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RUGBY PLAYOFFS UNDER WAY

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By Robert Leon Guerrero

As playoffs for high school rugby kicked off Friday evening, the Southern High Dolphins, Father Duenas Friars and George Washington Geckos all moved on to the semifinals. There was plenty of action in Mangilao as the Friars and Geckos dominated their matches, posting shutout victories, and the Dolphins managed to outpace the JFK Islanders to move on.

Friars’ attack on display

As the match between the Guam High Panthers and Friars kicked off, it was clear that the former were outmatched by the defending champions. The Friars managed to score three tries within the first 15 minutes of the game, utilizing their speed out wide to tear through the defense.  The backline for FD proved to be firing on all points, as Zav Damian, Bryton Cepeda and Allan Santos all put points on the board, while Jerome Artero kicked two conversions in the first half, helping the Friars take a 29-0 lead at the break.

The second half started off on an odd note as the lights went out, causing a ten minute delay. Once play resumed, the game featured a much more conservative strategy employed by the Friars, as they looked to keep the Panthers pinned down in their own territory. After a series of errors, the Panthers lost a player to a red card for dangerous play, and the Friars immediately capitalized with a try from Christopher Winterle. Another try by the Friars brought the final tally to 39-0.

FD

Tries: Zav Damian, Bryton Cepeda, Allan Santos, Ray Quintanilla (2), Chris Winterle, Matt G

Conversions: Jerome Artero (2/7)

Geckos dominate Bulldogs

In their campaign to return to the championship game, the Geckos started on a good note blanking the Okkodo Bulldogs 38-0. In the beginning, the Geckos used tactics to play for territory. Capitalizing on strong play in the set pieces, the Geckos got on the board early as Kelvin Hocog plowed in for a score. Okkodo looked to answer back with a penalty kick, but narrowly missed it. From there, the Geckos looked to keep the pressure on. A strong defense from GW left a loose ball, which Gecko scrumhalf JC Carreon scooped up and ran back 60 meters for the try. As Okkodo looked to move the ball out wide, Chad Faustino intercepted the pass and ran it back to the house for the third try of the half. Flyhalf Tevin Santos was on point early on, making all three conversion kicks as well as a penalty kick, giving GW a 24-0 lead at the half.

The second half started where the first left off, as Gecko hooker Gene Taitague took the ball out of the ruck and scored a try within the first 10 minutes.  From there, the host team looked to pin the Bulldogs down. A key error from the Bulldogs gave GW another opportunity to score as David Sablan scored off the scrum. It was not all despair for Okkodo, however, as they were able to plow their way down the field. The Geckos did not help their cause as they suffered mental lapses in defense, giving Okkodo a chance to score, but they could not capitalize, leaving the final score at 38-0.

GW

Tries: Kelvin Hocog, JC Carreon, Chad Faustino, Gene Taitague, David Sablan

Conversions: Tevin Santos (5/5)

Penalty kicks: Tevin Santos (1/3)

With the quarterfinals out of the way, the semifinals look to present two great matchups as FD will play Southern High and GW will play Simon Sanchez, whose strong season earned them a first-round bye. The Dolphins beat the Friars during the season 7-0. However, when these squads play each other there is never any guarantee as to who will come out the winner. The Sharks beat the Geckos 29-14 in the season. The Sharks have been playing well all season, so they will look to continue their top form. The Geckos, on the other hand, will come in to the semis having played a great game, building on their confidence. Everyone is encouraged to come out to the semifinals on Tuesday March 19 at Wettengel Rugby Field, games will be held at 5 and 6pm.

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Sports legend Joe Taitano used to run to school at JFK from his Yigo home and back. He continued this routine up to 1979 when he’d run from home to GW gym and back to practice for the South Pacific Games with the national basketball team. Guam went on to win its second straight SPG gold medal.

 

 

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