By Robert Balajadia
Slow starts seem to be the theme for high school football in the seasons’ early goings and the FD Friars and JFK Islanders appeared to still be working out the kinks both on offense and defense. However, the Friars managed to pull together a game-winning drive behind quarterback Tyler Okiyama and running back Albert Johnston to defeat the much-improved Islanders 7-0 Saturday night at the GW field.
Okiyama had trouble connecting with his receivers early in the game going just 4 for 10 before connecting on a 36-yard bomb to receiver Nicolas Aglubat that brought the Friars to the JFK 25-yard line late in the fourth quarter.
Okiyama then ran two fake hand-off plays for ten yards that had the Islander defense focusing on stopping the quarterback option. The third play looked much like the fake handoffs but Okiyama stuck the ball in the chest of Johnston in the split-back formation and the defense collapsed on Okiyama allowing Johnston to sprint to the left side of the field for the 15-yard score.
“We went into the huddle and made sure that everyone does what they’re supposed to do. I have to give credit to my line. The way I saw my tackle take off, he went to the right and I just went left and exploited the opening and made everyone shift to my side and we scored the touchdown,” stated Johnston. “I have to give props to my offensive line and fullback because I wouldn’t score without them.”
A converted PAT pushed the Friar lead to 7-0.
The Islanders and quarterback Quintin Iriarte were quick to respond late in the quarter as Iriarte completed two big passes to Jarred Hernden and Alan Pinkine to get them past midfield. The Friar defense then came up with a huge play on third down as Tristin Hocog and Christopher Mallada dragged down Iriarte in the backfield for a 20-yard loss.
The Friars were tagged with an un-sportsman like conduct penalty for excessive celebration after the sack that granted the Islanders with a new set of downs.
Iriarte then completed a 12-yard first down conversion to Henry Selerino that brought the Islanders in the red zone which got the Friar crowd nervous. The chants of ‘defense’ seemed to pay off for the Friars as the Islander ground game came to a halt while the secondary disrupted all of Iriarte’s throws forcing a turnover on downs.
Okiyama went 5 for 12 for 90 yards while Iriarte went 10 for 18 for 97 yards and one interception. Johnston had five carries for 34 yards while Pinkine finished with 32 yards on nine carries. Bryton Cepeda caught three passes for 50 yards for the Friars.
The Friar defense was led by Robbie Silan with six tackles while Jereme Gogue had five tackles for the Islanders. Mallada had the highest sack total for the game at 1.5.
The beginning of the season always brings their fair share of issues, but Johnston feels like the Friars have a lot more to work on.
“We need to work on everything. Less mistakes, make sure everyone’s doing what they have to do. We just need to fix our mistakes.”
The Friars had six penalties for the game that totaled 50 yards, including one that called back a touchdown pass from Okiyama to Cepeda, who snagged the ball out of the air with one hand, late in the second quarter.
The Friars improve to 1-0 while the Islanders drop to 1-1.
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