By Jeff Ochavillo
It was survival of the fittest for both the Okkodo Bulldogs and the Guam High Panthers from start to finish.
It was a cat and dog game with the only thing that both teams received were penalties and injuries to most of their key players. But the Panthers prevailed, led by their quarterback L.J. Aguon, and got past the Bulldogs 24-16.
In the last quarter of the game with Okkodo down 24-8 with a couple minutes left, the Bulldogs and their fans were anxious for a comeback and were not going down without a fight.
The Bulldogs’ line, with quarterback Leeroy Zapatos leading, kept running the ball until they were at the Panthers 1-yard line. On 3rd and goal, they rushed for a touchdown followed by a 2-point conversion, cutting the lead 24-16, however, that was the closest the Bulldogs would get.
Okkodo tried to recover an onside kick but the Panthers were able to pounce on the ball. Guam High kept running the ball to run down the clock and it was a matter of time until the referees signaled the end of the ball game.
Both teams were struggling with moving in players with their injury problems throughout the game. The Bulldogs were determined to protect their home field by not allowing the Panthers to run the ball.
However, Aguon was able to connect with his receivers, Juwan Jacobs and Austy Hines, early in the game with their active hands, which brought them to the end zone. With a 2-point conversion completed, the Panthers led early at 8-0.
Execution is key to how Aguon runs the Panther offense and he stressed that to his teammates by telling them,“Just keep executing. I told them we are going to get a rhythm going every time we’re on offense. Whenever we get back on offense we need this ball ever time, and that’s what they did and we just did what the defense wanted us to do and scored. I just told them, keep on executing, keep on executing, and keep on executing.”
The Bulldogs defense had Aguon on the move for most of the game and came close to catapulting a comeback.“I have so much respect for the Okkodo’s defense. They are just as strong as any team on the island. They got a good future coming next season, I bet. They did a lot of blitzing that we couldn’t pick up. They blitz a lot people off the outside,” stated Aguon on Okkodo’s strong defense.
The Panthers keep their winning streak alive at 3-0 while Okkodo drops to 0-3.
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