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GECKOS KICKOFF RUGBY SEASON WITH A WIN

Rugby officially kicked off Saturday with a flurry of games going on all-day long, including the GW Geckos who got off to a good start.

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By Michael J.A. Nauta Jr.

With the Wettengel Rugby Field filled with tons of spectators and rugby student-athletes it was obvious that yesterday marked the opening day of action in the IIAAG/GRFU High School Rugby Season.  Four different divisions took to the field with 27 total games played throughout the day.

In the first of three Boys Varsity matches scheduled, the John F. Kennedy Islanders went to battle against the George Washington Geckos.  The two teams didn’t disappoint as each provided the crowd with an exciting game.  However, only one team could walk away with a season-opening victory and when the final whistle was blown it was the Geckos who downed their opponents 21-14.

“This was a pretty exciting and intense first game of the season,” said JFK’s Kyle Thomas Perez.  “Although we would’ve like to have earned a win, it didn’t happen for us and that’s because we played a very tough and respected GW team.  They did an excellent job and their defense was tough all game long.”

The two teams wasted no time making a statement, as it was all hard-hitting from the get-go.  JFK had the game’s first possession and looked to put points on the board early on.  However, a strong purple and gold defense denied any chances.  Five minutes into the opening-half, GW’s Jacob Bamba scored the game’s first try after taking advantage of a possession won out of a scrum.  Not too long after, teammate Tevin Santos converted a kick making it a 7-0 game.

“Our team has a lot of heart and we play with mental and physical toughness,” said Bamba.  “Scoring the first try of the season for our team only proves what we can do when we work together.”

As the game progressed on, the Islanders continued to find ways to score but to no avail.  Turnovers became a huge factor for JFK as the Geckos capitalized and eventually built a 21-0 lead with less than two minutes to go in the half.  With the clock winding down and both teams in their sixth scrum of the half, the Geckos were able to win possession.  However, that was short-lived as an attempt to kick the ball downfield found it’s way directly into the hands of JFK’s Perez.  Using his lightning speed, Perez travelled nearly three-quarters of the field to end the Islanders’ scoring drought.  A made conversion sent both teams into halftime with the score reflecting 21-7.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” said Perez.  “The second I got possession of the kick I just told myself to use your speed and get that score.”

GW and JFK battle for possession of the ball. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW and JFK battle for possession of the ball. (photo by Joey Blas)

Second-half action witnessed both teams coming out much tougher on defense, as neither was able to produce anything in the first five minutes.  The Geckos found themselves at the five-meter line and ready to tack on more points later in the half.  However, the JFK defense held and forced a turnover.  Working their way downfield, the Islanders made perfect use of the possession and pulled within seven after Joshua Songsong made his way to the try line.

With less than three minutes left in the game, the Geckos wanted to score in hopes of sealing the deal, while the Islanders searched for the equalizer.  Time eventually played in favor of the Geckos as the final whistle blew to preserve the seven-point lead for the victory.

“We played a good JFK team and they gave us lots to think about after they scored in the second-half,” said Bamba.  “It just came down to us keeping focus and continuing to smash, smash, smash.”

IIAAG/GRFU High School Rugby League action resumes next week Saturday with games beginning at 8am at the Okkodo High School Field.  The Geckos are set to take on the Southern High Dolphins at 3pm, while the Islanders varsity have a bye weekend.

OTHER RESULTS

  • GW Geckos defeated SSHS Sharks 19-0 (Girls Varsity Tackle)
  • Notre Dame Royals defeated Guam High Panthers 19-0 (Girls Varsity Tackle)
  • Okkodo Bulldogs defeated Southern Dolphins 14-5 (Girls Varsity Tackle)
  • AOLG Cougars defeated JFK Islanders 19-5 (Girls Varsity Tackle)
  • GW Geckos defeated Guam High Panthers 40-0 (Girls Varsity Tackle)
  • SSHS Sharks defeated Okkodo Bulldogs 5-0 (Girls Varsity Tackle)
  • AOLG Cougars defeated Notre Dame Royals 26-0 (Girls Varsity Tackle)
  • Southern Dolphins defeated JFK Islanders 19-5 (Girls Varsity Tackle)
  • GW Geckos defeated Okkodo 17-0 (Girls Varsity Tackle)
  • AOLG Cougars defeated Guam High Panthers 35-0 (Girls Varsity Tackle)
  • SSHS Sharks defeated GW Geckos 14-0 (Girls JV Tackle)
  • Notre Dame Royals defeated Guam High Panthers 15-0 (Girls JV Tackle)
  • Okkodo Bulldogs defeated Southern Dolphins 14-5 (Girls JV Tackle)
  • AOLG Cougars defeated JFK Islanders 36-0 (Girls JV Tackle)
  • GW Geckos defeated Guam High Panthers 17-0 (Girls JV Tackle)
  • Okkodo Bulldogs defeated SSHS Sharks 24-5 (Girls JV Tackle)
  • AOLG Cougars defeated Notre Dame Royals 7-5 (Girls JV Tackle)
  • JFK Islanders tie Southern Dolphins 5-5 (Girls JV Tackle)
  • Okkodo Bulldogs defeated GW Geckos 15-10 (Girls JV Tackle)
  • AOLG Cougars defeated Guam High Panthers 17-0 (Girls JV Tackle)

PHOTO GALLERY:

GW's Jacob Bamba drives the ball into the goal while dragging along some JFK defenders with him. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW’s Jacob Bamba drives the ball into the goal while dragging along some JFK defenders with him. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK player battling for extra yardage. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK player battling for extra yardage. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK player takes the pitch and runs the ball down field. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK player takes the pitch and runs the ball down field. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW's Tevin Santos kicks the ball down field for better possession on their territory. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW’s Tevin Santos kicks the ball down field for better possession on their territory. (photo by Joey Blas)

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Foody’s Fun Facts

JFK Islander Track & Field Star Maria Calvo

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DID U KNOW?

Four of the six starters on the 2020 Middle School Volleyball Champion Untalan Wildcats met for the first time since winning a title together as the Tiyan Titans took on the Okkodo Bulldogs in the first game of the ISA Boys Volleyball Season. (#7 Samuel Carino, #9 Lance Mupas, #15 Nicholas Santos, #17 Nash Ericsson)

COMING SOON …

FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers

June 16: Guam vs Hong Kong

June 18: Hong Kong vs. Guam

UFC Fights

June 13: Frank Camacho vs. Matt Frevola

June 20: Roque Martinez vs. Josh Parisian

July 25: Trevin Jones vs. Tony Kelley

QUICK HITS

Ivan Sablan took home the Mel Davis Junior Golf Tournament title (Boys 15-18) with rounds of 78-73. Markus Nanpei (77-78) and Eduardo Terlaje (79-74) followed behind two strokes back at GICC.
Photo L – R:  Mel Davis (GJGL Coach), Nanpei, Sablan, Terlaje and Jovy Lacson (GJGL Tournament Director)
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Pro rugger Zach Pangelinan suffered a leg injury on his way to a try in the Houston SaberCats match vs. the L.A. Giltinis on Saturday in Major League Rugby action. The 32-year-old fullback in his fourth year with Houston is recovering and said he will be back on the pitch soon.

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