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FRIARS VS GECKOS IN CLASSIC RIVALRY GAME

The last time the FD Friars and GW Geckos crossed paths was in 2014 where the Geckos hoisted the IIAAG football championship trophy high over the Mangilao field. Friday evening, the two old school rivals will meet for the first time since, both garnering a perfect 6-0 record.

By Robert Balajadia

The last time the FD Friars and GW Geckos crossed paths was in 2014 where the Geckos hoisted the IIAAG football championship trophy high over the Mangilao field.

For GW, a defeat hasn’t come in nearly two full football seasons and they will lace it up with the also unbeaten Friars Friday for a classic showdown in old school rivals. The Friars last loss was to the Geckos in the championship game so sparks will fly as both teams fight for league supremacy.

FD Friars (6-0)
Points Scored – 162
Points Allowed – 23

A league best defense with a proficient running to lead a league best offense, the FD Friars are hungrier than ever to bring a football championship trophy back home with their last title coming in 2008.

OFFENSE: A rookie quarterback in Daniel Philips and a hobbled 2014 All-Island running back in De’Aundre Cruz could have presented plenty of problems for the Friars, but the offense hasn’t appeared to skip a beat.

Running backs Leon Shimizu and Jake Benito have relished behind the bulky line of the Friars, each amassing over 100-yard games throughout the season. Shimizu is a first-time feature back and Benito is a first-time footballer who have risen to the ranks of the league’s best runners.

Cruz has only played in three of the Friars six games this season, most notably against the Guam High Panthers where he posted 209 yards and three scores.

Receiver Devin Sudo is the most dangerous deep threat with his speed and leaping ability giving the young quarterback a veteran presence to haul in his passes. Sudo is also a dangerous return man on special teams and dangerous in all open field settings.

Bryton Cepeda (#9) celebrates with teammate, Devin Tuncap (#57), after scoring a touchdown for the Friars.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Bryton Cepeda (#9) celebrates with teammate, Devin Tuncap (#57), after scoring a touchdown for the Friars. (photo by Daniel Paran)

DEFENSE: The veteran group of Friars on defense have shutdown every offensive threat this season. The team has only given up two offensive touchdowns this season, one on defense, and one field goal through six games.

Linebackers Joaquin Mesa and RJ Rokop are high candidates of Defensive MVP honors, but linemen Pierre Aflague, Kobe Tupaz, and Tonu San Nicolas provide a bolster in both passing and running downs.

Defensive backs Bryton Cepeda and Roy Taimanglo haven’t allowed any quarterbacks to throw for over 100 yards nor have allowed any receivers to be factors in the game.

2015 Games:
FD 17, Okkodo 10
FD 29, Sanchez 0
FD 17, Dolphins 0
FD 35, Guam High 7
FD 50, Tiyan 0
FD 14, JFK 6

GW Geckos (6-0)
Points Scored – 98
Points Allowed – 38

The Geckos got an extra BYE week during opening kick off after taking a forfeit from the Okkodo Bulldogs. Defending their title will be their toughest yet, but the veterans on the team have stepped up to the challenge.

OFFENSE: Quarterback Brendan Santos has become the league’s most lethal signal caller and the most complete player behind center. He’s a proven passer, hitting his favorite target Noah Blas for multiple touchdowns this year, and a proven runner given his ability to tuck and run for a touchdown if needed.

Santos is primed for league offensive MVP honors, and the most consistent GSPN Wendy’s Player of the Game winner.

When the Geckos prefer to move the ball on the ground, insert Ryan ‘Hollywood’ Quitugua. Quitugua’s services were much needed against the Tiyan Titans and JFK Islanders with his ability to gain big yardage. The dash combo Quitugua provides for the Geckos allows Santos to open up the field through the air for a balanced attack.

Geckos quarterback Brendan Santos tosses a pass towards the sideline. (photo by Joey Blas)

Geckos quarterback Brendan Santos tosses a pass towards the sideline. (photo by Joey Blas)

DEFENSE: The younger of his two older defensive MVP brothers, Damon Hocog has carried the tradition of anchoring the Geckos defense. Hocog is also a high candidate for league defensive MVP given his ability to alter a game on the defensive end.

Linebacker Mason Pangelinan has made a handful of big plays in the backfield this season, including a defensive touchdown against the Titans.

GW has a pair of shutouts this season, but they will undoubtedly have their hands full against the prolific Friar run game.

2015 Games:
GW 18, Guam High 0
GW 27, JFK 12
GW 20, Sanchez 12
GW 21, Tiyan 13
GW 12, Southern 0
GW def. Okkodo via forfeit

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