By Andrew Preimesberger
Palo Alto Online Sports
Gunn's football dream of reaching the Central Coast Section football playoffs for only the third time in school history came to a crashing halt on Friday night in a 25-13 loss to host Fremont in a SCVAL El Camino Division season finale.
"Honestly we had a great season," said Gunn running back Marcus Moreno-Ramos. "Everyone doubted us. We were those guys that were supposed to go 0-10 and we proved them wrong. I couldn't ask for anything more this year -- I love these guys."
The Titans (5-1, 7-3) needed a victory to earn the league's only automatic CCS berth. Instead, Gunn fell into a three-way tie for first place with Fremont (5-1, 8-2) and Monta Vista (5-1, 7-3) with Fremont likely getting the section berth based on tiebreakers over the Titans and Matadors.
Gunn finished with a pretty solid year, outscoring its opponents this season by a combined total of 255-186.
The Titans had trouble stopping the Firebirds' run game as they gave up 238 yards on the ground in the first half and 393 total.
"We just made a lot of mistakes," said Gunn coach Dan Navyarro. "We knew early on that we'd have trouble stopping the run, but the defense did the best they could. Turnovers also hurt us tonight, which we haven't had a lot of trouble with."
Fremont's Kennan Smith set the table early for the Firebirds and opened their second possession with a 90-yard burst down the sideline for a touchdown putting Fremont up 6-0 in the first quarter.
Gunn answered in the second quarter when junior running back Sean Lydster led the drive off with a 27-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 12-7. The Firebirds would strike back when junior quarterback Ricky Teo ran in for the one-yard quarterback keeper putting Fremont up 18-7 to end the first half.
In the fourth quarter Titans' senior quarterback Andre Guzman threw a perfect pass to tight end Wade Barry for a 52-yard touchdown to make it an 18-13 game with 6:23 left to play. On Gunn's next possession, Guzman threw a ball to wide receiver Kevin Sharp, who tipped it up into the air and into the hands of Teo for the interception. Guzman threw three interceptions in the game.
Teo would come through again for the offense with a clutch 17-yard dash down the sideline for a touchdown putting the Firebirds up 25-13 and sealing the win. Fremont ran all game long; 33 out of 35 plays in the second half were run plays from the Firebirds.
Fremont senior running back Joeseph De Los Santos had a big game, running for 198 yards on 31 carries. Smith rushed for 152 yards before leaving the game with an injury.
Lydster led Gunn on the ground with 100 yards on 15 carries while Guzman threw for 179 yards on 8-of-14 passing.
Palo Alto 56, Santa Clara 21
The Vikings secured either a share or outright title in the SCVAL De Anza Division for a fourth straight season with a solid triumph over host Santa Clara. Paly improved to 6-1 in league (8-2 overall) and earned an automatic berth into the CCS Open Division playoffs.
Junior quarterback Keller Chryst led the way with 303 passing yards and three touchdowns while completing 12-of-19 attempts. He also ran for a score. Senior wideout Jayshawn Gates-Mouton caught four passes for 156 yards and had touchdown receptions of 55 and 69 yards, in addition to having a standout defensive game with a pair of interceptions,
Sacred Heart Prep 31, Menlo School 28
Sacred Heart Prep erased a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit and rallied for a big victory over Menlo School in the annual Valparaiso Bowl on Friday night at Woodside High. SHP scored twice with less than 5 1/2 minutes to play.
The Gators improved to 9-1 after the nonleague win while the Knights dropped to 8-2. Menlo came into the game leading the CCS in scoring with 52 points a game while the Gators topped the section in defense, allowing just six points per contest.
Both teams are expected to compete in the Central Coast Section Division IV playoffs, with SHP a likely No. 1 or 2 seed.
Sacred Heart Prep trailed by 28-16 after Menlo's Jack Heneghan hooked up with Max Parker for an 11-yard touchdown. The Gators made it a 28-21 game when Andrew Segre scored on a three-yard run. After Patrick Tinsley recovered a fumble for SHP deep in Menlo territory, sophomore Ben Burr-Kirven finished off the short drive with a three-yard run for the winning points.
Heneghan threw for three touchdowns and ran in for a fourth to pace the Knights. Burr-Kirven scored on a seven-yard run and Derek Hunter returned an interception 35 yards to put SHP on top, 16-14, before the Knights pulled ahead behind Heneghan and appeared to be in good shape before the Gators rallied in the fourth quarter.
Heneghan completed 19-of-37 passes but also tossed two interceptions.
Menlo-Atherton 21, Woodside 10
Blake Olsen caught a pair of touchdown passes from Zack Moore in the second half to help rally Menlo-Atherton from a 10-point deficit at intermission and to a nonleague victory on Friday night in Atherton to cap the regular season.
Olsen got the Bears (6-4) on the board with a 19-yard scoring reception and put his team on top, 14-10, with a 24-yard TD reception. Moore wrapped up the victory with a one-yard run in the fourth quarter as the Bears gained some valuable momentum heading into the Central Coast Section Division I playoffs next weekend.