Gunn takes a big step toward reaching its goal
Publication Date: Wednesday Oct 30, 1996

PREP FOOTBALL: Gunn takes a big step toward reaching its goal

Carson's 237 yards rushing plus an outstanding defensive

effort in 25-0 win over Lynbrook moves Titans closer to .500

by Craig Wentz

The Gunn High football team can erase 25 years of frustration by winning two of its final three games. That would give the Titans their first winning season since 1971. For Gunn to achieve that goal, its defense and the legs of tailback Brian Carson must continue to perform like they did last weekend.

Both Carson and the defense played significant roles as the Titans got back on the winning track by chilling Lynbrook, 25-0, on a frigid and windy evening last Friday at Cupertino High. The victory puts the Titans' record at 2-2 in the SCVAL El Camino Division (3-4 overall).

Gunn, which needs to win two of its final three games in order to finish 5-4, should reach the .500 plateau Friday when it plays host to Santa Clara (1-2, 1-6) at 2:45 p.m.

Defense, once again, will be the focus this week--as it was in the week leading up to the Lynbrook encounter. Gunn coach Michael Johnson rolled the dice and spent 80 percent of his practice time concentrating on defense, knowing that his team would tally some points on a suspect Lynbrook defense. Johnson's hunch was correct.

"We went four days of defense in practice last week and even hit on Thursday," said Johnson, who is not afraid to take chances. "Defense was our main priority against Lynbrook."

Even though the defense posted its second shutout of the season and yielded just 259 yards of total offense--most of it after the game already was decided--Carson's speed proved to be the difference.

Carson ran for a career-best 237 yards on 18 carries and scored on jaunts of 72 and 20 yards, not to mention a game-clinching 52-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. But what made Friday night so special for Carson was that he gained his yards without starting offensive linemen Casey Burkhart and Tim Snyder blocking for him.

Burkhart and Snyder, lost for the season due to injuries, anchored the left side of the offensive line for the Titans. So, against Lynbrook, Carson went right--using his blazing speed once he hit the open field against the slower Vikings. Carson averaged 12 yards per carry. . When Carson runs for big yardage, the Titans win. In Gunn's three victories this season, Carson has averaged 162 yards rushing per game. When the Titans lose, Carson averages just 72 yards per game.

Tight end/linebacker Brent Bower also was a major factor in the win over Lynbrook. He successfully completed the two main assignments given to him by Johnson. On offense, Bower blocked the outside linebacker to free Carson on the outside. On defense, Bower kept the Lynbrook tight end off the line of scrimmage.

"Coach Johnson went with defense tonight and I feel we are coming together defensively," said the 6-2, 205-pound Bower, whose first quarter interception set up Gunn's initial score. "But we will have to eliminate penalties in order to reach our goal of a .500 season."

Beau Williams, Gunn's two-way standout, did not play agaianst Lynbrook because of a knee injury and is listed as questionable against Santa Clara. But as long as defensive coordinator Jeff Remington and his defense can keep opponents out of the end zone and Carson can continue to run wild, Gunn will make a strong run for that elusive winning season.

"It would really be something if we reach .500," Bower said. "The coaches and players get along very well and we have the talent to win at least two more games."

Following Friday's matchup with Santa Clara, Gunn will travel to play at Cupertino, then take on Palo Alto on Nov. 15 at Foothill College in the season finale. 

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