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ANGELS TAKE MATUA TITLE

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By Regina Shiroma

Angels’ JesseKarl Cruz breaks through the defensive line, heading for the end zone, only to be tripped up at the one-yard line. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

The Giants dominated the regular season with a perfect 6-0 record. But in the playoffs, anything can happen.

Time and time again the underdog has savored the bittersweet taste of victory just when it means the most, and this was just the case at the GNYFF Matua division championship.

The LMS Hal’s Angels capped off the weekend of youth football championships with a 30-8 win over the favored Hensel Phelps Giants. Though falling 8-6 against the Giants in the regular season, the Angels avenged their loss, storming onto the field ready to take on their opponent.

The Angels went to work right at the start. In the opening kickoff running back Darrien Campos started the Angels off at the fifty-yard line. A few plays later, the Angels offense was at fourth and six, and had a whole lot of field left to go. Quarterback Brendan Santos connected with Jose Santos who put the Angels in good field positioning at the 21-yard line, recording a 35-yard gain. Two incomplete passes later, Angels’ Caleb Sherrer caught the ball in the corner of the end zone, that had the Angels fans on their feet. Logan Mance knocked in the two-point conversion kick and the Angels were leading 8-0 only two minutes into the game.

Angels’ Darrien Campos slices and dices through the field to avoid the defense of Giants’ Jujuan King. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

The McDonald’s player of the game: Angels’ JesseKarl Cruz. 90 yards rushing on nine attempts, 1 fumble, 1 TD, 11 tackles.

Later in the quarter, runs by JesseKarl Cruz and Campos helped bring the Angels closer to the goal line. Another big reception by Sherrer almost had him in the end zone. However, Giants Joaquin Mesa made the touchdown-saving tackle at the one-yard line. Santos snuck into the end zone on a quarterback sneak for the Angels’ second touchdown of the quarter. Mance sent the kick through the uprights once again, making the score 16-0.

Early in the second, Campos returned an interception for what fans thought would be a touchdown, but he stepped out at the 3-yard line. A penalty brought the Angels back five-yards, nonetheless, two carries later, Cruz ran in for a one-yard touchdown to make the score 22-0.

“I can’t even describe it! Its my first time in like seven years since I’ve won a championship,” said Cruz on the win.

Cruz’s game plan coming into the championship game was to,”Just play my hardest and win.”

“I was just reading the plays and getting to the ball as fast as I can,” stated Cruz about his defensive stops.

The Giants were unable to conjure up some points before the half, as the Angels still held the momentum. Nolan Chamberlain ended the half on a good note for the Angels, snatching an interception with seconds left on the clock.

The second half saw a different Giants team. The Giants came out strong and right after the halftime kick off, they picked up three first down conversions in row. Keeping their momentum going, Giants’ Joseph Sanchez rushed in for a five-yard touchdown. Napu Topasna converted the kick putting the Giants on the board 22-8.

Giants’ Damon Hocog provides some protection for ball carrier Joseph Sanchez who runs it up the field for another first down. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

The Angels were able to secure their win in the fourth quarter, with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Brendan Santos threw a screen pass to a wide-open Jose Santos who sped into the end zone untouched for a 20-yard touchdown. The Angels sidelines erupted in cheers. Knowing the final whistle was near, the Angels fans kept their cheers going.

“Even though we won the championship, we had three losses this year. You gotta give the guys credit, they put their faith in God. We told everybody from the beginning, win or lose, God gets the glory because God gives us the gift to play football, God gives us the ability to work hard, and our players came through. They really wanted to win this championship and they did,” said head coach of the Angels Buzz Shiroma.

In other championship games

Angels def. Saints 41-32 for the Manha division

JesseKarl Cruz makes another first down run to bring the Angels closer to the end zone. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Giants’ Jujuan King rushes the ball past the Angels defense to gain the first down. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Angels’ JesseKarl Cruz grabs on to Giants’ Napu Topasna to aid in the tackle. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Angels’ Darrien Campos picks off the interception and returns it to the Giants’ 3-yard line. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Giants’ Marcus Manglona slips past the defense of Angels’ Sean Gomez. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Angles’ Caleb Sherrer nearly converted this reception into what could have been his second receiving touchdown, but he was tackled out of bounds at the one-yard line. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Giants’ Damon Hocog was too late to stop Angels’ Brendan Santos who tiptoes his way into the end zone. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Angels’ Jose Santos runs in for the last touchdown of the game. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

 

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Since forming the GNYFF in 2009, the league has never gone without a season until 2020. The league announced their plans to cancel the 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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RIP: Former Guam football player Phil Mendiola, shown here with son Tano, passed away in Las Vegas due to a heart attack. Mendiola played for numerous Guam teams from youth to varsity. He was 39.
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Morgan McKenna (left with black face mask) poses for a photo with Guam Football Association Technical Director Sang Hoon Kim (seated, with blue face mask) and Guam Football Association Assistant Technical Director Ross Awa (standing) after signing his letter of commitment to play intercollegiate men’s soccer for Muskingum University in Ohio. The Fighting Muskies compete in NCAA Division III’s Ohio Athletic Conference.

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