Gunn defensive end Denzel Davis stands all of 5-foot-7, weighing 155 pounds. Davis proved it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog, helping the Titans roll past visiting Andrew Hill 35-7 Friday evening in a nonleague football game.
Gunn coach Jason Miller, in his fourth season, said the tenacious Davis has "come a long way."
"Davis was the last player to get into the game in the spring season," said Miller, whose Titans are 2-1. "He hit a growth and maturity spurt. He has been the biggest surprise of the team."
Davis was adept tackling one-on-one on the edge, showing off excellent closing speed.
"I had two guys way bigger than me lined up against me," Davis said. "I knew I had to break through both of them. I had to rush with confidence. I knew they were getting tired so I had to keep it up. I was flying to the ball."
The Titans' double-wing formation was steady throughout, producing two 100-yard rushers. Wingback Kevin Green gained 142 yards on 17 attempts, scoring on runs of 3 and 35 yards. Green caught both of quarterback James Lambert's completions, resulting in touchdown receptions of 48 and 25 yards.
Wingback Filippi Montes finished with 122 yards on nine carries. Montes exhibited blazing speed right before halftime, taking a double-reverse around left end for a 68-yard touchdown with 25.6 seconds on the clock. The ball first went to Green, who handed it off to Montes. In last week's win over Sequoia, Montes scored in similar fashion.
"It was a 45-reverse," Montes said. "We, totally, practice that play. I like to see the confusion on their faces when they see who has the ball. That was the biggest touchdown I've had since I was a sophomore."
The Falcons (0-2) have a dual-threat quarterback in Anthony Martinez, who had a trio of fine receivers to work with in Daniel Tham, Amari Sims and Edward Gutierrez.
"Their quarterback has a nice touch on the ball you don't see in high school," said Miller of Martinez. "And he's a scrambler."
Martinez, from his own 4-yard line following a Gunn punt, broke off a 60-yard run to dramatically improve field position. Martinez scored the Falcons' lone touchdown on a 21-yard option-keep up the middle early in the second quarter. Luis Garcia's conversion boot gave the Falcons a 7-6 edge.
Hill was threatening to pad its lead after a 42-yard reception by Pham placed the ball at the Gunn 10-yard line.
Three plays later, Gunn defensive back Noah Panousis knocked away a potential touchdown pass. On the ensuing play, Panousis made a leaping interception in the end zone, turning the tide for good.
"We call Noah, 'Prime-Time Panousis,'" Miller said. "He's Deion Sanders for us. He looked like Deion Sanders out there."
Gunn had one turnover, a fumble recovered by Hill's Lovante Metcalfe. As for the Titans' defense, it swarmed as a unit, with Green, Davis and Bradley Phan paving the way.
"We were resilient,” said Miller of his team. “We had some errors early and our guys refused to give up. They kept fighting and believing in what we teach. Eventually, we broke the dam."