The last time the Gunn High School football team won its first three games of the season its current players were in diapers. Many weren’t born. Gunn is 3-0 for the first time in 17 years after overcoming a slow start and then steamrolling visiting Yerba Buena, 65-12.
The Titans struggled early with Yerba Buena (1-1). The Aztec Warriors tied the score 12-12 with 1:28 left in the first half. But Eitan Smolyar ran 64 yards on the next play and one minute later Richard Jackson intercepted a pass and took it 70 yards for another touchdown. Phillip Doan’s two point conversion run gave Gunn a 26-12 lead at the break and momentum that continued to grow.
“We struggled in the first half,” said Gunn coach Jason Miller. “Yerba Buena was more physical than the other teams we played. We challenged the players at half time to step it up.”
Two fortuitous plays early in the third quarter put the game out of reach. Yerba Buena attempted to open the quarter with an onside kick that did not go 10 yards. Gunn took over at the YB 39 and in three plays scored on Cory Hallada’s 21 yard run.
The ensuing Gunn kick-off ricocheted off one of YB’s upfront returners and bounced into Evan Cole’s hands. Gunn then went 50 yards in six plays, capped by a one-yard plunge by Aidan Everett. It was 40-12 Gunn and the Titans weren’t through. They scored three more touchdowns over the next five minutes to start the clock running at the 3:50 mark of the third quarter.
Gunn scored 46 points in the 9:40 spanning the end of the half to under four minutes left in the third and did it on 14 plays. Gunn ran two plays in the fourth quarter, the last was a 28-yard touchdown run by Kylen Liu.
Much of the offensive damage was done by Smolyar, who scored four touchdowns on runs of 21, 64, 62 and 17 yards. The senior fullback finished with 184 yards on 7 carries.
As a team the Titans rushed for 358 yards on 27 carries. Everett only passed three times, but his two completions both went for touchdowns. On the season Everett has completed seven passes with six for touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the defense became stout in the second half. After allowing 138 yards on the ground in the first half, Gunn pushed YB to minus-15 yards of offense in the second half and denied YB any first downs.
“Our lines on both sides of the ball are the strengths of our team,” Miller said. “They don’t get pushed around like they used to be. We haven’t punted all year and that’s a credit to our line and our quarterback (Aidan Everett) for not making mistakes.”
Gunn plays its first road game and final preseason game next week against Marina. Marina (0-2), lost Friday to James Lick, 39-0, a team Gunn beat 42-0 last week.