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FRIAR DEFENSE PREVAILS ON HOMECOMING NIGHT

The FD Friar offense has been getting a lot of love in all of their wins thus far, but the Friar defense were the heroes Friday night as they fended off the Okkodo Bulldogs in an entertaining game, on the night of the Friars homecoming at Hal’s Angels field.

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By Robert Balajadia

The FD Friar offense has been getting a lot of love in all of their wins thus far, but the Friar defense were the heroes Friday night as they fended off the Okkodo Bulldogs in an entertaining 21-14 game, on the night of the Friars homecoming at Hal’s Angels field.

Okkodo had the ball with less than a minute left in the game after a Friar punt went haywire, giving the Bulldogs good field position just inside the 40-yard line. Bulldogs quarterback Leeray Zapatos picked up a big first down while running out of bounds to stop the clock with less than 30 seconds left in the game.

Zapatos then tried to toss a quick dump off to tight end Aiden Ferrara on 4th down, who then tried to race his way out of bounds to stop the clock, but Friars linebacker Frankie Tenorio wrapped up Ferrara inbounds and more importantly two yards short of the first down to give the Friars back the football.

“It was very nerve wrecking,” admitted Tenorio. “The Bulldogs are a very good team, but us Friars just have a lot of heart and we put in the work.”

FD took a knee to run out the remaining seconds of the game, capping off a wild finish between the two teams that were riding win streaks heading into Friday’s game with FD at three and Okkodo at two.

The running game has been the Friars greatest weapon all season, but for the better part of three quarters the Friars potent running game was dormant thanks to Bulldogs linebacker Jesse Carl Cruz, who had a game high 12 tackles.

“We knew this team is a running team so we were getting ready for their run game,” said Cruz keeping the Friar offense in check in the first half. “We’re still learning and we’re going to learn from every game we play and what we need to do to fix our mistakes.”

Friars Reynold Rokop made the defensive play of the season in the first half after laying a big hit on Bulldogs D’Andre Pizarro to cause a controversial fumble. The ball took two bounces in short distance as Rokop was able to scoop up the ball and take it to the house for a 51-yard fumble returned touchdown to put FD up 14-7 after a Brian Leon Guerrero kick.

FD came into the second half determined to get their ground game going and their play calling from coach Tony Posadas eventually paid off. Posadas was calling the shots in place of head coach Bruce Meno, who was away.

The Friars finished off the third quarter running strong as De’Aundre Cruz scored on a goal line run to put FD up 21-7 heading into the final quarter. Cruz eventually found his groove after being stuffed in the first half, on his way to a strong 89-yard, two-touchdown performance on 17 carries.

The odds seemed stacked against the Bulldogs facing a two touchdown deficit and a little more than half the final quarter to go.

Friars quarterback Jujuan King sets up the offense. (photo by Rock Anciano)

Friars quarterback Jujuan King sets up the offense. (photo by Rock Anciano)

In need of a big play, the Bulldogs rushed the quarterback on second down as Joshua Cruz took down Friars Jujuan King before he could get his throw off, forcing a fumble behind the line of scrimmage with teammate Rai Santos grabbing the loose ball and bringing it inside the Friar 20 yard line with running back Christian Duenas making a touchdown saving tackle.

Bulldogs quarterback Leeray Zapatos eventually found an opening in the Friar defense, hitting tight end Aiden Ferrara for an 11-yard score get within one score 21-14. Okkodo’s defense did their job to get the offense back the football which set up the dramatic finish where the Friar defense prevailed.

Cruz’ first touchdown came following a 47-yard pass and catch from quarterback Jujuan King to receiver Devin Sudo off a play action that had the entire Bulldog defense fooled. Sudo would be stopped at the three yard line where Cruz punched in the games first score to go up 7-0.

Okkodo answered back in the second quarter following an interception from defensive back Mark Lao to get them close to the red zone. The Friars would then be hit with two defensive penalty calls for unsportsmanlike conduct and offsides, advancing the Bulldogs to the five yard line where running back D’Andre Pizarro would score to tie the game at seven.

The Friar offense was stuffed again late in the quarter, forcing them to punt it back to the Bulldogs who were operating within the final four minutes before half-time. Rokop then made the defensive play to put FD up 14-7, which proved to be a huge turning point at the end of the game.

Friars defensive back Bryton Cepeda killed a trick play by the Bulldogs after Okkodo tried to pull off a throw to their running back, who then tried to throw the ball down field, but their throw to the halfback was not a lateral pass ending in an illegal forward pass, though FD declined the penalty as Cepeda made the heads up defensive play.

All eyes will be on the Friars next game as they will face the undefeated GW Geckos with both teams riding four game win streaks. Tenorio assures that the Friar defense will be ready.

“We’re going to put a lot of work in at practice because whatever we do in practice will show for us on the field.”

The Friars and Geckos will square off on Friday with the location of the game still yet to be decided.

Other Game

JFK 14, Southern 6

2014 Football

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Wil Castro

Lead MSOA official John Benavente keeping game in order. (photo by Rock Anciano)

Head referee John Pablo (white hat) and veteran referee John Benavente keeps the game in order. (photo by Rock Anciano)

Bulldogs Aiden Ferrara gains good yardage after reeling in a catch on the sideline. (photo by Rock Anciacno)

Bulldogs Aiden Ferrara gains good yardage after reeling in a catch on the sideline. (photo by Rock Anciacno)

Bulldogs defense stops FD running back De'Aundre Cruz from gaining yardage and a first down. (photo by Rock Anciano)

Bulldogs defense stops FD running back De’Aundre Cruz from gaining yardage and a first down. (photo by Rock Anciano)

Bulldogs running back D'Andre Pizarro draws blood on his touchdown run to tie the game. (photo by Rock Anciano)

Bulldogs running back D’Andre Pizarro draws blood on his touchdown run to tie the game. (photo by Rock Anciano)

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