While there have been few bright moments for the Gunn High football team this season, one of them came Thursday night when the Titans registered an 18-0 victory over host Cupertino in an SCVAL El Camino Division game.
For Gunn, the triumph was its first in league play and the shutout was its second of the season. And while it wasn't pretty, the win helped the Titans improve to 3-4 (1-3 in league) with a shot, perhaps, at a .500 season.
"I'm happy with the win," said Gunn coach Matt McGinn, "but, we need to play better on offense. We gave away too many opportunities."
McGinn was referring to plays like a 51-yard touchdown run by Nikko Jackson in the second quarter that was called back because of a holding penalty (that didn't impact the play), plus a 40- yard run by Josh Lee that put Gunn on the Pioneers' 10-yard line before the Titans' offense stalled.
In addition, Gunn was at Cupertino's 1-yard line before it let the clock run out to end the game. Thus, the final score could have been closer to the 27-0 shutout of San Mateo last month.
Perhaps fortunately for Gunn, all those negative moments came after the Titans opened up an 18-0 lead midway in the second quarter.
Nate Burpee got things rolling when, on a halfback option pass, he connected with Spencer Sturken for a 19-yard score. The Titans added a second touchdown in the first quarter when Burpee carried the ball in from 14 yards out.
Gunn's final score came midway in the second quarter when starting quarterback Stephen Strnad connected with tight end Kyle Einfalt on an 11-yard touchdown.
Unlike a week ago when Gunn gave up 31 points to Fremont, the Titans' defense was better and more timely. Cupertino had a few drives, but they were snuffed out by fumbles and interceptions by Sturken and David Marson.
The winless Pioneers got inside Gunn's 30-yard line twice in the fourth quarter, but were denied both times. With five minutes to go, Gunn's Efren Tabalno sacked Cupertino's quarterback and brother A.J. Talbano recovered. With two minutes to go Efren Tabalno was at it again when he produced another QB sack on fourth down.
Gunn will host Homestead next Friday at 7 p.m., before traveling to Saratoga on Nov. 2 and then hosting Palo Alto on Nov. 9 to close the season.