Galileo running back Yarvell Smith stiff-arms a would-be Mission tackler during AAA title game in 2017. (Robert Schnitzer / Courtesy)

Galileo pounds Burton Pumas in league opener

BURTON HIGH SCHOOL — The Academic Athletic Association boasts its strongest crop of football teams in ages, but on Saturday, reigning state champion Galileo dealt a firm blow to one upstart challenger. The host Burton Pumas came in undefeated, but left with a firm reminder of why the Lions are defending state champions, as Galileo pulled away for a 44-8 win in the league opener for both teams.

As much as teams can prepare for Ronald Fox and Yarvell Smith, they’re only two of Galileo’s “Big Five,” and with so many weapons, the Lions left little doubt, finishing the game with a running clock.

Two of the lesser-known members of that quintet, Michael Duran and Jimmie Edwards III, had huge games, with Duran running for a 61-yard touchdown on Galileo’s first play from scrimmage and Edwards catching a pair of touchdowns, and running for 57 yards on the day.

“We’re the big five for a reason,” said Edwards. “We’re all dogs. We come to compete.”

Of course, Smith and Fox got their fill as well. Smith, the reigning AAA Player of the Year, picked up 117 yards on just six carries, including a 55-yard dash to the end zone.

Burton (4-1, 0-1 AAA) answered Duran’s touchdown with a 17-yard pass from Alfonzo Smith to Cary Kuang, but it was the only time the Pumas would score on the day. Galileo (4-1, 1-0) took the lead for good two minutes into the second quarter, as Fox broke free from the pocket on fourth down and scrambled before finding a wide-open Edwards in the end zone for a 38-yard score.

With just over a minute remaining in the half, Fox scrambled and found Edwards again, this time completing the pass to the 17, with Edwards putting on a few shifty moves to get to the end zone to complete the 35-yard score.

Fox punched in a one-yard touchdown in the third quarter and then became one of the rare quarterbacks to score on a pick six for the final score. With fourth-and-one at the 4-yard line, the Pumas attempted a little pop pass, which hit off a helmet at the line and landed in Fox’s hands, and the do-it-all senior took it 97 yards untouched to open up a 36-point lead and start a running clock.

The final member of the Big Five, Reese Bickart, hardly touched the ball on offense, but picked up a fumble recovery for good measure.

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