Prep football: Poway High scores huge win over La Costa Canyon
By Michael Bower
Poway High defensive end Brian Guendling loves going up against the best, and on Friday night the senior showed everyone at a packed La Costa Canyon stadium that he can do more than just meet a challenge.
The 6-foot-4, 220 pound Guendling recorded three sacks and constantly ripped through the Mavericks offensive line – considered one of the best in the San Diego County with two Division I commits – and No. 7 Poway stunned No. 5 La Costa Canyon 28-14 in a nonleague game.
“Any time you can get a win over someone ranked ahead of you, it’s a good win,” Poway coach Damian Gonzalez said.
It was the first win for the Titans (2-0) over the Mavericks (1-1) since 2006 and is the first time Poway has started the season 2-0 since winning the CIF SDS Division I title in 2007.
“We knew they had the best o-line in the county, but we have a hard-working team,” said Guendling, who had back-to-back sacks on one Mavericks possession and on another met La Costa Canyon running back Issac Maquet in the backfield and drove him back 14 yards. “We fly around as fast as we can and play as hard as we can out there.”
The Titans defense came up with two key interceptions and special teams blocked a punt, which led to Poway’s first touchdown of the game – a Jimmy Moreno 1-yard run with 5:40 left in the first quarter. The Mavericks ran for over 200 yards last week, but against Poway only had 26 yards on the ground.
“This team has a lot of heart and dedication,” Guendling said. “We believe we have the best defense in the whole league.”
The offense isn’t too shabby either.
Last week Poway showed it can run, compiling over 300 yards on the ground. This week the show belonged to quarterback Gabriel Isaak. The senior was phenomenal, completing 21 of 23 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown.
Isaak worked the outside of the Mavericks defense, hitting Derek Babiash with several quick hits for easy yardage. Babiash finished with eight catches for 68 yards, including a perfectly-lofted ball from Isaak for a 21-yard score, which put Poway ahead 14-7 at halftime.
“That was the game plan,” Gonzalez said. “We thought we can take advantage on the outside because of how strong their defense is in the middle.”
The game entered the fourth quarter tied at 14. But Poway was able to put together an 11-play, 72-yard scoring drive behind the hard-running of Ryan Moreno and the right arm of Isaak. Moreno capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, which put the Titans ahead for good 21-14 with 8:23 to go.
Guendling and company did the rest, forcing a three-and-out by the Mavericks. Poway took the next possession and sealed the game with a 43-yard scoring drive. The huge play of that drive came on a 40-yard half-back pass from Justin Moyers to Isaiah Gross down to the 2-yard line of the Mavericks. Two plays later Isaak rushed in for a 1-yard score, sealing the victory.
“Coach Gonzo said this is the biggest match up and this game will decide where we stand,” Guendling said.
Poway certainly stands with the group at the top after this one.
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