With the passing attack back on track, the Los Altos High football team dispatched Gunn 41-27 Saturday to remain in the race for the SCVAL El Camino Division title.
Quarterback Lambie Lanman completed 16 of 22 passes, setting season-highs for yards (309) and touchdown tosses (three). Wideouts Victor Ruiz and Patrick McColl tormented the Titans, each scoring on long passes and surpassing 100 yards receiving.
“It’s nice to see our pass game where it should be,” coach Trevor Pruitt said.
The week before, the Eagles mustered only 131 yards in the air and suffered their first loss of the season, 42-24 at Homestead.
“We looked at that tape and decided we needed to bounce back this week, and that’s what we did,” said Lanman, who also ran for a touchdown Saturday. “We schemed a lot, watched a lot of film, strategized and put in a lot of extra practice.”
It showed on Los Altos’ initial drive. Lanman completed his first two passes – the latter a short throw that running back Sean Lanoza turned into a 45-yard gain – and was 4-of-5 by the time the Eagles reached Gunn’s 3-yard line. But Los Altos went backward from there. Lanoza was stuffed for back-to-back losses and Lanman took a sack on third down, leading to a 35-yard field goal from Matt Schroner.
The kick cut into the early lead by the Titans, who scored a touchdown on the game’s opening series. They marched 65 yards in nine plays – eight of them runs – and breached the end zone on Noah Riley’s 1-yard keeper.
Gunn responded to the Eagles’ field goal with another touchdown – a 43-yard pass from Riley to receiver Guy Kasznik. Ofisa Pati blocked the extra-point try, leaving the Titans with a 13-3 advantage with 10:03 left in the half.
Their lead didn’t last long. Los Altos tallied three touchdowns within the next five minutes.
The scoring barrage began with Lanman’s 35-yard touchdown pass to McColl, set up by Ben Roach’s 65-yard kickoff return a play earlier.
After the defense held Gunn to a three-and-out series, the Eagles needed two plays to take the lead. Lanman connected with Ruiz for a 77-yard touchdown on a pass that the receiver tipped before hauling in at midfield. Ruiz outran the defense from there.
Schroner’s PAT made it 17-13.
The Los Altos defense extended that advantage on the next play from scrimmage. McColl sacked Riley at Gunn’s 20 and the ball popped loose. Pati picked it up and rumbled into the end zone.
McColl put an end to the Titans’ next two possessions as well. He recovered a fumble in the backfield and intercepted a pass in the final seconds of the half with Los Altos still leading 24-13.
“He’s a big-time player,” Pruitt said of McColl, who made a game-high seven catches.
The Eagles, who didn’t punt in the game, scored on three of their four second-half possessions.
Lanman capped an 11-play, 68-yard drive to start the third quarter with a quick pass to Ruiz, who dodged defenders and lunged into the end zone on the 11-yard play.
After another Riley interception – nabbed by Lanoza – Los Altos took over near midfield and scored seven plays later on Lanman’s 5-yard scramble. The PAT gave the Eagles their biggest advantage at 38-13 with 1:14 left in the third quarter.
Late in the fourth, Schroner booted a 39-yard field goal.
The win evened Los Altos’ record at 1-1 in league (6-1 overall) and enhanced the importance of Friday’s 3:30 p.m. home game against Monta Vista (3-0, 5-2).
“It’s going to be like a playoff game,” Ruiz said. “We have to fight our hardest and play to the best of our ability.”
2013 football: Los Altos High School v. Gunn High School - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier