By Robert Balajadia
No team was hotter than the FD Friars football team through the first four weeks of the 2013 season while picking up an unbeaten record midway through the season at 4-0. The hot start came to a screeching halt after the Friars dropped their last three games of the season, along with a first round playoff exit leaving a lot of fans wondering what went wrong?
A few plays didn’t go the Friars way and each of the final losses of the season were heart breaking, but that may have just set up the squad in 2014 for a smarter approach to the game.
Quarterback Tyler Okiyama won out top QB honors in the All Island voting but the Friars will be turning to a new offense this year with the departure of Okiyama and with head coach Bruce Meno and his staff still running the show.
“Okiyama went to California to pursue his dream of playing football in the states so that’s a big loss for us. We lost a lot of seniors too,” said head coach Meno.
Troy Corpus (All-Island 1st Team Guard)
Bryton Cepeda (All-Island 1st Team Receiver/Saftey)
Roy Taimanglo (All-Island 1st Team Cornerback)
Joaquin Mesa (All-Island 2nd Team Linebacker)
Brian Leon Guerrero (All-Island 1st Team Kicker)
John Paul Mallari
Many of those who are no longer on the team have come back to aid in coaching like Mallari and running back Albert Johnston. Another key addition for FD is on the coaching staff, adding the godfather of rugby on Guam Lenny Calvo, who will help on both sides of the ball.
The Friars have a great deal of size up front though their toughest obstacle is fitting in new offensive weapons, like Guam High transfer quarterback Jujuan King (who backed up LJ Aguon) and freshman running back De’Aundre Cruz, and finding their playing capabilities.
“We have to go backwards and learn the fundamentals. We lost a lot of seniors but at the same time we have a lot of talent from the GNYFF which brings a lot to the table. Last year we had a really great season, but it doesn’t matter how you start it’s how you play in the playoffs,” added Meno.
The GNYFF has helped many players develop a smooth transition into playing high school football after the players proved to have a greater understanding on the basics of the sport saving the coaching staff from spending too much practice time teaching them the basics.
The Friars intend to right the ship in 2014 and they know they have to work harder than last year to bounce back to the top level team they were like early last season without majority of their veteran players.
The Friars open their season against the JFK Islanders Friday night at JFK.
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