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BULLDOGS BOUNCE SHARKS FROM PLAYOFFS

Bulldogs quarterback/linebacker Leeray Zapatos had a very strong outing on both sides of the ball to knock the Sanchez Sharks out of the playoffs during the opening game of the IIAAG football quarterfinals Friday night at the Okkodo field in Dededo.

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By Robert Balajadia

2014 will have a new champion of high school football.

Okkodo Bulldogs Leeray Zapatos balled out of his mind Friday night as his team bounced the defending champs out of the playoffs in dominant fashion 22-0 at the Bulldog Field during the opening weekend of the IIAAG post season.

Zapatos collected a running touchdown, threw for two passing touchdowns, a sack, an interception, and a dog pound of tackles throughout the course of the game.

“It shows when we practice hard, especially for the playoffs,” said Zapatos on his play against the Sharks. “We want to win a championship this year so we’re all going hard.”

The rare ability to carry a team on offense and defense is a luxury that first year head coach Ken Cruz embraces.

“I knew that [Zapatos] would be our leader and he possesses all the skills. He just needed to be patient and calm down, and that’s what he did today and there’s no more perfect time to open up than in the playoffs,” said Cruz.

The second straight meeting between the two teams ended much differently with the Bulldogs getting the upper hand thanks to Zapato’s arial display and a defense that has taken on the new name of “Shocker Defense” behind defensive coach Justin ‘The Shocker’ Cruz.

Zapatos punched in a running touchdown from four yards right before the half which was set up by converting on a 40-yard pass to receiver John Anthony Cruz to go up 7-0.

The Sharks offense often moved in the wrong direction in the first half with Bulldog linebackers Zapatos, Joshua Cruz and Jesse Carl Cruz all making big stops in the backfield to push Sanchez back. The Sharks also amassed a handful of penalties that made it difficult to get into any offensive rhythm.

The Bulldogs attempted to fall back on their running game in the third quarter with work horse Angel Chiguina getting a bulk of the carries, but their opening drive of the second half garnered a hollering from coach Cruz and a man down in the process.

 Okkodo Receiver Aiden Ferrara was able to make the catch for a 42 yard reception. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo Receiver Aiden Ferrara was able to make the catch for a 42 yard reception. (photo by Joey Blas)

Chiguina took a handoff to the left side of the field and was met by a host of Sharks defenders while being brought down hard. Chiguina limped off the field while having issues with cramps and coach Cruz gave his boys an earful on their blocking assignments.

The offensive line immediately responded in a big way by allowing Zapatos to pick apart the Sharks defense on the drive. Zapatos tossed a 47-yard pass to tight end Aiden Ferrara on a 3rd down to get inside the Sharks 40 yard line, which he then followed up with a 15-yard scramble for a first down to move his offense closer.

Zapatos then finished the drive by hitting a wide-open De’Andre Pizzaro for an 18-yard touchdown to go up 13-0.

Leeray continued to play strong in the fourth quarter where he picked up a big sack on Sharks quarterback Devin Leon on 3rd down which led to an eventual turnover on downs. The Sharks next offensive possession ended at the hands of Zapatos as he intercepted a quick shovel pass to give the Bulldogs back the ball.

A highlight reel catch by Dylan Aguon for 20 yards from Joe Deleon Guerrero set up Zapatos for another big play as Leeray hit Ferrara on a post route from eight yards out to go up 20-0. A fake field goal attempt allowed Ferrara to get a clean break into the end zone where holder Mark Lao tossed the short pass for the conversion right before taking a lick from the Sharks defense to go up 22-0.

The Sharks offense tried to rally to prevent a shutout, but the Bulldogs subs cleaned up the final minutes of the game giving coach Cruz his first win in just his first year with the team.

“We know that the Sharks run defense was excellent so we had to challenge the secondary and that’s what we did,” said Cruz.

Sharks Special Team Eric Reyes returns the punt to the 50 yard line for a 25 yard run. (photo by Joey Blas)

Sharks Special Team Eric Reyes returns the punt to the 50 yard line for a 25 yard run. (photo by Joey Blas)

Sanchez special teams return man Eric Reyes nearly broke free for two touchdowns that could have changed the complexity of the game. With the game still scoreless to being the quarter, Reyes took a punt from his teams 20-yard line and sprinted past the Bulldogs initial coverage team leaving Zapatos with a one-on-one where he was able to wrestle Reyes out of bounds at the 45-yard line. Sanchez then fumbled the ball to the Bulldogs with Alfred Apatang recovering the loose ball.

At the tail end of the third quarter, Reyes nearly took a kick-off to the house, but Bulldogs Jesse Carl Cruz managed to grab hold of Reyes to keep the Sharks out of the red zone.

The Bulldogs’ win over the Sharks will be short lived as they now get ready for the undefeated GW Geckos as neither team met in the regular season due to their season opener being cancelled due to no lights at the Bulldogs Field. Zapatos, like the rest of the Bulldogs, are not backing down from the challenge.

“Expect the unexpected. We have to push hard in practice every day until we actual come face-to-face with them.”

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Wil Castro

Okkodo Receiver John Anthony Cruz makes a nice attempt to catch a pass that was well overthrown.(photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo Receiver John Anthony Cruz makes a nice attempt to catch a pass that was well overthrown.(photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo's Leeray Zapatos takes it in to put Okkodo on the board on the second quarter. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo’s Leeray Zapatos takes it in to put Okkodo on the board on the second quarter. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo's Rai Santos breaks a tackle in the back field to gain 5 more yard on the play. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo’s Rai Santos breaks a tackle in the back field to gain five more yards on the play. (photo by Joey Blas)

Sanchez' Mitchell Igcasenza runs the ball to the 45 yard line for a gain of 12 yards on the play. (photo by Joey Blas)

Sanchez’ Mitchell Igcasenza runs the ball to the 45-yard line for a gain of 12 yards on the play. (photo by Joey Blas)

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After suffering a TKO loss on One 154, Brandon Vera left his gloves in the cage, symbolizing the end of his MMA career. Happy retirement Brandon!
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The Guahan Junior Barbarians represented Guam well in Singapore. The girls U18 took first place in their division in the 13th Centaurs International Youth Rugby Tournament while the boys captured second place playing ironman rugby with no subs.

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