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WIN OR GO HOME: FOOTBALL QUARTERFINALS

It’s win or go home time in IIAAG football! Teams are already putting the regular season behind them in preparation for the quarterfinals set to kick off Friday.

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By Robert Balajadia

There’s nothing quite like playoff football and as all six teams get ready to win or go home, you have to wonder just how much of each teams regular season meeting will matter when the teams meet for the second time. If their regular meeting indicates how their playoff games will end up then the 2014 playoffs are about to get wild over the weekend, except for the 1st place GW Geckos who will enjoy a first round bye.

Okkodo vs. Sanchez @ Okkodo 7 pm – Friday

Okkodo Record: (3-2)

Sanchez Record: (2-4)

Regular Season Meeting: Bulldogs 14, Sharks 6

The Bulldog defense came up big in their regular season meeting which also happened to be both teams last game of the season. It’s rare that a team faces each other two weekends in a row so both teams will be looking to correct their mistakes with the memory of their first meeting still fresh in their mind.

Bulldogs Angel Chiguina scored both touchdowns in the game and he’s been a consistent offensive threat all season long. Linebacker Jesse-Carl Cruz is also one of the most exciting defensive players in the league and his early interception against the Sharks helped them establish momentum of the game.

The Sharks appeared to be back in championship form going 2-0 to start the season, but they spiraled down their final four games of the season while having trouble putting points on the board averaging the second lowest at 11 points per game.

Sanchez’ biggest struggle has been on the defensive end by giving up the second most points in the league at  15.5.

The Bulldogs come in averaging 12.2 points a game with one of the league’s best defenses at just 11.8. The spread between their points average and points allowed is a thin spread, but the Bulldogs are only concerned about winning.

The battle of the northern schools will kick off the playoffs! Will there be a new champ in 2014 or are the Sharks embracing the underdog role? Only Friday’s game will tell!

FD vs. Southern @ Guam High 7 pm – Saturday

Friars Record: (4-2)

Dolphins Record: (1-5)

Regular Season Meeting: Friars 12, Dolphins 6 – OVERTIME

It was a long time coming, but the Southern Dolphins finally got a win after registering two winless seasons in the IIAAG. The records would suggest that FD should have an easy time against the Dolphins, but their regular season meeting proved anything but that giving FD their toughest win of the season.

The scrappy Dolphins are clearly not the same team of old and their recent transformation behind a cast of young GNYFF stars only paints a bright future for a school that desperately needed it. They are heavy underdogs in the playoffs, and they’re well aware of that. Playing with nothing to lose every game has made them one of the most dangerous teams with no real pressure to win.

The Friars were playing without running back De’Aundre Cruz, who was out with a flu, but running back Christian Duenas didn’t allow their offense to skip a beat. Cruz should be ready to roll against the Dolphins which may present some different looks from the Friar run game. The game will be played at Guam High where Cruz ran for over 200 yards, but it’s also the place where the Southern Dolphins picked up their first win in nearly three years.

It took an overtime to decide a winner with heavy rain forcing both teams to fall back on their run game. The Dolphins took full advantage of the Friars penalties which allowed them to put up a touchdown.

FD’s defense has come along strong of late though the Dolphins did explode for four touchdowns against the Panthers in a wild game. The Friars will be looking to grind out the win with their strong run game, but the Dolphins are playing with something they haven’t shown in a long time – confidence.

JFK vs. Guam High @ JFK 7 pm – Saturday

Islanders Record: (5-1)

Panthers Record: (0-6)

Regular Season Meeting: Islanders 23, Panthers 7

The biggest surprise of the 2014 season has to be the one-loss JFK Islanders. Or, is it the winless Guam High Panthers? The Panthers find themselves on the losing end of a season for the first time since their 2010 championship while the Islanders have revamped their squad with every intention to win it all in 214.

A competitive first half between the two teams suggested a close contest, but the Islanders rode the wave of Danon Mojica straight into a second half scoring spurt.

The Islanders are allowing just 8.5 games, the second behind the GW Geckos who are allowing just 5 points each contest. Their offense is one of the league’s most consistent performers with different pieces and players showing up each week. With a good combination of air and ground scoring, the JFK Islanders can easily be seen as the most versatile team in the league. Most importantly, their winning football games in dominant fashion.

0-6 looks ugly, but the Panthers have been in every single game they’ve played thus far. Their defense has been horrid allowing a league worst 24.5 points a game this season, which appears to be the root of their troubles. Each team has managed to make a ‘big play’ (a play of over 20+ yards) to score against the Panthers which puts them in a hole too deep to climb out of.

If the Panthers can pull it together for all four quarters then Saturday’s game will be ultra competitive. If the Islanders make big plays to put points on the board then the Panthers will be focusing on putting 2014 far behind them after holding the teams best record in 2013.

 

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DID U KNOW?

Since forming the GNYFF in 2009, the league has never gone without a season until 2020. The league announced their plans to cancel the 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

COMING SOON …

ALL SPORTING EVENTS HALTED DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS ISSUE

QUICK HITS

RIP: Former Guam football player Phil Mendiola, shown here with son Tano, passed away in Las Vegas due to a heart attack. Mendiola played for numerous Guam teams from youth to varsity. He was 39.
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Morgan McKenna (left with black face mask) poses for a photo with Guam Football Association Technical Director Sang Hoon Kim (seated, with blue face mask) and Guam Football Association Assistant Technical Director Ross Awa (standing) after signing his letter of commitment to play intercollegiate men’s soccer for Muskingum University in Ohio. The Fighting Muskies compete in NCAA Division III’s Ohio Athletic Conference.

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