By Michael Cruz
Senior Brendan Santos returns this 2015 high school football season as the top quarterback on island and he leads the defending champions George Washington Geckos in his final year.
“My team worked hard and we were guided by our coaches who put in their time and effort to make us the greatest football players we could possibly be. I believe that being a champion last year does not make my returning team feel content. Now that we know how it feels to be a champion, I believe we will work twice as hard to attain the same result as last year,” said Santos on 2014.
Santos started his high school career playing with Hal’s Angels. As a freshman, he led the Angels to an upset win over the Giants, 30-8, to win the GNYFF Matua Championship in 2012.
“Winning a GNYFF title was great because my team was able to win during my last year playing youth football. The outcome of that championship game motivated me to work harder and dream bigger for my next season playing high school football. However, winning in the GNYFF league does not compare to winning an IIAGG title,” said Santos.
Brendan started his sophomore year as the new quarterback for the Geckos in 2013 and his first season was a learning process.
The Geckos faced tough defenses in losses versus Guam High, FD, and Sanchez. Santos though led his team in victories over Okkodo and JFK. The Geckos entered the playoffs at 3-3 that season. Santos picked up his first playoff win in a 16-0 win over the Islanders, setting up a rematch with the Guam High Panthers that showed Santos’ resilience.
Down 20-0, the Geckos mounted a 4th quarter comeback to win 24-20. Santos hit tight end Tevin Santos for a 20-yard pass to end the third quarter giving the Geckos a much needed lift. Santos then found Adrian Cruz in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown pass to put the Geckos on the board 20-8 after connecting with Cruz again on the two-point conversion. Santos also hit Anselmo Untalan on 3rd down for a 35-yard pass play.
“My first start as a Gecko was against Guam High when I was a sophomore. I had the ‘first game jitters’, but I was able to feed off the energy of my team which allowed me to focus a little a better. Guam High played the better game that day and they went home with the win,” said Santos
“At first, we were disappointed and the other losses added to our fire, so when we played Guam High our second time in the playoffs, we did what we could to end up with the win. Guam High played a great game, but we were the victors that day. The win felt great (and for most of us, it was our most memorable win), but our coaches reminded us that our season wasn’t over and that we had a bigger game coming up.”
The Geckos lost in the championship game to the Simon Sanchez Sharks 20-0.
Santos returned his junior season to lead the Geckos at QB. First, he passed for his first touchdown against Southern in a 14-12 win. Second, he hit receivers Adrian Cruz and Isaiah McGill for big touchdowns in a 15-6 win versus Sanchez.
Third, he won the head to head battle versus JFK’s Quintin Iriarte and threw for two touchdowns in a 14-0 win. In the final regular season game Santos delivered two touchdowns to Adrian Cruz in a 19-0 win over FD.
GW and FD rematched in the championship game and Santos again passed for touchdown in a 12-0 win. The Geckos went undefeated at 7-0 and won the 2014 championship with Santos being named to All-Island 1st team as a quarterback.
With high school still in the balance, Santos does have his after-high school life to look forward to and football isn’t out of the question, though it’s also not his intent.
“Playing college football would be awesome and if I had the opportunity, I would work hard to be a better player. If I did play college ball, I would always feel like I’d be representing my island and GW. However, playing college football is not my goal at this moment.”
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