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JOHNSON, HUGE 2ND HALF LEAD PANTHERS TO VICTORY

Electric QB rushes for 183 yards and 3 TDs

By Jay Leon Guerrero

The Guam High Panthers needed to make some adjustments in the second half to defeat the Southern High Dolphins in their 2023 ISA Football League opening game. It was a close contest by halftime at 14-14, but the Panthers secured the victory after exploding for four touchdowns in the second half to win 41-14 Saturday night at Guam High.

Co-Players of the Game: Cameron Brantley and Aaron Johnson

Senior quarterback Aaron Johnson led the offense for the Panthers, accounting for three touchdowns. Johnson frequently called his own number and rushed for 183 yards with two touchdowns. Johnson also threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Judah Alcantara.

“First and foremost, we can’t have a slow start. We have to come out and keep the train rolling,” said Johnson.

“The Dolphins came out and tried to slow the game down. We had a rough start, so we had to come together collectively, talk about it, and make our adjustments.”

The Dolphin opening drive lasted six minutes and ended on a six-yard quarterback keeper by Mike Jesus. Jesus tossed a successful two-point conversion to John Paul Taimanglo to open up an 8-0.

On the ensuing drive, Panther running back Cameron Brantley had a 51-yard touchdown run that was called back due to an illegal block. The Dolphins held the Panthers down and led 8-0 after the first quarter.

Johnson found Alcantara for a 35-yard touchdown pass for their first score in the second quarter. Donte Parker rushed in the two-point conversion to tie the contest at 8-8.

The Dolphins looked to answer, but a fumble was forced by Brantley, and Ysidro Flores recovered the ball to give the Panthers possession. Johnson scored later in the drive scrambling for a 61-yard touchdown. A failed two-point conversion had Guam High leading 14-8.

The Dolphins tied the game just before halftime with Jesus finding Ethan Guerrero for a 15-yard touchdown. Guerrero was tackled at the one-yard line and stretched over the plane for the score. The conversion run failed and the score was tied at 14-14 at the break.

Tale of Two Halves

After a shaky first half, the Panthers found momentum and secured the victory with four touchdowns. Johnson, Brantley, Parker and Noah Harris each rushed in for touchdowns to end the game at 41-14.

Braden Flinn recorded an interception for the Panthers to keep the Dolphins scoreless in the final two quarters.

“It feels great to be back on the field again. We have a lot of new players, and the chemistry is building – this is just the start from here.”

– Guam High leader Cameron Brantley

Brantley had 96 yards rushing and also had four tackles and a forced fumble on defense.

Cameron Brantley blazes past the defense to secure a first down. (photo by Cam Santos)

The Dolphins showed major signs of improvement from last season despite dropping their opening game. Donte Salas and Bobby Taisapic rushed for 56 and 51 yards, respectively.

Guerrero caught two passes for 22 yards and also recorded an interception for the game. Landin Grajo had five tackles and sacked Johnson just before halftime to end their drive. Lastly, freshman linebacker Ryan Cole Luzanta had 4.5 tackles for the game, including a goal line tackle that stopped a two-point conversion.

The season looks bright for Southern under the leadership of coaches Dwayne Duenas and Justin “Shocker” Cruz. They will battle the JFK Islanders (0-1) next Friday at Guam High.

The Panthers, led by new head coach Kevin Manns, will look to improve to 2-0 next Saturday vs. the Okkodo Bulldogs (0-1) at Guam High. All ISA games kickoff at 7pm. 

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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

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