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BULLDOGS AVOID JFK UPSET

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By Robert Balajadia

Bulldogs Kyle Leon Guerrero made the game saving interception late in the fourth quarter to advance Okkodo into the semifinals next weekend. (GSPN photo)

This season has been full of milestones for the Okkodo Bulldog’s football team and adding to their already successful season was their first playoff win as the hosting team by beating the JFK Islanders 13-6 on Friday night.

As their previous meeting and regular season record suggests, the Bulldogs beating the Islanders comes to no surprise but what was instead a surprise was how close of a game it actually was. JFK managed only one regular season win against the winless Dolphins but were a possession away from pulling off an upset.

The Islanders offense had the ball with two minutes left in the game trailing 13-6, just 30 yards away from pay dirt after a 30-yard penalty on the Bulldog defense but quarterback Nikolas Masnayon threw a pass that was picked off by Bulldogs linebacker Kyle Leon Guerrero virtually sealing Okkodo’s first home playoff win.

“It was just my gut instinct. They were nearing the goal line and were running a lot so my conscience was just telling me to watch out for the pass. When he snapped the ball I ran in but noticed he dropped back so I dropped back with him,” stated Leon Guerrero on the game-saving interception.

Okkodo’s offense did not have the ball much but they made the most of their opportunities scoring points on two quarterback runs by Leeray Zapatos. The first offensive possession for the Bulldogs needed no first down as Zapatos used a QB keeper to sprint past the entire Islander defense for a 55-yard touchdown run.

Bulldogs QB Leeray Zapatos

“I first called a run play and then saw a hole wide open because they were stacking on one side. The next down I called a quarterback sneak and found a way to get that touchdown,” stated Zapatos after his speedy 55-yard dash.

His second TD came in the third quarter off a play-action where no receiver was open, forcing Zapatos to scramble 34 yards untouched into the end zone. However, the Bulldog offense and defense took a big hit losing All-Island First Team Safety/Second Team RB Calvin Muna for the game on their last scoring drive. Muna took a hand off to the outside while taking a hit out of bounds that injured his shoulder.

The Islanders only score came early in the fourth quarter but took more than half of the third quarter to get it. After the Bulldogs went up 13-0, the Islanders used eight first downs and the rest of the third quarter to tire out the Okkodo defense. They converted on four fourth downs and three third downs until Honorable Mention RB Jarred Hernden punched in a goal line score. A quick three-and-out by the Bulldogs gave the Islanders the final possession in which they could not score.

Honorable Mention RB Jarred Hernden scored the Islanders only touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

JFK missed a big chance to put up points late in the second quarter, getting within five yards of scoring a potential game tying touchdown but were pushed back 20 yards on two penalties erasing their golden opportunity.

The Bulldogs were penalized seven times while the Islanders were penalized five times with all of the penalties playing a big factor.

Coaches from all the other high school teams participated in scouting and may feel more confident facing the Bulldogs in their not so convincing win, but Okkodo head coach Danny Cepeda is not worried.

“JFK came in and played like they had nothing to lose and we never underestimated them but if you notice that no matter what, all the games between the good teams this season have been close. Our defense was getting tired and we do have talent in our offense to score points.”

http://iconnectasia.com/iconnectguam/Notes: The Bulldogs were wearing pink bands and tape over their gear honoring “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” as some of the players have relatives who are cancer survivors…Bulldogs Muna has rotation in his shoulder so it is not broken and was ruled out of the game by Cepeda to avoid further injury. RC Choban (ankle), injured in last weeks game against FD, played majority of the Bulldogs defensive snaps despite the injury…The Islanders and Bulldogs combined for the fewest offensive possessions between two teams this season having only six each…JFK only attempted four pass plays.

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