Changes have Titans feeling good | August 16, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - August 16, 2019

Changes have Titans feeling good

Gunn goes into season with higher expectations

by Glenn Reeves

Jason Miller goes into his second year as Gunn football coach feeling good about the gradual changes for the better the program has made. There are 50 players in total between the varsity and frosh-soph as opposed to 40 last year, and the players are gaining familiarity and growing more comfortable with the double-wing offensive system Miller has installed.

Aidan Everett, a standout on the Gunn baseball team, is taking over for Solomone Paletua at quarterback.

"Aidan had a fantastic summer, he was impressive throwing the ball in 7 on 7s,'' Miller said. "He didn't ask for it, didn't demand anything. He earned the team's respect.''

So the Titans might throw a little more than last year, when they only completed 20 passes all season.

"For us the quarterback is a different animal from traditional quarterbacks,'' Miller said. "But with Aidan, we'll meet him halfway.''

Richard Jackson, who showed promise last year as a sophomore fullback, rushing for 622 yards and 9.6 yards per carry, has moved to wingback where he will team with Philip Doan (452 yards, 9.2 per carry). Kylen Liu and Cory Hallada will also see time at wingback and receiver.

Miller is excited about the development of Eitan Smolyar (5-10, 205), who arrived at Gunn after moving from Israel prior to last season and is slated to start at fullback.

"When he showed up last year he didn't know anything about football,'' Miller said. "Now I think he has a chance to play DI. He played defensive line last year and just scrapped and competed real hard. He did a lot of work in the offseason and now he's the fastest player on the team and the strongest, pound for pound. He was in my class, a real smart kid with high level critical thinking.''

Ken Erlan (6-3, 240), who received some recruiting attention over the summer, will be a leader on the line along with Saia Faasisila (5-9, 238) and Sione Fisiiahi (6-3, 303). Jack Dellenbach returns at tight end and stood out on defense at cornerback over the summer.

"If I had an MVP over the summer it would've been Jack,'' Miller said.

Smolyar and Leo Ye (6-3, 230) are returning starters on the D-line. Evan Cole will play nose guard. Paul Lipp at cornerback and Liu at safety will join Dellenbach in the secondary.

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