Gunn football chasing first win

Gunn footballers also known as "14 Angry Men" console themselves after tough loss Friday

Gunn footballers also known as “14 Angry Men” console themselves after tough loss Friday

Gunn dropped a 35-28 decision at Prospect of Saratoga Friday, its four straight defeat.
Coach Shinichi Hirano’s Titans are continuing to remind me of “The Seven Samurai” from the famous Japanese movie about a small group of fighters trying to defend a village against a powerful group of brigands (bad guys). The Titans lost two players to injury, sophomore linebacker Sam Rothstein (hand surgery) and senior back Forrest “Bubba” Larson (possible broken tibia, his leg). They finished Friday’s tilt, which went down to the wire, with only 14 players. Okay, in the Kurosawa film of 1954, there are 7 Samurai but only three survive. For Gunn football, the intrigue is can they garner a win before injuries become insurmountable.

I’ve watch four straight Gunn games, three of which were closely fought. I don’t believe I had ever seen four straight games, two home and two away, ever, in 40 years of living in this community. Even as a Gunn student –and sports editor of the Oracle – I doubt I saw four games in a row. My senior year I skipped Gunn games to go on assignment for the Peninsula Times Tribune – I distinctly remember that the night I covered a 55-0 Carlmont over Mills game, Gunn beat Santa Clara as Chris Strausser to John Chovanec accounted for 227 yards, a league record.

I will update this with more from my notes and my interview with Shinichi. For now here are some random photos.

The highlight was Jared Bibo’s 90 yard touchdown return, on a kickoff. Phil Bibo, Jared’s dad, said it was his first score of the season. Moments earlier I had greeted Phil, my classmate at Terman and Gunn, 1978 – 1982, for the first time in years. I pounded his back somewhat vigorously as his lad romped up the near sideline and left the Panthers in the dust.

Nozo Imanaka, despite struggling with cramps in his legs, reeled off an electrifying long touchdown run, his fifth this season of 20 yards of more. But Gunn clearly felt his absence in the fourth quarter, on defense, as the Panthers worked the clock and ate up the field to break a tie and revenge a defeat from the previous season. Nozo is normally one of the eight Titans who go 2-ways, while 10 others had been working in shifts. Hirano praised the play of Max Chiew who scored a TD and picked up some of the slack of Larson and Imanaka.

Another player I would highlight for Gunn is sophomore nose guard Drew Maltz, and not just because his father Matt Maltz was my teammate for the 8th grade A-team at Terman, or that I knew his mother Jamie Sparaco before Matt did, or that I chatted with Jamie’s father, a retired Palo Alto police officer who was also a stalwart footballer at San Jose High back in the 19(50s, for the first time Friday, for most of the pre-game warm-ups. Drew looked to dominate his opposite number for most of the game; in fact that Titans seemed to dominate line play before the attrition and fatigue combined to yield just enough to lose.

There is some solace, going in to league play, that you could say that as measured by aggregate scoring Gunn is having a finer season than the Paly Vikings. When Gunn lost to Branham by 35, Paly lost to Mitty by 41. When Gunn lost to Prospect by 7, Paly lost to Palma by 30. (And by the way I met Eli Givens’ mom, a red-head who told me that she went to Gunn a few years after me, but sent her boy to Paly; meanwhile Mrs. Larson, Bubba’s mom, before responding to the page from PAMF, said she is from Kansas but is married to Brock Larson, who either went to Gunn a few years ahead of me, or is our age and went to Paly).

I also had a nice chat with Mr. Sweat, his son Dietrich Sweat had another stellar game, at tight end and inside linebacker. He says his son is starting to think about how football might impact his college strategy; off the top of my head I think the young man might look into, for varying reasons: Dartmouth, Hamilton, Wesleyan, NYU. Something about this family makes me think Buddy Teevans would back his application. (There is a sibling at BYU, father reports). Sweat made a nice catch and run in the second half that went for a long game but maybe should have stood as a touchdown. The refs called him out of bounds but something about that reminded me of the lady in the Panthers’ concession who told me that the rotten Polish sausage they sold me was actually a smoked sausage that got snuck in the mix. Politics may be, as von Bismarck said, like making sausages but football should be football and they should give the game the benefit of the doubt and Dietrich’s romp should have gone the distance.

Gunn coach Shinichi Hirano likes his prospects for league play despite a win-less start to season; his Titans have stayed within a touchdown of winning in three of four starts.

Gunn coach Shinichi Hirano likes his prospects for league play despite a win-less start to season; his Titans have stayed within a touchdown of winning in three of four starts.

from Prep2Prep/MaxPreps/Mercury/DailyNews/PAWeeklyonline:
Gunn 14 7 0 7 — 28
Prospect 6 15 7 7 — 35
Gunn — Bibo 90 punt return (Riley kick)
Prospect — Pollard 55 pass from Adams (Kick failed)
Gunn — Paletua 1 run (Riley kick)
Gunn — Imanaka 55 run (Riley kick)
Prospect — Adams 2 run (Avdagic kick)
Prospect — Sainz 3 run (Jones pass from Adams)
Prospect — Pollard 8 pass from Adams (Avdagic kick)
Gunn — Chiew 3 run (Riley kick)
Prospect — Pollard 8 pass from Adams (Avdagic kick)

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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