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GECKOS START STRONG, CRUISE PAST BULLDOGS

GW powers to 48-0 shutout on opening night

By Paradis Jolis Fejerang

The GW Geckos opened the 2023 ISA Football League with a strong showing, taking down the Okkodo Bulldogs 48-0 Friday night at their home field in Mangilao.

With a young team on his hands, Okkodo head coach Angel Calugay’s Bulldog’s jitters were apparent when the Geckos made their iconic entrance and warm-up heading onto the field. GW showed their confidence and discipline before the whistle had even blown.

Wendy’s Players of the Game: GW sophomores Justin Sablan and Rayn Rios

Taking advantage of the Bulldog’s nerves, GW’s athletes were quick to claim dominance in the first quarter with Kaden Apiag scoring the first touchdown of the game and Justin Sablan taking a second one for the team not long after. 

Into the second quarter, the Geckos earned their third touchdown from Jovohn Concepcion. Not allowing the Bulldogs to recover, Ricardo Leon Guerrero claimed the fourth for his team seemingly seconds later and making the score 28-0 before the call of the halftime whistle.

Once the second half began, visible comfort for Okkodo began to take over where first-game jitters had nestled themselves at the start of the game. Bulldogs #4 (Dylan Cruz), #10 (Bryant Ignacio) and #18 each making moves as standouts in the latter division of the game.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, with every impressive advance they were able to make, the Geckos sent them back, not allowing their opponents to have a glimpse at a touchdown of their own.

As the Geckos push past Okkodo’s defense, the fifth touchdown for GW is earned by Ty Leon Guerrero, but the team misses their first extra point and leaves the total to 34-0.

Becoming the only Gecko to reach two total touchdowns in the game, Justin Sablan brings the score up with the sixth one for his team.

Leading to the final score of the game for the Geckos, Rayden Topasna hands the ball off to Ty Leon Guerrero, who was quick to take the necessary amount of yards to set up the next play where Rayn Rios was able to make the score 48-0 with the concluding touchdown.

Okkodo’s team exhibited a fine performance on how to play until the final whistle blows as their #10, Bryant Ignacio, performed a beautiful 25 yard pass to #18 that was negated by the unfortunate blow of the game’s concluding whistle.

Notable Players

Players of the game, Geckos Rayn Rios and Sablan, made their marks early in the game. Both only being sophomores, the duo depicted a clear dominance in technique and natural ability on the field.

Rios seemed to tower over all the athletes on and off the field with his display of skill in multiple positions throughout the game. From running back to linebacker, Rios presented clean technique in multiple offensive and defensive positions, following in his father’s – GW head coach Ryan Rios – footsteps. 

“We always work hard – every day,” shared Rios, speaking proudly of his team and acknowledging that they all earned the result they got from the game. 

His personal goal being to help his team out as best he can so they can all improve, Rios spoke about his feelings from today on behalf of the team. “We did good, but we still need to work. [There were] minor mistakes and we need to fix it up.”

Sablan, who is a new addition to the Gecko team as a transfer having played for Simon Sanchez his freshman year, was a shifty workhorse on the field. Not only was Sablan the only member of GW’s team to snag two touchdowns for himself during the game, his conditioning showed through his consistency in carrying out each play with speed and efficiency without ever faltering as the game went on.

Another standout from the Geckos was Isaiah Hesus, who had the GW crowd in awe of his defensive ability. With an impressive five sacks for the game, the senior is only in his second year playing as he just joined the team last year and had enough fun to issue his want to rejoin.

“It was a struggle, but we were able to pick it up,” Hesus remarked about the training in preparation for this season. All in all, he is super proud of how he and the rest of the team played today.

All three boys are looking forward to their upcoming game against the Father Duenas Friars. Hesus is looking to up the number of sacks he can get and Sablan simply looking forward to the challenge, both of whom are eyeing a championship trophy with their team’s name on it at the end of the season.

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COMING SOON …

Guam Track & Field National Championship May 26

All-Island Wrestling Alumni Tournament June 8

10th Micronesian Games from Marjuro

QUICK HITS

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Congratulations @seadancer_bailey
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Mario Bork led the Warriors with 20 points in the championship game.

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