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GECKOS REMAIN ONLY UNBEATEN

The much anticipated matchup between undefeated the GW Geckos and JFK Islanders was, as many expected, a defensive war all game. In the end, the Geckos remained the only unbeaten thanks to a prolific running game.

By Jesse Pinkston Santos

IIAAG football has been one heck of a season thus far and Friday night was no exception. The battle of the unbeaten teams did not disappoint!

The GW Geckos and JFK Islanders fans packed GW’s Mangilao field and witnessed one of, if not, the best defensive games of the season.  We all knew someone would walk away still undefeated and the other would acquire their first loss and Friday night the Geckos were the victors, winning 14-0.

Legendary coach Ryan Rios’ tenacious defense rattled the Islanders to their core; forcing three interceptions, two of which were picked off by senior Tovin Mesa, who sported a purple Gecko dyed into his hair.

“I just listened to my coaches and covered my position.” humbly stated Mesa.  “Just play hard every game, go to practice everyday, work hard.  Every time I step on this field, just play my heart out, win or lose.  Gecko pride.”

The key, however, was the Geckos defensive front which gave the Islanders no time to pass and no room to run, consistently breaking through and spending a lot of time in the JFK backfield.

JFK won the toss and elected to defer.  Islanders Chris Naputi got his team riled up like he does before every kick, yelling to each side if they are ready.  The first quarter started off with both teams going four and out until Geckos quarterback Brendan Santos dropped back and completed a 35-yard pass to Hank “The Tank” Sablan, putting them on JFK’s 35-yard line.   Looking like a possible touchdown, the Geckos pushed the ball up the middle but could not convert.

On 4th and 7, Santos in the shotgun, passed but JFK’s Jaron Weilbacher was right there, swatting the ball away and forcing a turnover on downs.  Soon after, JFK’s quarterback Quintin Iriarte was intercepted by Mesa.  Another chance to score but the Islanders’ Chris Naputi made a huge stop on 4th and 2 resulting in a turnover on downs.

GW's Joseph Sanchez receives the handoff and was able to get a yard before being stopped by JFK defenders. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW’s Joseph Sanchez receives the handoff and was able to get a yard before being stopped by JFK defenders. (photo by Joey Blas)

Kelvin Hocog grabbed an interception for the Geckos and gave his team great field position after breaking a tackle, headed up the field for 30 yards.  On 1st and goal on the 9, Santos completed a pass to Isaiah McGill to the left corner of the end zone off a flat pass and after a good point after kick the Geckos took the 7-0 lead.

Despite a great 37-yard kick return from JFK’s Diaz, the Islanders could not complete their passes and were forced to punt on a 4th and 6.  Although GW took over on their 39, they broke into JFK territory after an 18-yard run from Santos but that was short-lived as they fumbled and JFK took over on their 45.  Iriarte kept the ball for a 16-yard run which put them now on GW’s 29.  Iriarte was in shotgun but got sacked by Jacob Taisipic and Sean Rasa to end the first half of play.

After a JFK four and out, Santos’ handoff to Sablan right up the middle was good for a 25-yard run before being brought down by Naputi.  Islanders’ Justin Cruz slapped the ball away but that did not stop the Geckos as Santos found Tevin Santos for a 16-yard pass, putting them on the Islander 12-yard line.  Deep in the right corner of the endzone, Santos tossed a beautiful floater to teammate Adrian Cruz over the defender’s outreached hands for the 12-yard touchdown completion and after another good kick; the Geckos took the 14-0 lead and never looked back.

Sablan commented on his performance, “I feel great but I just gotta do my job, stay humble about it and if it wasn’t for my line I wouldn’t have done what I did.  The work I put in pays off; going to practice and lifting weights.  We just gotta keep working harder and harder.”

GW's Trevin Santos makes a nice reception for the first down deep in their territory. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW’s Trevin Santos makes a nice reception for the first down deep in their territory. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK slowly moved the ball down the field in the third quarter.  A handoff by Iriarte to Mikey Pangelinan got them a much-needed first down after being 4th and inches.  Illegal procedure by the Islanders really hurt their field advantage; forcing them back to the Geckos 39-yard line and that’s when Mesa got his other interception.

Geckos began the fourth quarter on a 3rd and 12 situation.  Santos stepped back, looked right then left and found Calvin “Silver” Valentine for 17 yards and a first down.  Islanders’ Leo Diaz intercepted Santos on the next play and tacked on 27 yards putting them in Gecko territory.  After another incomplete pass, the Islanders were forced to punt.

The final quarter flew by, as time was running against the Islanders.  GW’s Sablan was the go-to guy the whole evening, rightfully so, as he added another 14-yard run and eventually helped bring his team to JFK’s 31-yard line but they could not convert and JFK took over on their own 24.  Iriarte completed a pass to Weilbacher to end the game.  GW Geckos are now the only undefeated team in the league and will play at Guam High on Friday at 7 pm.  The Islanders drop to 4-1 and will look to avenge their loss next week as they take on Southern at home on Saturday at 7 pm.

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Wil Castro

JFK QB Quintin Iriarte airs one downfield to complete the pass for the first down.(photo by Joey Blas)

JFK QB Quintin Iriarte airs one downfield to complete the pass for the first down.(photo by Joey Blas)

 JFK Danon Mojica goes up and tries to block a pass intended for GW WR. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK Danon Mojica goes up and tries to block a pass intended for GW WR. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK Christopher Naputi makes a nice stop in the backfield. (Photo by Joey Blas)

JFK Christopher Naputi makes a nice stop in the backfield. (Photo by Joey Blas)

GW WR Isaiah McGill makes a nice leaping attempt to try and catch a pass that was overthrown. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW WR Isaiah McGill makes a nice leaping attempt to try and catch a pass that was overthrown. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW Kelvin "Wolfpack" Hocog makes a nice stop at the line of scrimmage. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW Kelvin “Wolfpack” Hocog makes a nice stop at the line of scrimmage. (photo by Joey Blas)

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UOG Tritons Pitcher Arren Yatar shares some of his fun facts and tells us about his favorite YouTube channel!

 

Foody’s Fun Facts

Foody’s Fun Facts with Arren Yatar

UOG Tritons Pitcher Arren Yatar shares some of his fun facts and tells us about his favorite YouTube channel!

 

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QUICK HITS

UOG hired Tatiana Sablan as the new volleyball coach. Sablan served as the original volleyball coach for UOG back in 2016 and she has been rehired to lead the more “beach” oriented program in 2022-23.
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Palau history: Outfielder Bligh Madris was called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates today to become the first Palauan to make it to the major leagues. The lefty Madris was batting .304 with five home runs and 20 RBI at Triple A before getting the Call Up!

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