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GECKOS, SHARKS MARCH ON

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By Robert Balajadia

Geckos QB Joe “J.C.” Carreon connected with WR Storm Rosario early in the fourth quarter for GW’s first score. (photo by Jesse Castro)

An unusual array of fireworks lit up the sky right after kickoff between the rival GW Geckos and FD Friars but all the fireworks, game wise, came in the fourth quarter as the Geckos rallied from a 7-0 deficit to beat the Friars 14-7 at the GW field in Mangilao.

Things were looking bleak for GW heading into the fourth quarter with All-Island defensive MVP Michael “Boise” Hocog limping to the sideline right before the third quarter ended and their offense looking out of rhythm.

Trailing 7-0 at the start of the fourth quarter, Geckos All-Island second team QB Joseph “J.C.” Carreon dropped back and laid a pretty spiral to a streaking Storm Rosario, All-Island first team WR and CB, for a 40-yard touchdown to get the Geckos, and their fans, back in the game.

“The line blocks for me, they’re my brothers out there and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I thank the receivers for getting open and Storm was open and I just did my job. He did all the magic, all I had to do was put the ball in his hands,” stated Carreon on the momentum swinging play.

GW failed to convert on the 2-point conversion leaving them trailing still 7-6. The next offensive series for the Friars ended up in a quick three-and-out which gave the ball back to the already fired up Gecko offense.

The next play hit the Friars hard.

Geckos All-Island first team utility player Hank Sablan took a second down hand-off and went beast mode breaking four FD defenders tackles on his way to a 60-yard touchdown. The Friar crowd quieted down after Sablan’s run giving GW all the momentum they needed.

“I just gave it my all because I made some mistakes earlier and I really wanted to do it for my team, I really wanted this game. It seemed like they gave up already so I just fought my way through them. I’m going to come even harder next week and even in the championship,” stated the confident Sablan.

Friars QB Tyler Okiyama had a tough fourth quarter throwing two costly interceptions to a fired up GW defense. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Gecko defense seemed to feed off the offense by making big plays of their own in the fourth quarter as Hocog shook off his earlier injury and picked off Friars QB Tyler Okiyama just as the Friars were about to get into scoring position. Okiyama would be picked off again after the Geckos gave them the ball back on a punt.

The Geckos grinded out the clock until a late fumble that gave the Friars one last offensive possession with 38-seconds left and the length of the field to travel.

The previous meeting between the two teams had a similar setting where the Friars managed to tie the game late in the quarter but lost in OT to the Geckos on a Hocog TD run. Geckos fans were having deja vu as Okiyama managed to hit All-Island second team WR Bryton Cepeda for a big 40-yard gain.

The GW defense did not let up this time as Rosario batted down Okiyama’s final pass attempt to capture the win.

Sablan admitted the Friar defense kept the GW offense silent through three quarters led by seniors Nate San Nicolas, All-Island first team LB Raymond Quintanilla, All-Island second team CB Jordan Ray Guevara, and All-Island first team DE junior Chris Mallada.

The games first score came off a goal line run by the Friars Quintanilla after being set up by a highlight reel catch and run by Cepeda. All-Island first team kicker Brian Leon Guerrero converted on the PAT to put them up 7-0.

The Friars 2012 campaign came to an end but the Geckos have as tough a task as any as they will be facing the team they have met in the championship for the past two years in the undefeated Guam High Panthers. Head coach Ryan Rios has his team ready to face anyone.

Friars All-Island first team receiver Nicolas Aglubat had a strong first-half but was held in check in the second-half by fellow first-island selection Storm Rosario. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Rios stated that,”Every game we do it the same way. Just like this game tonight, I told my seniors that this could possibly be the last game of your IFL career. We approach every game like it is our last and we play hard every game. We are not focusing on tomorrow but instead what is in front of us which was FD and is now Guam High.”

Sharks 38, Dolphins 6

Sanchez puts to rest any chance of an upset with a dominating win over the Southern Dolphins.  They will now face their Northern rival Okkodo Bulldogs in the semi-finals next week at the Okkodo field.  However, the Sharks will be the home team in being slightly ahead of the Bulldogs in the standings.

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