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BULLDOGS EXTEND WINNING STREAK TO THREE

The Okkodo Bulldogs took a commanding 21-0 lead through two-and-a-half quarters, and it proved to be a much needed effort after the Guam High Panthers fought back to pull within a single score. Okkodo’s offense managed to keep the ball away from the Panthers in the final minutes of the 4th quarter to hold on to the 21-13 victory.

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By Robert Balajadia

The Okkodo Bulldogs took a commanding 21-0 lead through two-and-a-half quarters, and it proved to be a much needed effort after the Guam High Panthers fought back to pull within a single score. Okkodo’s offense managed to keep the ball away from the Panthers in the final minutes of the 4th quarter to hold on to the 21-13 victory Friday night in the IIAAG football league.

Bulldogs running back Michael Deleon has become the team’s most explosive ball carrier, but he proved to be much more than that when his coaches called his number when nursing the 21-13 lead with a shade under two minutes left.

Deleon was tasked with four carries in the closing minute where he produced two first downs to put the Panthers away. Deleon’s sure hands were much needed after the Bulldogs lost four fumbles through carries out of the backfield that allowed the Panthers back into the game.

“I was pretty nervous out there and I never thought that I’d be the one they would call on to close out the game,” admitted Deleon.

Deleon broke free for the Bulldog’s first score on a 54-yard sweep on just the teams third play in the 1st quarter. Their second came courtesy of running back Jesse Karl Cruz, punching a score from five yards out to take the 14-0 lead.

Okkodo’s third score was another goal line run by Arthur Nedlic to go up 21-0 with the game seemingly out of reach for the Panthers.

The Okkodo defense did their part by blanking the Panthers on 4th down where Guam High went empty on their five attempts.

Aiden Ferrara nearly came away with a game-breaking interception, picking off Panther’s Keith ‘Trip’ Chuaret at the 25-yard line while then churning out 75 hard yards for the return TD. Ferrara’s efforts were all for naught with a clipping penalty negating the score.

“There’s nothing you can do about it, it’s done and over with,” said Ferrara on the interception touchdown.

“We stuck to our game plan and our coaches taught us well so we just followed their instructions. We still have a lot of room to improve and we’re trying not to be complacent,” added Ferrara.

Wendy's Players of the Game, Aiden Ferrara (26) and Michael Deleon (15).  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Wendy’s Players of the Game, Aiden Ferrara (26) and Michael Deleon (15). (photo by Daniel Paran)

Fumbling Chances

The Okkodo offense coughed up the football six times, losing four of them. Bulldog Jesse Karl Cruz lost three fumbles on the evening, with his third coming in the fourth quarter off a toss play. Panther DJ Williams took advantage of Cruz’s mishandled carry, plucking the ball out of the air after having bounced off Cruz’s chest.

Williams efforts brought them inside the five yard line where they eventually got a goal-line quarterback sneak from Donovan Hadley to get within 21-13. Their failed two-point conversion left the score an eight-point deficit.

Hadley’s score was his second of the game after Karl Cruz fumbled away the ball for the first time inside his own 30-yard line.

A penalty by the Bulldogs for a late hit allowed Hadley to punch in the goal line score.

The Panthers used a three quarterback rotation with Hadley their main passing threat while speed quarterback Solomon White used a lot of running plays to get the Panther offense moving. Chauret only came in quarterback for one series where Ferrara made the highlight play interception.

Both teams are back on the field next Friday as the Bulldogs host the powerful FD Friars while the Panthers visit the 5-0 GW Geckos.

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PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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Solomon White tries to make his way around oncoming Bulldog defenders.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Solomon White tries to make his way around oncoming Bulldog defenders. (photo by Daniel Paran)

The Panthers' offensive line force the Bulldogs back to bring the ball in for the touchdown.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

The Panthers’ offensive line force the Bulldogs back to bring the ball in for the touchdown. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Quarterback of the Panthers, Travis Aguon, looking for an open receiver to pass.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Quarterback of the Panthers, Keith ‘Trip’ Chauret, looking for an open receiver to pass. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Aiden Ferrara intercepts a pass that brought the Okkodo crowd to their feet.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Aiden Ferrara intercepts a pass that brought the Okkodo crowd to their feet. (photo by Daniel Paran)

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Jaythaniel Cruz jukes a Panther and brings the ball closer to the end zone. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Okkodo running back, Jesse Cruz, slips through the Panthers' line and scores a touchdown.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Okkodo running back, Jesse Cruz, slips through the Panthers’ line and scores a touchdown. (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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