📅17 September 2014
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By Robert Balajadia

The IIAAG football season is shaping out a little different in 2014 with a few surprises, a few new standouts, and a whole mess of action happening just about every game.

All eyes will be focused on Friday night’s game as the two unbeaten teams in the league will square off in what is sure to be, given each of their games all season, an all-out defensive war. The game will be played at the Gecko home field in Mangilao

To not many people’s surprise, the GW Geckos, behind the head coaching of legendary Ryan Rios, have established themselves early this season going (2-0) in first two games against the Dolphins and defending champ Sharks, with heavy rain postponing their season opener to the Bulldogs.

Then there are the (4-0) JFK Islanders. The rest of the league may see the Islanders as this season’s biggest surprise, but head coach Troy Lizama and his staff have firmly believed from day one that this team was a special bunch.

Revamping Islander Football

After pulling off a multiple defensive stops against the Friars in week one to get a close win, the Islanders were still aiming to validate themselves. After shutting down the Bulldogs in Week 2 and getting big wins over the teams with the best records in 2013 in the Sharks and Panthers in back-to-back weeks more than validated that the Islanders are a serious title contender.

Hard nosed defense is foundation of the Islanders game allowing just the Friars to score more than one touchdown on them this season.

One of the most notable instances of how dangerous their defense can be was in their game against the Okkodo Bulldogs. The Islanders were receiving the kick in the second half, but a faulty catch and unlucky bounce let the Bulldogs set up from 10 yards out with a chance to possibly swing momentum back their way.

Islanders QB Quintin Iriarte sprints his way past the Panther defense. (photo by Joey Blas)

Islanders QB Quintin Iriarte sprints his way past the Panther defense. (photo by Joey Blas)

Defensive captain Mike Pangelinan Jr. shouted to his defense at that instant, “nothing gets passed us!” The Islander defense stood up the Bulldogs on four straight downs to force a turnover which immediately shifted the momentum back to the Islanders.

The Geckos have only allowed 18 points through two games and they have come up with big stops in each contest.

Quarterback Quintin Iriarte was an All-Island honorable mention in 2013 and he’s been on a mission to prove that he has top level talent. Iriarte has hit receivers for touchdowns in each game this far so the battle between him and Santos could also be the deciding factor.

Islanders Games

JFK 14, FD 12

JFK 25, Okkodo 6

JFK 20, Sanchez 6

JFK 20, Guam High 7

Geckos Hungry For Title

A 2-0 start is hardly reason to celebrate, but the veterans on the Gecko squad appear to be the hungriest bunch in the league having lost in the championship game two years in a row.

Quarterback Brendon Santos explained after beating the Sharks that each of the veterans on the team are determined more than ever after coming so close for two straight years.

After taking down the revamped Southern Dolphins in Week 2 and stuffing the Sanchez Sharks running game while putting on an nice ariel display in Week 3, the Geckos have to be feeling confident in their ability to take over the league.

GW's Isiah Tydingco avoids a couple of tackles and was able to get 15 more yards on the play. Photo by Joey Blas)

GW’s Isiah Tydingco avoids a couple of tackles and was able to get 15 more yards on the play. Photo by Joey Blas)

Santos is coming off a game where he tossed two big touchdown passes against the Sharks though a stout Islander secondary has not given up any touchdowns through the air thus far while only allowing 31 points in the season thought four games.

Along with Santos, the defense is coming off a game where they only allowed one Sharks rushing touchdown that was set up by a bad special teams punt that pushed the Geckos from the 20-yard line to the three while the Sharks recovered the ball.

The game against the Islanders could very well come down to who executes better on special teams as both squads have allowed opposing teams to score off bad special teams possessions.

Geckos Games

GW 14, Southern 12 

GW 15, Sanchez 6

2014 Football

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