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INSTANT MATUA CLASSIC AS EAGLES HOLD OFF OUTLAWS

Championship ends in 6-0 overtime battle

By Jay Leon Guerrero

The Guahan Eagles defended their Triple J GNYFF Matua championship and finished the season undefeated with a nail-biting overtime victory against the Outlaws Saturday night at the Guam High Field. The league’s main event was a defensive battle with both teams unable to score in regulation in front of a huge, pumped up crowd.

In youth football overtime rules, both teams have possession at the 10-yard line. The Outlaws were first up in the shootout and were stopped on third down after Eagle player Ty Leon Guerrero managed to record an interception.

After a costly defensive offside committed by the Outlaws, The Eagles’ Landon Suzuki punched his way into the end zone from five yards out, helping the Eagles win their second Matua championship. 

“The Outlaws played a great game,” said Suzuki. “They improved throughout the season, and their defense really stepped up tonight.”

Suzuki, who ran for 69 yards on nine carries, credited his offensive line for the ground success.

The Outlaws nearly lost the game in the fourth quarter with the ball on their own one-yard line. A gang tackle up the middle forced a fumble, and the Outlaws’ William Dulla picked up the fumble and advanced the ball to mid-field. A game saving tackle by Suzuki prevented Dulla from breaking free for a score.

“I was hyped and jumping around. I really thought he was going to score,” said quarterback Kaizayuh Flores.

With under four minutes remaining, the Outlaws moved the chains with a jump pass from quarterback Flores to T’Andre Salas for a 26-yard gain. Flores continued the momentum with another first down, a 14-yard pass to Brenden Tablan.

The league’s top defense had their backs at the own end zone but managed to stop the Outlaws on 4th down with a tackle from Liam Charfauros.

The Eagles marched into Outlaw territory with Leon Guerrero gaining 41 yards on the ground. Leon Guerrero saw daylight but was tackled by Ryan Luzanta to advance into Outlaw territory.

Luzanta and Dulla continued to be a force on defense, and the Eagles were stopped on fourth down with 49 seconds left in regulation.

The Outlaws trickery nearly won them the game with a beautiful hook and ladder play to gain 27 yards. Flores passed to Tablan, who then lateral tossed the football to Luzanta for the big gain.

Time was ticking on the Outlaws and the game eventually went into overtime after two failed pass attempts.

“The Outlaws were ready for us. They had their plays ready for us, they studied us and watched film. It was basically a good championship team versus another championship team.”

Eagles running back Ty Leon Guerrero

“But we’ve been here before. This is our second straight championship game, so we were used to this ambiance,” added Leon Guerrero.

Leon Guerrero had a game-high 70 yards rushing on eight attempts. Jaiden Williams and Leon Guerrero both recorded interceptions for the Eagles.

Flores passed for a game-high 129 yards and Luzanta caught three of his passes for 43 yards. Tablan had three catches for 23 yards. Luzanta also had a game-high seven tackles on defense.

“We were confident tonight. We practiced and trained hard for this,” said Luzanta. Despite coming up short, Luzanta felt his team did their best.

“We did our best to stay composed and capitalized on their fumbles and mistakes but just came up short,” said Flores. “This was the first time any Outlaw team has been to a championship game, and maybe the nerves got to us late in the game.”

The Eagles finish the season undefeated, going 9-0, including the regular season. 

The Outlaws were an impressive 7-1 coming into the championship game under head coach Justin ‘The Shocker’ Cruz after going 1-17 over the past couple of seasons.

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COMING SOON …

DPR Liberation Village Baseball Tournament

Paris Olympics

QUICK HITS

Guahan Juniors 18s outside hitter Masato Rabago and Guahan Juniors 16s middle blocker Antonio Egurrola both earned All-Tournament awards at last month’s USA Volleyball Boys Junior National Championship in Dallas, Texas.
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Captain Adam San Gil, along with his crew Dominick San Gil and Mark Domingo, took first place in the Mahi Mahi division aboard the Amber Marie in the 40th Saipan Invitational Fishing Derby.
The winning Mahi weighed 23.9 lbs. The crew took 3rd in the Bonita division (14 lbs) and 4th in the Marlin division (123.5 lbs).
Seventeen boats from Guam competed in Saipan’s big derby.

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