Just like Hudson Alexander's rushing totals, the Gunn High football team turned a negative into a positive. The Titans ended a seven-game losing streak, beating visiting James Lick 49-27 in a nonleague game Friday night.
The negative vibe started Monday morning when Tony Kelly resigned as head football coach for health reasons that Gunn Athletic Director Curt Johansen didn't much care to discuss.
Interim coach Brandon Boyd acknowledged the week started poorly with "the bad news that we lost a coach."
Boyd, in his first game as a varsity head coach, said it took a day or two to start pulling the team back together.
"Situations are going to happen in life and you can only do what you can control," Boyd said.
He pointed to senior leaders such as Alexander and DJ Barnes, who helped turn the tide the rest of the way.
"Between them, they got the guys pumped up," he said.
The negative static seemed to hover around for nearly the entire first half, or until Barnes grabbed a sure interception out of a taller James Lick's defender's hands for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone during the final two minutes of the second quarter.
Afterward, the abundance of positive neutrons washed away those bad feelings and Gunn dominated the rest of the contest.
"The combination of Alexander and Barnes can be lethal," said Boyd, a Palo Alto grad who coached the Gunn JVs last year.
Here's what the connection meant: nine receptions, 176 yards and a pair of touchdowns. They also connected on three two-point conversions and Barnes added a 57-yard punt return for a score. In all, the senior receiver scored 24 points.
Alexander, who was limited to a minus-18 rushing yards in the first half, finished with 41 yards, including a nifty piece of running 19 yards for a score. In all, he was responsible for six touchdowns.
In addition to the pair of TDs he threw Barnes, Alexander added scoring tosses of six yards to Craig Ching, 18 yards to Leemaster Howard and 12 yards to Solomone Paletua. He finished with 308 yards on 20-of-33 passing.
That's over 600 yards and nine touchdowns in two games. Of Alexander's 38 completions, 20 have ended up in Barnes' sure hands for a cool 309 yards.
Gunn (1-1) looks to keep the positivity harnessed for another week when Harbor (1-0 entering a game Saturday) visits next Friday at 7 p.m.
By the way, Johansen had a lot on his plate during the course of the game. He had to deal with a possible broken arm sustained by a James Lick player that delayed the game for over 10 minutes, and also a James Lick player who suffered a possible concussion, once again highlighting the dangers of the sport.
He also had to keep the lights on as the automatic timer was nearing its shut down time. No wonder he wanted to leave well enough alone.