Gunn senior running back Nozo Imanaka burst through the line on fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter and outran the San Mateo secondary for a 31-yard game-knotting touchdown.
With 2:48 left in the fourth, however, San Mateo’s Watson Filikitonga iced the Titans with a 22-yard burst to give the Bearcats the win.
Gunn played San Mateo even for 43 minutes as Imanaka and fellow seniors Noah Riley (QB), Bubba Larson (RB) and Jared Bibo (RB) kept the game close with an arsenal of moves, jukes, sticks and grit. Larson scored on a 40-yard run to tie the game in the first period and Imanaka added a 21-yard scoring run in the second quarter.
“Our guys made a tremendous effort,” Gunn coach Shinichi Hirano said. “We had 18 guys battling, and they kept battling. They showed a lot of heart”
Other standout Gunn players included Fred Li, Jonah Wager, Etiene Daadi, Dietrich Sweat, sophomore interior lineman Andy Maltz and clutch receiver Sharod Miller.
“This was the best game we’ve seen in two years” said parent, and former player Matt Maltz, who also coaches softball at Gunn.
Gunn hosts Carlmont this Friday in a nonleague game that will serve as a celebration for Gunn’s 50th year of football.
and this is how I wrote it:
San Mateo 27, Gunn 20
at Gunn, Friday night, September 5, 2014
Titans tilted in classy grid clash
By Sphinx Fitzwater II
When Gunn senior running back Nozo Imanaka burst threw the line on fourth and 1 in the fourth quarter and outran the San Mateo secondary for a 31 yard game-knotting touchdown Friday, it reminded some of John Riggins famous gallop in the 1984 Super Bowl. Classy and iconic it seemed to portend happy days for the more typically hapless Titans, who for 43 minutes matched the Bearcats. Moments before, Bearcats co-captain Line Latu uncorked a twisting and traversing run reminiscent of Steve Young against the 1988 Vikings (NFL, not Hod Ray types); the Titans were out-archetyped more than out-played. With 2:48 left in the fourth, however, San Mateo’s Watson Filikitonga (rhymes with Csonka) iced the Titans with a 22-yard burst to give the scoreboard it’s final tally of 27-20 for the visitors.
Imanaka and fellow seniors Noah Riley (QB), Bubba Larson (RB) and Jared Bibo (RB) kept the game close with an arsenal of moves, jukes, sticks and grit.
“Our guys made a tremendous effort” Gunn coach Shinichi Hirano said. “We had 18 guys battling, and they kept battling. They showed a lot of heart”
There was a sequence in the fourth quarter where Gunn appeared to score a touchdown in the east end zone but the referees called them on downs, and then Gunn players felt they had pinned the Bearcats for a safety. But coach Hirano said in a post-game interview that the officiating was less significant than a failure to execute and that, in the end “we ran out of gas”.
Other standout players included Fred Li, Jonah Wager, Etiene Daadi, Dietrich Sweat, sophomore interior lineman Andy Maltz and clutch receiver Sharrod Miller.
Gunn hosts Carlmont next week and the “Friday Night Lights” atmosphere should continue as Gunn alumni are organizing a 50-year 50-class reunion around the game.
“This was the best game we’ve seen in two years” said parent, and former player Matt Maltz, who also coaches softball and snapped some photos of the game.
Gunn scoring table:
Larson 40-yard run to make it 6-6 in 1Q (Riley kick)
Imanaki 21-yard run to make it 13-13 in 2Q (kick failed)
Imanaki 31-yard run, to make it 19-20 in 4Q(Riley kick)
Austin Perez played well for Jeff Scheller’s team.
— Palo Alto Online Sports
edit to add: I ran into former 49er stalwart Harris Barton at both Palo Alto farmer’s markets the other day and gave him the elevator pitch about my views on Democracy and citizen engagement.
I am meaning to write about a blog post and potential non-item for SF Chron Gossip Columnist Leah Garchik, the new Herb Caenchik, about Akira Tana the jazz musician and former quarterback for a Gunn SPAL championship team, circa 1970, and the fact that he went to Japan recently and raised money playing jazz for disaster relief and has a new album and new instinctively or thru learning lifelong when I prompted him but did not give it away on how to pronounce the name of the guy from Star Trek, George Takai and deserves a mention for the football-jazz nexus as much as anyone, certainly as much as Eric Hartland of SFJazz fame. No dissin’ Eric, we just sayin’. And is it coincidence or what that Gunn has a Japanese coach and star player today, Nozo and Hirano, questions Mark. Sensei?
outro, Matt Maltz, my 8th grade teammate, photo of Jared Bibo, son of Phil Bibo, of the Franciscan Glass Bibo’s, our classmate at Gunn and maybe Matt’s teammate:
edit to add, three weeks later: when I finally introduced myself again to Phil Bibo, father of current Titan Jared Bibo (30), he clarified that although he was classmate to both me and Matt Maltz for six years at Terman and Gunn, he was never a teammate, in that he played golf not football or tennis or water polo or hoops. And in the exact moment, after 32, and four games, that I sat with Phil, his son took a kick return 90 yards for a TD. Pretty cool, timing wise! And he came out as a landsman to boot, and told me about Bibo, New Mexico, land of enchantment indeedy.