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MATUA RAIDERS SQUEEZE BY EAGLES

The Matua Raiders gang in silver and black did just enough to get a close victory over the Eagles Saturday afternoon as the GNYFF has dipped into Week 3 of action.

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By Mike Nauta Jr.

Gridiron action in the 2015 Triple J Ford GNYFF Youth Football League resumed play on Saturday with several games on tap.  Over at the Raiders Field in Tiyan, the Benson Raiders played host to the visiting Island Eagles.

In the Matua Division, both teams treated their respective fans to an exciting football game.  At the sound of the final whistle, it was the Raiders who walked away winners after edging their opponents 8-6.

“Good hard-fought game for both teams,” said Raiders running back Nathin Borja.  “Although we expected more from ourselves, we’ll take the win and go back to working on things that didn’t work for us.”

Hoping to garner their first win of the season, the Eagles went right to work with their first shot on offense.  Combined with a horse collar penalty and a 21-yard run by Christian Cabrera, the Eagles pushed themselves deep into Raider territory.

Not willing to give up the first touchdown of the game, the Raiders defense buckled down and denied the Eagles from getting into the end zone.  Eventually, the Raiders forced their opponents to punt the ball on their first offensive series of the game.

Led by quarterback Enrique Macias, the Raiders offense took advantage of their first crack at putting points on the board.  Starting from their own 27-yard line, the silver and black jerseys bullied their way through the Eagles defense moving the chains several times.  A mixture of running and passing plays by the Raiders kept the Eagle defense working at will.

Two huge runs by Borja late in the series would put the Raiders inside the red zone.  The long drive was capped by a three yard touchdown run by Rylan Napoleon that gave the Raiders a 6-0 lead.  On the two-point conversion attempt, Macias split the uprights to increase the lead.

The scoreboard would reflect the same score for a majority of the first half.  It wasn’t until deep into the second quarter when the Eagles finally found some room to tack on points and trim their early deficit.

With less than four minutes before the break, a completed pass from Jerrick Mendiola to Davin Mojica sparked an Eagles rally that put the ball on the 32-yard line of the Raiders.

Wendy's players of the game Ryan Napoleon (52) and Nate Borja (23) helped lead the Raiders to victory.

Wendy’s players of the game Ryan Napoleon (52) and Nate Borja (23) helped lead the Raiders to victory.

On the very next snap, Mendiola went to the air once again this time finding teammate Shayden Attao who completed the reception for a touchdown.  A failed conversion would keep the Eagles trailing (8-6) by two.

Chances after chances, the Eagles couldn’t capitalize in the second half to take the lead in the game.  With the Raiders starting the second-half on offense, the Eagles defense sent a quick message and forced a turnover on downs.  A 38-yard catch by Mojica got the Eagle fans on their feet as their team was less than ten yards from taking their first lead of the game.

However, a holding penalty pushed the chains back and a fumble two plays later had the Raiders recovering and taking over.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Eagles had time for one last series.  Mendiola went to the air on four straight downs with long bombs to no avail.  Time eventually became the Eagles worst enemy and eventually expired preserving the Raiders two-point lead for the victory.

“The Eagles played tough and hard today,” said eventual co-player of the game Napoleon.  “Even though they were behind the entire game, they never gave up and it showed in the last few plays of the game.  We were just lucky enough to have our defense step-up to stop those long passes.”

Other Scores

Mandikiki: Raiders 28, Eagles 0
Manha: Raiders 33, Eagles 7
Metgot: Eagles 27, Raiders 7

Mandikiki : Packers 4, Saints 3
Manha: Packers 19, Saints 13
Metgot: Saints 20, Packers 6
Matua: Saints 39, Packers 0

Saturday Score

Manha: Angels 32, Giants 0
Metgot: Angels 13, Giants 13 – TIE
Matua: Angels 30, Giants 0

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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Eagles receiver Davin Mojica makes a catch on a post pattern to pick up big yardage for. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Eagles receiver Davin Mojica makes a catch on a post pattern to pick up big yardage for. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Eagles Franklin Santos gets hit behind the lines of scrimmage for a loss. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Eagles Franklin Santos gets hit behind the lines of scrimmage for a loss. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Raiders running back Nate Borja powers through three Eagle defenders on a first down gain. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Raiders running back Nate Borja powers through three Eagle defenders on a first down gain. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Eagle Christian Cabrera sprints down field on his first carry of the game. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Eagle Christian Cabrera sprints down field on his first carry of the game. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

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QUICK HITS

Palau history: Outfielder Bligh Madris was called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates today to become the first Palauan to make it to the major leagues. The lefty Madris was batting .304 with five home runs and 20 RBI at Triple A before getting the Call Up!
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14-year-old Franny De Leon has been named to the 2022 WBC Muay Thai USA Youth Team.  The former youth muay thai world champion will be competing in Canada’s WBC MT World Youth Games come August. She is the daughter of Jaime Quitugua and granddaughter of Frank and Norma Quitugua living in Fairfield, CA.

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