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By Robert Balajadia
The Pepsi Warriors are gearing up for another Miller Football League title run in 2014 with the new season kicking off Friday March 7th. All games will be played Friday and Sunday nights, 7 p.m., at the Hal Shiroma Football Field in Dededo.
“Last year we started the season in the second week of February, it’s already March,” commented head coach Loring Cruz about the season’s start time.”I’d rather play daytime, but I understand the heat was bad for the fans and even the players. We still need to have a full team practice before our game Sunday.”
The Warriors main concern in the early goings is making sure the team is ready to go before the season starts, meaning practice time and being healthy.
The current state of the Warriors leave them a few key offensive pieces short at the start of the season after losing running back Dave Delgado to a season-ending injury and a banged up group of big play receivers in Sandy Fejeran and Alex Azcarraga.
“We have a bullseye on our back, but we’re going to do the same thing. Hopefully we’ll be ready come our first game and get begin rolling like we did last year. This season is going to be tough, but we aim to defend out title and hopefully everything comes out right,” said Cruz on the amount of pressure his team may be facing.
The Warriors added some firepower in Jacob Torres and will still be relying on the steady arm of Danny Manibusan, last year’s MVP. Hosea Ware is the lone running back on the roster, but changes will be made and some players could find themselves in new positions at the start of the season.
Ware won the playoff MVP and cashed in a strong running performance in the championship game.
The Warriors defense will still be going strong with their core group of linebackers in “The Chairman of the Board” Ryan Rios and Justin Andre, who has led the team in tackles for the past two seasons. The Warriors have also added Kell Kawasaki, a tenacious linebacker who makes plays often.
Aside from key offensive players being hurt, the Warriors offensive line will still being going strong behind the veterans in Fred Tupaz, Mike Taumua, Vince Borja.
The Warriors officially kick off the season Sunday night.
NOTE: On Sunday, March 9, 2014, fans will be able to catch a repeat to last season’s Championship Game, the Pepsi Warriors (the 2013 MFL Champions) challenging the Cars Plus Rams at 5 pm on KUAM channel 8.
GPS Sports Calendar