SAN MARINO’S ONE-TWO PUNCH: The play of San Marino’s Ryan Woods, left, and Nick Gott is a big reason why the Titans are 4-0 this season.
Staff photo by Keith Birmingham
By Keith Lair, SGVN
SAN MARINO - Ryan Wood does not mind playing follow the leader and Nick Gott is not shy to be that leader.
The San Marino High duo have been running circles around their competition this season. The pair have rushed for a combined 800-plus yards in the Titans’ 4-0 start.
It is the first time San Marino has been 4-0 since 2009, when the Titans were 5-0. San Marino can complete an undefeated preleague start with a victory at South El Monte on Friday.
“I love to follow this guy,” Wood said of his teammate. “I want to follow him.”
“It’s not a problem,” Gott replied. “Blocking is good.”
San Marino quarterback Matt Wofford frequently lines up in the shotgun formation with Wood next to him. Gott typically lines up at wing back. He goes in motion and Wofford can hand it off to the 5-foot, 11-inch senior, he can give it to Wood, a 5-7 senior or he can keep it himself.
“Our offensive line is doing a pretty good job and they’re opening up some really big holes,” second-year coach Mike Hobbie said. “They’re playing pretty darn efficient.”
Wood has rushed for more than 600 yards, including a season-high 202 and three touchdowns against Eagle Rock and a season-high four touchdowns against Nogales. Last week in a 45-0 victory over Beverly Hills, he had 179 yards and two scores.
Gott has rushed for just more than 200 yards.
“I told the (linemen) that these guys get all the publicity, but the (linemen) do all the real hard work,” Hobbie said. “Their job is to get them through to the second level and the (running back’s) job is to turn them from first downs into big plays.”
San Marino has outscored its opponents, 165-21. They have scored more points and given up fewer points than any other Rio Hondo League team this season.
The Titans’ defense has not given up a point in the last two games.
“The linemen are doing great,” Gott said. “They’ve made huge holes for us and it’s been really key.”
“It has not been surprising,” Wood said. “We expect holes.”
Because of an injury, Wood did not have a chance to play until late last season. And when he did in the final games of the season, it was on defense and special teams. Besides, the Titans already had a main running back, Kwame Do.
Do is more of a run-at-you type of runner while Wood uses his speed to get through defenses. Hobbie said Wood does not carry the ball as much as Do did.
“He’s doing what we expected him to do,” Hobbie said “With his speed we knew he could break some long runs. We knew he would not be the workhorse back that Kwame Do was.
“We don’t run him the same exact way. He’s not built like Kwame to take that type of punishment. But they way we designed the offense he’s working it perfectly.”
On the opening play of the second half against Beverly Hills, Wood had a 74-yard run for a touchdown.
“They got him five and he took it the rest of the way,” Hobbie said.
Wofford and Andrew Cordova have been in on the act, too. Wofford scored on a 70-yarder against Crescenta Valley.
Gott has created most of the holes for his teammate, Hobbie said.
“Nick is really opening up some holes,” Hobbie said. “Nick is a big blocker.”
Both backs said the Titans are taking this season one game at a time, but an Oct. 26 date against Monrovia looms large on the Titans’ horizon. Last year the Wildcats handed the Titans their lone league defeat.
“We definitely want to come in strong for league and we plan on going undefeated,” Wood said.
“We known Monrovia is going to be tough,” Gott said. “We just want to take it to them.”