded quickly in the third quarter.
Myrick passed to Kyle Spartveit at 11:57, and Spartveit found the holes for a 61-yard touchdown run.
An attempted 2-point conversion failed.
Now trailing 25-0, Burbank was down - but not ready to give up. The Coyotes posted their only points in the game a few minutes later, when a 28-yard pass from Lawrence found Garcia inches from goal. A leap by Garcia took him into pay territory - and ensured the Coyotes were on the board.
"That was a good catch," Harris said. "That was a real good catch."
Garcia led the Coyotes with eight passes for 67 yards.
But the Coyotes didn't light the scoreboard up again, and Royal would put down one more, a 17-yard Delay run in the fourth, for the 32-7 final.
"We saw positives," Harris said.
Rushing improved dramatically from the Coyotes' loss to La Salle last week, he said.
"We were finally able to rush," he said. "We've been working on that and we got that going. We didn't rush (at all) against La Salle."
And quarterback Lawrence led the opposing - and winning - Myrick, completing 12-of-24 passes to Myrick's 10-of-18. Lawrence had one interception to Myrick's two, and at 108 passing yards, trailed Myrick's 125 by just 17.
"It came down to 10 or 12 snaps," Harris said.
Harris said he was pleased with how Lawrence, a junior, handled the pressure.
"He made some good throws," Harris said.
Youth also kept the Coyotes off balance. Harris played two freshman and two sophomores.
"The more games they go through, the better they'll be," he said.
And through the night, Harris saw the same trend - the Coyotes could march the ball up, but couldn't quite cross, the 20-yard-line.
"We could move it from 20 to 20, but we fizzled in the red zone," he said.
"Royal is a very good team. They have a great coaching staff, they're strong, athletic, fast. They're good, and we can't make mistakes like we did tonight."
Now 0-1 in league, Burbank faces rival Riverview next Friday.
Royal 32, Burbank 7
Royal 13 6 6 7 - 32
Burbank 0 0 7 0 - 7
Royal -Delay 1-yard run (Ledezma kick)
Royal - Myrick 1-yard run (kick failed)
Royal - Myrick 1-yard run (kick failed)
Royal - Spartveit 61-yard run (point conversion failed)
Burbank - Smith 28-yard pass from Lawrence (Barajas kick)
Royal - Delay 44-yard run (Ledezma kick)
First Downs 22 9
Rushes/Yards 39/381 37/156
Passing Yards 125 108
Passes (att-comp-int) 10-18-2 12-24-1
Punts 0-0 4-152
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 4-35 3-22
RUSHING - Royal: Delay 15-170 2 TD, Spartveit 7-114 3 TD, Myrick 8-100 2 TD, Ramirez 5-29, Ledezma 1-15, Quintero 1-6, Torres 1-6, Christensen 1-6. Burbank: Lawrence 5-(-14), Gordon 18-85, Dexter 2-7, Wattenburger 2-14, Idler 2-13, Tiffany 1-12, Hanshew 1-4, Long 1-4, Smith 1-13, McVicker 1-7.
RECEIVING - Royal: Spartveit 3-88, Ledezma 6-24, Dixon 1-11. Burbank: Garcia 8-67, Long 1-6, Ireland 1-4, Smith 2-31.