Gunn’s power running game pounded another opponent Friday, piling up 395 yards on 39 carries in a 44-6 football win over Cupertino.
Ten yards a carry, the equivalent of picking up a first down every time you call a running play, will do wonders for a team’s win-loss record. And all the more remarkable, Friday’s performance was no aberration. The Titans went into the game averaging 10.5 yards per carry -- on the season.
Everybody knows what’s coming out of Gunn’s double-wing offense, but nobody can stop it.
“You can’t replicate it in practice,’’ Cupertino coach Chris Oswald said. “A good power run game goes a long way. I watched them cut Saratoga in half. I’ve watched five or six of their games. Nobody wants any part of it.’’
The once-woeful Titans are now 8-1 and with a win next Friday at Homestead will capture the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League El Camino Division championship.
Call them the Bullies of the El Camino.
The Gunn running game has been potent ever since it was installed by Jason Miller, who was hired prior to the 2018 season. But after going 4-6 in Miller’s first year, the big difference this season has been on the defensive end. Gunn has held four opponents to single-digit scoring and is allowing an average of 17 points per game, compared to almost 38 points per game last year.
“The guys play together, love each other,’’ Miller said. “They put in a hellacious amount of work in the off-season to get better on defense.’’
One note of concern on a night of mostly all positives was the knee injury suffered by standout lineman Kent Erlan.
Cupertino (3-6, 2-3), playing without its starting quarterback, scored a touchdown with 1:08 left to break up Gunn’s bid for a shutout.
Gunn fullback Eitan Smolyar rushed for 123 yards, two touchdowns (on runs of 48 and 36 yards), a two-point conversion and brought his season rushing total past the 1,300-yard mark. Wingback Phillip Doan had a team-high 133 yards rushing bolstered by a 70-yard run for a touchdown. Richard Jackson added 96 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns.
Cory Hallada scored Gunn’s sixth touchdown on a 4-yard run. Quarterback Aidan Everett completed 5 of 7 passes for another 98 yards as the Titans had 493 yards of total offense. Jack Dellenbach was on the receiving of three of Everett’s completions for 66 yards.
Smolyar, Neil Hanson and Evan Cole recorded sacks for a defensive unit that has made a big difference in Gunn’s football fortunes.
“It’s 180 degrees from last year,’’ Miller said. “That’s the difference and why we’re playing for a league championship. If we get stops, we’re hard to beat.’’