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FRIARS STUN ISLANDERS IN SHUTOUT

The FD Friars are clearly not the same team that started the 2014 season when they and the JFK Islanders first met, and the Friars left the Islanders stunned in Saturday IIAAG semifinal action as FD dug deep in their bag of tricks to shutdown JFK at the Islander field in Tamuning.

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By Robert Balajadia

The FD Friars were clearly not the same team that started the 2014 season when they and the JFK Islanders first met, and the Friars left the Islanders stunned Saturday night as FD dug deep in their bag of tricks to shutdown JFK 21-0 at the Islanders Field in Tamuning.

The Friars will now face the undefeated GW Geckos on Saturday for the championship. GW got by the Okkodo Bulldogs 14-7 in the other semifinal Saturday night game.

JFK’s memorable 2014 season ended abruptly as the Friars strong defense, smooth offense, and trickery in special teams punched their ticket to the championship game.

Up 7-0 to begin the half, Friars kick off returner Devin Sudo followed his blockers right up the middle of the field to dart through for 80 untouched yards before getting hit before he could cross the goal line, popping the ball out into the end zone where teammate Bryton Cepeda would jump on it to put the Friars up 14-0 after a Brian Leon Guerrero extra point.

Cepeda had hauled in the games first score in the first quarter as FD quarterback Jujuan King tossed a pretty spiral to the corner of the right end zone where Cepeda had beat the Islander secondary to complete the 20-yard score.

Cepeda’s heads up play on the return was just one of the many ways he affected the game while also grabbing two interceptions that deflated the Islander offense.

“Hard work in practice really pays off in the game. Our coaches probably wanted this game more than us, but we proved tonight just how much we wanted it,” said Cepeda.

Following Cepeda’s scoop and score, the Friars unveiled one of their tricks in a play called “alley-oop,” on the ensuing kick off. Kicker Brian Leon Guerrero set up for a normal kick off, but instead drove the ball into the ground while taking a perfect bounce to a ready De’Aundre Cruz, who grabbed the ball 11 yards from the kick making it a legal play to give the Friars back the ball.

“It just comes down to chemistry with the boys on the field, we practice how we play, and we do what we do best,” said Leon Guerrero on making the “alley-oop” play look easy.

“Our special teams consists of both some of our best offense and defensive players and when time winds down, special teams count the most,” Leon Guerrero continued.

Friars Bryton Cepeda takes a screen pass for short yardage early on the first play of the game. (photo by Joey Blas)

Friars Bryton Cepeda takes a screen pass for short yardage early on the first play of the game. (photo by Joey Blas)

On the same drive, FD was facing a fourth down from five yards out when punter Joshua Lujan caught the ball in punt formation only to tuck the ball and sprint to the sideline escaping the outstretched Islander hands to pick up 26 yards for the first down.

The drive ended on a missed field goal from 30 yards out, but the plays chewed up clock and had the Islanders staggered which they never seemed to recover from.

JFK was dealt a huge loss early in the first quarter with line back Sage Garcia taking a spill on their first defensive outing, needing to be helped off the field. Towards the end of the quarter, the JFK backfield took a shot as starter Danon Mojica went down with a knee injury and would not return.

Down 14-0, Islanders quarterback Quintin Iriarte tried to get the offense going after the missed Friar field goal, though the drive ended on a 3rd down interception by Cepeda at the Friar 35 yard line.

FD used a strong two back system through the course of the game with Cruz and Christian Duenas finding seems in the defense. Duenas did most of his work in the second half after, namely the fourth quarter, where he gashed the Islander defense for a 12 and 17 yard run to put FD in scoring position form six yards out after a face mask penalty.

Cruz then took over those six yards to give FD a 21-0 lead midway through the fourth, putting the game out of reach.

Iriarte tried to corral the offense for one last ditch effort by hitting Jaron Weilbacher for 53 yards, making it JFK’s longest play from scrimmage on the night. Iriarte would then hit Wayne Jesus for 15 yards a play later, moving into the red zone for the first time all night.

FD RB Christian Duenas was able to bounce to the outside and avoid being tackled behind the line of scrimmage. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD RB Christian Duenas was able to bounce to the outside and avoid being tackled behind the line of scrimmage. (photo by Joey Blas)

With the four minute warning looming, Iriarte tossed a pass into the end zone but first to the ball was Cepeda, grabbing the game sealing pick, his second interception of the game.

“We heard that we were expected to lose this game, but today we picked up the slack and showed them what Friar football is all about,” said Bryton on heading into the Saturday’s semifinal game.

Duenas took 15 carries for 76 yards while Cruz was limited to just 28 yards on eight carries with one touchdown. King completed 4 of his 9 attempts for 71 net yards, 44 coming from Leon Shimizu’s two catches.

The Friar defense was anchored by Frankie Tenorio who had seven tackles while teammates Reynold Rokop and Joaqin Mesa had six each.

All The Marbles

The Geckos defeated the Okkodo Bulldogs 14-7 in the other semifinals game, setting up a GW vs. FD championship game.

“Last game we gave up in the fourth quarter and [GW] capitalized on that. We have to just come out like we did tonight and we’ll be fine,” said Cepeda on facing the Geckos in the finals.

“Everyone has to show up to practice. We’ve been having good turnouts and we’re just grinding it down to the bone,” said Leon Guerrero on the same manner.

Geckos head coach Ryan Rios can now tally one more to championship game appearances making it now 11 appearances in the past 12 years.

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Wil Castro

QB Quintin Iriarte looks to an open receiver downfield to complete the pass for the first down. (photo by Joey Blas)

QB Quintin Iriarte looks to an open receiver downfield to complete the pass for the first down. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD QB Jujuan King looks around to see if the offense is set for the play. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD QB Jujuan King looks around to see if the offense is set for the play. (photo by Joey Blas)

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