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BULLDOGS AIMING FOR HISTORIC SEASON

After several years of watching powerhouse programs dominate the IIAAG football league, the Okkodo Bulldogs finally look to join the party. Last season, the Bulldogs finished in the highest placing in school history which was 3rd. This season, they look only to upstage themselves from last years success by making it to the championship game in 2015.

By Jay Leon Guerrero

After several years of watching powerhouse programs dominate the IIAAG football league, the Okkodo Bulldogs finally look to join the party. Last season, the Bulldogs finished in the highest placing in school history which was 3rd. This season, they look only to upstage themselves from last years success by making it to the championship game in 2015.

Why are they a new contender? They have a large number of returnees and a fine tuned line. According to head coach Ken Cruz, the program from three years ago is molding.

“I’ve had a very young team for the past three years. We were a developing team and now we have more experience,” said Cruz.

“Some things that have definitely improved is our line and our running game,” continued Cruz. One obstacle, like their first opponent GW, is the team has no pads available for full contact practice.

Multi-sport athlete Aiden Ferrara will play both on offense and defense this season.

Multi-sport athlete Aiden Ferrara will play both on offense and defense this season.

Key players who graduated last year are quarterback Leeray Zapatos and running back Angel Chiguina. Despite the loss of these key players, the Bulldogs are still deep with talent, filled with rugby players and track speedsters.

Multi-sport athlete Aiden Ferrara said the team has been working hard and that they are “ecstatic” to take the field in opening weekend. Ferrara will have double duty this season, playing both offense and defense. With his height and jumping abilities, look for Ferrara to catch some passes in the red zone.

“We are more focused, our mindset is good this year. We have about 15 returnees, all we need now is our gear,” said Ferrera.

According to defenive coach Joe Cruz, his group is more disciplined and dedicated. “These kids are dedicated, they are all ears and eyes. When the coaches are not around, they are at the weight room or running in groups,” said Joe. “Now that they are off at 2pm, they either get their homework done or do extra voluntary workouts on their own before practice.”

Key returnees John Anthony Cruz (strong safety) and Arthur Nedlic (defensive tackle) will put in hard work for both Coach Cruz’ as they start their journey this Friday against the defending champion GW Geckos.

“Having the experience of the returnees is going to help, we just have to continue to work hard and gel as a team,” said pre-season all tackle Nedlic.

Defensive takle Arthur Nedlic will be the in charge of the teams defensive front.

Defensive takle Arthur Nedlic will be the in charge of the teams defensive front.

“We are going to come in stronger this year and we are going to do our best at getting better everyday,” said John Anthony Cruz.

“We have more players with at least a year of experience off their belt. We had some inexperienced players that we had to work with last season and I believe they now know what to expect when the season starts,” said Ken Cruz.

Last year, the Bulldogs finished 4-2 with a suspended game due to a power outage. In the playoffs, the Bulldogs lost to the eventual champion GW Geckos in the semi-finals.

Coach Ken Cruz said that he hopes the pads are available soon so his team can get a glimpse of full contact practice. “It makes a huge difference when the gear comes in. After the gear comes in, we can solidify which players will play certain positions,” said Ken Cruz.

The Bulldogs will open their season against the defending champion GW Geckos. The location and time of the first game is scheduled at GW at 7 pm.

PHOTO GALLERY:

John Anthony Cruz

Safety John Anthony Cruz will be the last line of defense for the Bulldogs

okpre4Aiden Ferrara barely receives a pass as a teammate tries to block it.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Aiden Ferrara barely receives a pass as a teammate tries to block it. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Determined to win this year, the Bulldogs practice running sets against each other.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Determined to win this year, the Bulldogs practice running sets against each other. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Okkodo hype themselves up before beginning their training under the bright afternoon sun.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Okkodo hype themselves up before beginning their training under the bright afternoon sun. (photo by Daniel Paran)

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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.

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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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