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GECKOS PICK UP FIRST WIN OF SEASON

GW defense registers eight sacks

By Nick Akimoto

Following their loss to open the season, the GW Geckoes accumulated 209 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown on the way to a scrappy 35-6 home victory over the Tiyan Titans Monday night in the ISA Football League.

Players of the Game Sage Castro and Rayce Rios

The explosive rushing offense was headlined by running back Sage Castro, who collected 116 rushing yards and a touchdown. 

“I want to give a big thanks to my line because without them, I wouldn’t be able to make any of those yards, so it goes out to them,” said Castro. 

On defense, linebacker Rayce Rios led the way with three sacks and two tackles for loss (eight total tackles). The swarming Geckos pass rushers finished the night with eight sacks.

“I feel like it was a coaching adjustment. The coaches really helped us, and as a team we all regrouped and communicated,” said Rayce Rios. 

1st Half 

On an already unusually scheduled season, both teams suited up to play on a Monday night under the George Washington Field lights following the Easter break. As all the teams have demonstrated, however, the Geckos and Titans were ready to play. 

After both teams’ offenses stalled on their first drive, the Geckos got the ball back on offense and were determined to draw first blood. GW turned to the powerful freshman, Rayn Rios, to bruise his way through the Tiyan defense to collect their first touchdown off a 19-yard run and put GW up 6-0. 

The Titans did not take that lightly, however. On the ensuing drive, Tiyan quarterback Chris Angoco called his own number as he extended the play and scrambled for a 30-yard gain. Within the red zone, Anogoco threw a quick slant to receiver Ryen Cruz in the endzone to tie up the game 6-6. 

In the second quarter, the defenses began to lock up, as the Titans denied the Geckos pass attack and Geckos began to box in Angoco. GW managed to put together a drive at the end of the quarter, however, after big runs by Castro and Isaiah Hayes put the Geckos within five yards. After a couple attempts, quarterback Jaydin Duenas found Marcello Blas for a 5-yard passing touchdown to give the Geckos a 12-6 going into the half. 

2nd Half 

After an injury delay on kickoff, the Geckos offense trotted back on the field, unsatisfied with their first half production. 

“[Coach told us] Just to keep pushing. Everytime we come out of halftime, the score is 0-0,” said Castro, who turned on the jets in the second half. After opening with a seven-yard run, Castro bounced to the outside of the Tiyan defense before being tackled one yard short of a touchdown. GW let the senior running back finish the job, however, allowing him to walk into the endzone and put up GW 19-6. 

The GW defense began to turn up the heat as well. Jesse Castro Jr, Lorenz Snell and Peter Salas all found their way into the backfield to contribute to the Geckos eight total sacks and five total tackles for loss.

The GW offense came back onto the field with great field position thanks to their defense, and the Duenas handed the ball off to Hayes, who bounced out to the right side and took home an 11-yard run for a touchdown. 

As the clock wound down, the Geckos found themselves with the ball again in prime field position. As the continued to rush to run down the clock, Jake Cruz capped off the night with a 1-yard rushing touchdown and made the final score 35-6. 

Following the victory, the Geckos have a short week ahead of them as they play Southern on Friday night. 

“We still got a lot of work to do. We just gotta get back to work and get better from there,” said Gecko Rayce Rios. 

The Titans have a bit of a longer week as they look to improve their record against the Guam High Panthers on Saturday night. Unsatisfied with the nights’ performance, Tiyan assures that they know what they need to work on. 

“Commitment. We got to work on our team’s own commitment. There’s no way we’re going to win if only 15 of our boys want to come out,” said senior linebacker Gregory Martinez. Martinez led the Titans with six total tackles and one tackle for loss.

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