📅22 February 2015
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By Jose Terlaje

The strong winds were not enough to keep the weather cool at Southern High School football field, as the sun’s heat beat down and exhausted both players and spectators in attendance. The Colosseum-like structure of Southern’s field was only fitting for a battle between the reigning high school rugby champions, the George Washington Geckos, and the 2013 champions, the Simon Sanchez Sharks. The Geckos were ultimately victorious, besting the Sharks 17-10 and improving to 6-0 as the Sharks fell 4-1-1.

“I have to attribute the success of our team to the strong leadership of my team captains and the help I get from my assistant, Coach Johnny Borja. Another thing is that the boys really want to win it all. I feel blessed as a coach because I don’t have to motivate the boys to work hard. They motivate themselves and sometimes I end up having to stop the boys from working too much. The guys know they can’t win on talent alone, they always come ready to put in the hard work,” said GW Coach TJ Ada when asked about what he thinks is the key to his team’s success so far this season.

From the start of the match, the Geckos looked to score quickly and were able to get it done. At the first kick-off of the game, the Geckos’ Ryan Quitugua kicked the ball deep into Sharks’ territory and the intended Sanchez receiver was unable to grip the ball as it bounced off his hands and out of bounds, giving GW a lineout about six yards from the Sanchez try-zone. The Geckos took advantage of this good field position as Jacob Bamba worked his way to the try-zone through a number of Sanchez defenders, scoring the first try of the game. GW’s conversion kick after the try was no good, only giving them a 5-0 lead.

Upon receiving the ball again, the Geckos slowly progressed down the field, keeping it on the Sharks’ side. The Sharks did their best to get the ball out of their own territory but pressure by the Geckos made it nearly impossible. Later, GW’s Tevin Santos kicked the ball deep down the field and Sanchez’s Thomas Ananich was unable to catch it, knocking it out of bounds and awarding the Geckos a lineout three yards from the try-zone. The Geckos won the lineout and successfully executed a maul that eventually got Brendan Santos into pay dirt for another try. The conversion by Tevin Santos went wide left and the Geckos again were only able to pick up five points, extending their lead to 10-0.island fit logo

The Geckos continued their aggressive play and utilized both their backs and forwards when getting the ball down the field, executing plays after winning the ball in the ruck but then GW lost its offensive rhythm, trading possessions back and forth with the Sharks. Sanchez’s Matthew Sojo was able to get in a few good runs but there was no follow through by his team, causing the Sharks to lose most of the forward progress made by Sojo.

As the first half came to an end, the Geckos were given a lineout 15 yards out from Sanchez’s try-zone. A penalty by the Sharks then gave GW a tap-and-go. The Geckos’ Kelvin Hocog caught the Sharks off guard, sprinting through the holes in their defense and running the ball in for another GW try. Santos’ conversion was good this time, giving the Geckos a 17-0 lead as the time left in the half expired. After the try, a verbal dispute with officials resulted in Sanchez’s Sojo receiving a yellow card that was implemented at the start of the second half, forcing the Sharks to play with only 14 players on the field for the first seven minutes of the half.

Although playing undermanned for a good portion of the second half, the Sharks would not go down without a fight. All progress made by the Geckos in the half would be answered back by Sanchez as they once again traded possessions back and forth. After a number of possession trades, GW’s Brendan Santos finally caught a break and carried the ball about 30 yards down the field but the momentum created by Santos’ progress down the field died down after a scrum was given to the Sharks after Santos hurdled over a Sanchez player. Moments later, Sanchez’s Sojo was allowed to get back into the game just seconds after a GW player was given a yellow card.

The Geckos did their best to keep up their dominant play as Damon Hocog picked up a big run of about 26 yards but playing with one less man on the field took a toll on them. The Sharks got the ball back started to work toward getting back into the game while having an advantage in players on the field. After starting to get the ball into Gecko territory, a penalty was called on GW. The Sharks chose to go for some quick points, electing to go for a penalty kick. The kick was good by Sojo, giving the Sharks their first points of the game and cutting GW’s lead to 17-3.

GW was unable to come into any luck in the second half, with another player being given a yellow card just moments after the Geckos were allowed to play with 15 men again. With time expiring, the Sharks were on a mission to get more points on the board. The Sharks got the ball and attempted to kick it down the field but it went straight out the back of the GW try-zone, giving the Geckos a 22-drop. A penalty was called on GW’s kick and a lineout was given to Sanchez. The Sharks made good use of the set piece as they progressed down the field and Janno Bruce was able to fight through some Geckos pick up a try for his team. Sojo’s conversion after the try was good and the Sharks cut GW’s lead to 17-10. The try by the Sharks came a bit too late though and time ran out shortly after the next kick-off, giving the win to the Geckos.

After the match GW’s Coach went on to tip his hat off to the Sharks for their notable play. “The Sharks gave us a really tough game. They have a lot of quality players and are well coached. They’re definitely a team that would be a formidable opponent early in the playoffs,” said coach Ada about the former champs.



GW 12-0

Sanchez 12-1

Okkodo 7-6

Southern 7-5-1

JFK 7-5-1

Notre Dame 5-9

Academy 5-6

Guam High 2-11

Tiyan 0-14

GW 6-0

Sanchez 4-1-1

FD 5-1

JFK 3-3-1

Southern 3-3

Okkodo 2-4

Tiyan 1-5

Guam High 0-6



Okkodo 10-0-2

Notre Dame 8-2-2

GW 6-5-1

Academy 5-7

Sanchez 2-7-3

Tiyan 0-10-2


St. John’s 5-2

Okkodo 6-1

St. Paul 4-2-1

GW 4-2-1

Southern 4-3

Guam High 2-3-2

Sanchez 1-6

FD 0-7



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