Gunn football rode four electrifying touchdowns from receiver Guy Kasznik (#81) and running back Nozo Imanaka (#21) to defeat a pesky Lynbrook team Friday night in South-West Palo Alto, 28-19.
Kasznik hauled in Noah Riley tosses of 45, 56 and 74 yards, reminiscent of John Chovanec against Santa Clara a then-record SCVAL 227 yards in 1981. An Imanacka ground blast, on a fourth-down red-zone play sealed the win in the fourth quarter.
An oddity or omen, depending on your spiritual ilk or knowledge of Farmer’s Physics is a stadium power outage that seemed queerly timed to the third Kasznik trot, that stopped action for nearly 30 minutes. Wags joked that the event was a deliberate ground-rule maneuver to give the Titans, eight of whom perform two-way, time to suck air.
Coach Shinichi Hirano was elated after the game. Well, I think I noticed a smile.
(Insert Gordon Kass quotes here, courtesy of Palo Alto Daily News, a branch of the San Jose Mercury but not a Knight Ridder paper, nor even close).
And do note here, since this is an arts column and obsessed with post-modernisms and meta-issues, that Palo Alto Weekly did not send a reporter to the Gunn tilt, which was also homecoming and attended by nearly 1,000 fans, although they did send Keith Peters and his camera to Castilleja ladies water polo earlier in the week. Enough, aldrete!
Kasznik, also reputed to be a fine association rules and athletics man (soccer and track for you plebians and web-surfers), is finding a fine form in the second half of the campaign, after missing the first several games; he injured his back attending a Buddy Teevans football camp in Hanover, New Hampshire in July; speculators, recruiters, touts and gossips say that guy is a fine student, the son of a Stanford GSB statistics professor and is hoping to catch on at either Dartmouth or Brown, of the Ancient Eight.
Meanwhile, newby PAUSD prexy, a Dartmouth man himself Glenn Bill “Max” McGee (but not the Packers Super Bowl hero) was seen leading the cheering section for the 650s. McGee although well-groomed also expressed interest in checking out a barbershop in Midtown where homeboys of actual Packer receiver (and Paly grad) Davante Adams cut heads wearing a Green-and-yellow NFL replica jersey. The cut is $20 — yours truly, Sphinx Fitzwater for Plastic Alto and maybe those fucks at the Weekly, excuse the French, rocks one — but if you say “make mine a cheese-head like ‘Vant'” it is a sawbuck –fittingly, that — or if you are Mike Cobb a former mayor whose office is nearby, as is that of Roger Kohler the commissioner, it is free, or pre-paid by an anonymous “agitator”.
Other standouts for the Titans this season, and I, for the first time in 30 years have seen all seven clashes, include: Dietrich Sweat (#42), Andrew Maltz (#74), Max Chiew (#25) Jarrod Bibo (#30 although he missed last night’s game with a pre-existing condition), Fred Li (#50), Jonah Weger (#55 I think, although I am pretty weak on the interior line play, but first Matt Maltz and then Shinichi Hirano and Gordon Kass noticed and affirmed that one of the keys to success against Lynbrook was an imbalanced line, especially in the second half, putting more men on one side of the center than the other, especially as Lynbrook “had 9 or 10 men in the box”, “our version I mean your version of the old USC ‘student body right’ right?” I suggested; Hirano also stated that on defense he stopped blitzing and had his guys react to play not try to force it, prudent but wining strategy), number eleven (#11) a mid-season bolster, whose name I didn’t quite catch, a Pacific catch, you might say, I will add at bottom, made a stick or sack at a crucial juncture, somewhere around 6-feet 190 or 10-stone; Sharod Miller (#80, but injured Friday — The Titans suited 18 and 15 got in the game, and that after promoting a couple frosh-soph guys mid-season after losing to a cracked fibula lower leg bone Forrest “Bubba” Larson number 15); Rothstein of the Barron Park by way of Long Island Rothsteins — but not the Black Sox Rothsteins, a promising sophomore linebacker lost to a broken hand and delicate screw insertion procedure; Schuler Son the punter, who is somewhere between Guy and Ray Guy; Etienne Daadi (somewhere in the 20s) — okay, that’s 12 of the 18.
I wrote above that Gunn Titans have to be the best 965th ranked team in the nation. I would venture they are the best 1-7 team in the CCS, maybe all-time.
I asked Coach Hirano the prospects of running the table with Mountain View and Los Altos — traditional Gunn SCVAL rivalries, all relegated to the cushier “El Camino” tract — and he wouldn’t make any Joe Namath-type predictions but something in his eyes have me believing that these lads, having tasted blood might put it all together in stretches of 48-minutes, as compared to 46- or 45-minutes like against Carlmont and Prospect and pull another W out of the crisp fall night air. Or is their a day game coming?
Somewhere in this chronicle I hope to quote from and not just shout out to Steve Almond a successor of mine at helm of the Gunn Oracle and his anti-football tome. I nearly procured a paper back copy of Bill Walsh “Genius” but want to verify that I don’t already owned a signed copy hard. I saw “When the Game Stood Tall” twice which is what launched this odyssey, and my inner Chris Ryan. (I have the Neil Hayes book version and only got far enough to affirm that “Chris Ryan” is a white-version of Maurice Jones Drew whereas MJD in the movie plays a cameo of himself and ghost-of-touchdowns future). The Hollywood version of “Eighteen Angry Men” would definitely have a Greg Barber character, the old sage on the sidelines suggesting tweaks for the skill positions.
Gunn is 1 and 7 but I would bet these young men and their families are strutting around town this weekend and next week as if they are 4 and 3.
I broke one of my rules in that, although I didn’t campaign, I said hello to Maltz as he stood by me on the sidelines. “Andrew, I am a friend of your fathers; we met at the supermarket, (the 15-year old and the 48-year-old, I had met the dad in sixth grade at Fremont Hills) Your dad and I played side-by-side at Terman, he at guard me at tackle (I gestured with my forearms). Andrew struck out a gloved hand, shook mine and then said “Excuse me” and ran onto the field for the extra point, good by Riley, an even 21 after the lights re-ignited.
I tried a similar thing to Jarrod Bibo and confirmed that that was father (Another Gunn ’82, on the golf team) and Gramma last week at Homestead. I told Rothstein who was making himself useful as a ball boy, to say encouraging things to his teammates, to help pull out the win. At a certain point, at the end of the halftime and float festivities, a lady asked me, looking pseudo-official with a gunn but not CCS field pass, to ask the P.A. announcer to thank a woman volunteer for “17 years as a chain-carrier” and they did, thanks to a young Master Kaplan I think was his name. I also spoke to that Eleven and said “good play, Titan”. Heretofore for seven weeks, beyond what trivial or chaotic effect I might have had checking in with Hirano win or lose each week, I had tried to thwart The Observor Effect, I did not want writing about the game or season to influence the outcome. There is no cheering in the press box, Rick LaPlante told me, in 1984 and I honored that outside of a few “fuck”s and “shit”s muttered and then half-swallowed and maybe one or two fewer “yes!” under my breath. And I did high-five Mr. Riley after the first Riley-to-Kascnik, after another man did. (It took me seven weeks to match Noah and his dad to David Riley, class of 2006 a tall basketball guard who, as I recalled, apocryphal or not I saw go 10-for-10 and with a silky touch. His dad said he is now enshrined as an all-time great at Whitworth of Spokane, which is a Christian school to boot).
I also asked Dr. Kasznik (he of the gratuitous yud) if I could run his photos of any action under this banner and explained in more detail my “Monroe Trout…David T. McLaughlin” riff.
I also wrote and then deleted a letter to the universe suggesting math teacher and Princeton grad Chris Redfield, who won more than 100 games AND A CHAMPIONSHIP, IN 2009, 28 YEARS AFTER WE DID in six seasons in Bob Bow Gym would be the next Superintendent if Max maxes out. He said math, father of four and golf is plenty on his plate. I introduced him to Matt Maltz, little schmoozer weaver that I am, and wished him well in CCS for his ladies, including Anna Zhou who is bound for Harvard.
Rumor is that Pizza Chicago served 18 portions post game of a special pie sprinkled with Eagle and Spartan. Such are the stuff of South Palo Alto dreams. Isn’t it pretty to think so. Or, I say boom boom you say: OUT GO THE LIGHTS.
And then outro to not Madness “Our House” but Rancid “Time Bomb”.
Eighteen Angry Men or Fine Young Cannibals: